#StateAid – Commission approves €50 million voucher scheme for faster #BroadbandServices in #Greece

| January 8, 2019

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a voucher scheme to support the take-up in Greece of broadband services with download speeds of at least 100 Megabit per second.

The measure will contribute to reducing the digital divide while limiting distortions of competition. The Greek authorities aim to increase the number of consumers using Superfast Broadband Services, which  are defined by Greece as broadband services ensuring download speeds of at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps), readily upgradable to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps).

The vouchers will support increased take-up by covering part of the set-up costs and of the monthly fee for a maximum of 24 months. Users will be able to activate the vouchers until 31 March 2020. Greece notified the support measure for assessment by the Commission under State aid rules.

The Commission found that even though the scheme is mainly aimed at consumers, it amounts to State aid in favour of telecommunication services providers, who will be able to offer such services over existing broadband infrastructures. Therefore, the Commission assessed the measure under State aid rules, in particular under Article 107(3)(c) TFEU.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the scheme is in line with State aid rules and contributes to the EU strategic objectives set out in the Digital Agenda for Europe and in the Communication Towards a European Gigabit Society.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The Greek Superfast broadband project aims to increase the number of consumers adopting the Superfast broadband services. The voucher scheme will help more people use higher speed broadband services in areas where suitable infrastructure is available but insufficiently used. The scheme will contribute to bridging the longstanding digital divide in Greece, in line with the objectives of the EU’s Digital Single Market, while ensuring that competition is not unduly distorted.”

The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, EL.

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