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Economy

EU Commission Approves Extension of Greek Voucher Plan to Provide Faster Broadband Services

BRUSSELS – The European Commission on Tuesday approved an extension of a Greek 50-million-euro voucher scheme to support superfast broadband services, to March 31, 2020.

The extension is to March 31, 2020.

In addition, the Commission approved the inclusion of businesses, in addition to consumers and self-employed, to receive the public support in the form of vouchers.

In January 2019, the Commission had 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.

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

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".

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