Some Czech road haulage companies are not yet prepared for the introduction of a new electronic tolling system from January 1. Around 80,000 truck tracking units have been made available for hauliers and bus companies - a quarter of them remained unsold just days before the launch of the new system. Failure to install on-board units could result in fines of hundreds of thousands of crowns. The truck tolling system has been the source of some controversy, with questions raised about the manner in which the contract was awarded to the Austrian firm Kapsch.
Czechs sent a record number of SMS text and MMS picture messages on Christmas Eve, according to figures released by the country's three mobile phone operators. Most MMS messages were sent between 8 and 9 pm, as people unwrapped presents. There was also a 30-percent increase in fixed line international calls, reported O2 Telefonica.
Increasing numbers of Czechs are deciding to spend their winter holiday this season by the sea rather than on the ski slopes. A spokesperson for one of the country's biggest travel agencies Fischer told Lidove noviny they had sold 30 percent more beach holidays than last year. As well as a lack of snow, attractive prices and a wider range of sunny destinations have caused the rise. The Association of Czech Travel Agents estimates around 100,000 Czechs have chosen to head for the sun this winter. The most popular destinations are Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Looking ahead briefly to 2007, among the changes the New Year is set to bring is the beginning of rent deregulation. Every year until 2010, regulated rents are set to rise an average of 20 percent a year - rather more than the originally announced 14 percent. Most local authorities have already informed residents how much more rent they will have to pay, though many are still in the dark. The reason for this? Municipal elections in October: many local authorities decided to wait until after the elections to decide on such an important matter as rent increases.
Meanwhile, households will pay an average of almost 8 percent more for electricity from January. Analysts say electricity prices will gradually increase to match those in western Europe. Natural gas prices, by contrast, will fall an average of 4 percent. But householders will probably enjoy that benefit only until April, when the gas market is deregulated.
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