The European Commission has approved a Cypriot voucher scheme for €12 mln to help households have better access to high-speed broadband services to foster the country’s digital transformation.
According to an announcement, the scheme supports the take-up of broadband services over the existing infrastructure, ensuring wider availability of high-speed broadband services.
The scheme will run until 30 June 2025 and be partially funded via the Resilience and Recovery Facility following the Commission’s positive assessment of the Cypriot Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The aid will take the form of vouchers for households that do not have a subscription to a connection providing at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed.
It will cover part of the set-up costs and the first 12 months of subscription to broadband services providing at least 200 Mbps download speeds.
The scheme is expected to benefit approximately 82,000 households.
All broadband service providers capable of providing the services will be eligible under the measure.
Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said that the scheme would ensure citizens can access high-speed broadband services.
“This will contribute to Cyprus’ economic development and social cohesion while ensuring that competition is not unduly distorted.”
The Commission assessed the scheme, which allows Member States to support the development of certain economic activities under certain conditions.
It found the scheme necessary to address a market failure, namely the slow take-up of eligible broadband services by households in Cyprus.
Even though networks able to provide high-speed broadband services are widely available in Cyprus and despite households’ growing needs, data shows that Cypriot households’ take-up of such services continues to be relatively low.
According to the assessment, the measure has an incentive effect since connectivity and access to broadband services would not be facilitated to the same extent without public support.
Also, it has been found that the scheme has sufficient safeguards to ensure that undue distortions of competition are limited and that the aid does not have undue negative effects on competition and trade in the EU.
The Cypriot scheme will enter into force in January.