The European Commission has approved a voucher scheme which will promote uptake of Greek superfast broadband.
The programme will provide Greek residents with vouchers to cover the setup costs and up to two years’ worth of monthly fees for superfast broadband, defined by Greek authorities as internet with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second; as authorities work to increase the proportion of consumers making use of available Greek superfast broadband services. Greece already has the necessary infrastructure in place to support superfast broadband, but as yet uptake remains low.
The Commission ruled that the Greek superfast broadband voucher scheme would be acceptable under EU state aid regulations, as it will help the country’s telecommunications provision companies without artificially distorting competition. The scheme will be subject to close oversight to ensure it is not abused and adheres to the EU’s rules governing state aid and governmental intervention in industry.
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 Greek superfast broadband scheme forms part of wider initiatives across the EU aimed at boosting broadband development in Member States. According to targets set by the Digital Agenda for Europe, at least 50 per cent of European households should have superfast broadband connections by 2025. Greece has the lowest uptake in the EU of superfast broadband services, which is attributed by Greek authorities to the fact that the cost of fixed broadband in the country is substantially higher than the EU average.