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The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €300 million of public support for Greece’s Ultrafast Broadband Infrastructure Scheme. The scheme will bring ultrafast broadband services to customers in areas with insufficient connectivity in Greece.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “Access to high-performance internet connectivity is crucial for European citizens, for society and the economy. With this decision, the Commission endorses the use of EU funds for the development of ultrafast internet in areas of Greece where private investment is insufficient. This is an important step for competitiveness and innovation in Greece as well as for social and territorial cohesion, enabling Greek households and businesses to benefit fully from the Digital Single Market.”

The Greek Ultrafast Broadband Scheme has an indicative budget of €300 million and is financed through the European Regional Development Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and private investments.

The scheme aims to advance the deployment of broadband infrastructure capable of delivering download speeds of at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps), upgradable to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps), to households, companies and public institutions.

The scheme targets areas where no fast broadband infrastructure offering at least 30 Mbps is currently in place, and where no private investor has shown any interest to invest commercially in the near future.

The aid will be awarded by way of an open, transparent and non-discriminatory selection procedure, with all technologies being able to compete.The subsidised network will offer full access to all operators on a non-discriminatory basis, while the access prices will be under the control of the Greek telecommunications regulator, Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT).The measure will therefore incentivise private investments in further connectivity, facilitate competition and encourage investments in the provision of ultrafast internet access to households and businesses in the target areas.

The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular its 2013 Broadband Guidelines. The Commission concluded that the scheme’s positive effects on competition in the Greek broadband market outweigh potential negative effects brought about by the public intervention.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. The scheme will contribute to the EU strategic objectives set out in the Digital Agenda for Europe and in the Communication “Towards a European Gigabit Society“.