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State aid: EU Commission approves prolongation and extension of voucher scheme for faster broadband services in Greece

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, the prolongation of a Greek €50 million voucher scheme to support the take-up of superfast broadband services in Greece until 31 March 2022. The Commission also approved the extension of the scope of the scheme to enable businesses, in addition to consumers and self-employed, to receive the public support in the form of vouchers.

In January 2019, the Commission approved a Greek scheme to support the take-up of broadband services with download speeds of at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps), readily upgradable to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) in Greece. Under the scheme, vouchers cover part of the set-up costs and of the monthly fee for a maximum of 24 months.

The scheme, which was originallyopento consumers and self-employed, was due to expire on 31 March 2020. In April 2020, Greece notified the Commission of its intention to (i) prolong the duration of the scheme until 31 March 2022 and (ii) extend its scope also to businesses wishing to obtain superfast broadband services from any telecommunication service provider able to offer such services over a suitable existing broadband infrastructure.

The Commission assessed the measure, as amended, under EU State aid rules and in particular Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It found that Greece has been and will be closely monitoring the implementation of the measure, to avoid any undue distortion of competition.

The scheme will be accompanied by a detailed evaluation to assess its impact on the market. The results of this evaluation will be submitted by Greece to the Commission by December 2021. 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 as complemented by the Communication “Towards a European Gigabit Society”.

More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the State aid Register under case number SA.56599.

Arianna Podesta –