State aid: Commission approves €20 million voucher scheme to support access to broadband services by students in Greece

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a €20 million voucher scheme to help students in Greece access broadband services and benefit from remote online learning.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said:” This €20 million Greek voucher scheme will help students in Greece cover the costs for accessing internet broadband services. The scheme will help ensure that eligible students can have access to educational services provided online, through the technology they choose. This has become even more essential in the context of the coronavirus outbreak where distance learning has become the norm. The measure will also more generally help promote the development of digital and transversal skills, making education more flexible and easy to access.”

The Greek scheme aims at providing vouchers to cover all or part of the monthly bills for eligible broadband services. The scheme will be accessible to up to 50,000 students per academic year.

Greece notified the support measure for assessment by the Commission under EU State aid rules. The Commission found that the scheme is mainly aimed at students, whilst at the same time amounting to indirect State aid in favour of telecommunication services providers, who will be able to offer the supported broadband services.

The Commission therefore assessed the measure under State aid rules, in particular Article 107(2)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which allows Member States to grant aid having a social character to individual consumers, subject to certain specific conditions, in particular that the aid is granted without discrimination related to the origin of the products and services concerned.

The Commission found that the measure will be technologically neutral. In this respect, the students will be able to use the voucher to subscribe to any supported broadband service from the provider of their choice. Furthermore, there will be no discrimination based on the origin of the telecommunications provider or the origin of the products and services.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the scheme is in line with EU 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“.

Background

Broadband connectivity is of strategic importance for European growth and innovation in all sectors of the economy, as well as for social and territorial cohesion. The Digital Agenda for Europe acknowledges the socio-economic benefits of broadband and sets targets for broadband development in Europe, including that 50% or more of European households should subscribe to internet connections above 100 Mbps.

The Digital Agenda for Europe was complemented in 2016 by the Gigabit Society Communication, which defines connectivity objectives to be achieved by 2025, where the development of very high capacity networks able to provide download speeds of at least 100 Mbps, upgradeable to 1 Gbps, should enable the widespread use of products, services and applications in the Digital Single Market.

The non-confidential version of the current decision will be made available under the case number SA.57357 in the State Aid Register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the Weekly Competition Newsletter.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

Moves to create a Kosovo army have ‘deteriorated relations’ with Serbia: UN peacekeeping chief

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

3 unexpected consequences of the US-China trade war

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

Beyond ‘business as usual’. Addressing the climate change crisis

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

We need to give voice to ‘We the Peoples’, says UN chief

With Libyans now ‘fighting the wars of others’ inside their own country, UN envoy urges Security Council action to end violence

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

Coronavirus: EU guidance for a safe return to the workplace

5 things COVID-19 has taught us about inequality

Pharmaceuticals: Commission refines intellectual property rules

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

Young translators at EU schools – Commission opens registration for 2020 translation contest

Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine: Guterres

UN political chief calls for dialogue to ease tensions in Venezuela; Security Council divided over path to end crisis

State aid: Commission approves €1.2 billion French “Fonds de solidarité” scheme for small enterprises in temporary financial difficulties due to coronavirus outbreak

These are the top 10 global causes of death – but two diseases are in decline

Brazilian health: right or privilege?

Why the minutes and the months matter most to young people during the COVID-19 crisis

Stop cooperation with and funding to the Libyan coastguard, MEPs ask

Statement by the European Commission following the extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

The remote doctor in the 21st century

Over 820 million people suffering from hunger; new UN report reveals stubborn realities of ‘immense’ global challenge

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

What just happened? 5 themes from the COP24 climate talks in Poland

More bank bailouts at taxpayers’ expenses

EP wants data protection guaranteed before allowing fingerprint exchange with UK

Business growth is key to post-pandemic recovery

A new paradigm for collaboration: mission-based ecosystems

Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future

MEPs urge UK to break current deadlock

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century: an equity unachieved

Commission supports Member States in tackling coronavirus hotspots with offer of four million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to be delivered this month

These 4 companies are turning food waste into cosmetics, clothing and more

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

More international support needed to curb deadly measles outbreak in DR Congo

White Coat, Stained red

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

COVID-19 has accelerated India’s digital reset

Commission celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Jean Monnet Activities promoting European studies worldwide

Meet the Seed Warrior: the man on a mission to rescue India’s rice diversity

UN rights chief ‘extremely concerned’ over deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran

Amid COVID-19 constraints, UN women’s commission meets to push gender equality forward

COVID-19, higher education and the impact on society: what we know so far and what could happen

As rural communities age, their public transport is shrinking. It’s time to fix this

Why the future of food must be blue as well as green

The digital revolution will transform the steel industry

ILO: Unemployment to increase by 8.1 million in 2013-2014

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

Eco-anxiety during the Pandemic

GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa on 16-18 July 2019, in association with The European Sting

Destroying nuclear waste to create clean energy? It can be done

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s