By Fotis Fotinos
Greek households and businesses are entering the Gigabit era. This is the pursuit of the Ministry of Digital Governance, which put the action “Gigabit Voucher Scheme” in public consultation until September 15.
As part of the action, totaling 100 million euros, it is planned to subsidize the initial one-off connection fee, as well as part of the monthly fee for a period of 24 months.
The total amount of the aid is set at 432 euros per beneficiary household and 888 euros per beneficiary micro-medium enterprise. More specifically, the aid amount is:
-48 euros one-off amount corresponding to the connection fee,
-16 euros per month per beneficiary household for a period of 24 months,
-35 euros per month per beneficiary micro-medium business for a period of 24 months.
Each supported household or small-medium enterprise will only be able to receive support under the action once, while it will be possible to transfer the subsidized connection to another address, as long as the minimum requirements of the service are still met.
The aim is for the penetration of ultra-high-speed broadband services to exceed 10% within the time horizon of the action, now creating a critical “mass” of subscribers that can support the further penetration of services.
Greece lags behind in high-speed networks
The need to implement the action is obvious, since Greece still lags behind other EU member states in terms of the availability and penetration of ultra-high speed broadband networks.
More specifically, based on the DESI index for the year 2021, the coverage of fixed ultra-high-speed networks (VHCN) is 10%, compared to 59% of the European average, while the penetration of broadband services of 100 Mbps or higher is 3 % against 34% of the European average.
These performances rank Greece in 27th place among the member states in terms of the connectivity sub-index of the DESI index.
On the other hand, the implemented, as well as announced private and public investments are expected to significantly address the deficit in terms of the availability of ultra-high-speed networks and services, covering almost the entire country.
However, despite the increased availability, and as the ministry claims, it seems that the reduced demand still remains a key problem, calling into question the investment planning of the providers.
As the experience of the Super – Fast Broadband (SFBB) action has shown, consumer empowerment, through the SFBB voucher, has contributed to an increase in demand for super-fast broadband services.
It is noted that the exact determination of the buildings / addresses eligible for assistance will be carried out through a mapping process that will include the existing coverage of networks that meet the minimum requirements of the service.