It is estimated that by the end of 2000, approximately 700,000 Venezuelans will be online and that annual growth rate will be nearly 151%. Due to this rapid increase of internet use, and its economic impact, the president issued Decree 825 on May 10 2000.
The decree states that access to, and use of, the Internet is to be a priority for the cultural, economic and social development of Venezuela. All ministries are to undertake the execution of this policy, under the direction of the Ministries of Education, Infrastructure and Science & Technology. The executive branch will set forth policies to promote and develop widespread access to the Internet.
The decree mandates that all national public bodies must establish goals for the use of the Internet when facilitating administrative dealings. In addition, both state owned media and the Ministry of Education must develop and promote information related to internet use. The Ministry of Science and Technology shall promote the development of academic, scientific and cultural material in order to ensure adequate access and effective use of the web.
Public entities must use the Internet as the preferred method of exchanging information with individuals. In this sense, the Supreme Court of Justice has recently ruled that in cases of constitutional injunction (due to the urgency of the matters involved), e-mail notification is equivalent to judicial notification.
The decree requires the Ministry of Infrastructure to reduce and simplify the requirements for granting administrative authorizations to internet service providers, and to expedite the procedures for granting these authorizations.
Additionally, within 90 days of the publication of the decree, all ministries must submit execution plans. These must include an analysis of (i) financing plans, and (ii) fiscal incentives for those who install or provide goods and services related to access to, and use of, the Internet.
Finally, the national executive branch will establish policies to favour the purchase of computer terminals, in order to encourage internet access.
For further information on this topic please contact Luis Miguel Vicentini at Baker & McKenzie by telephone (+58 212 276 5068) or by fax (+58 212 264 1532) or by e-mail ([email protected]).
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