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State Aid

PR(10)02: State aid: The Authority adopts new guidelines for broadband and broadcasting


The Authority has today modified its state aid rules for the public service broadcasting sector and issued new guidelines on financing of broadband projects by public authorities in the EFTA States. The new broadcasting guidelines clarify what could be included in the concept public service broadcasting and thus be financed by state aid. The new broadband guidelines explain how public authorities can support the deployment of basic broadband and Next Generation Access (NGA) networks.
Broadcasting guidelines

The main modifications in the Chapter on the application of state aid rules to public service broadcasting of the Authority's State Aid Guidelines include:

  • Introduction of control mechanisms before significant new services are launched by public service broadcasters to avoid that competition will be unduley distorted (balancing the market impact of such new services with their public value);
  • Inclusion of pay services in the public service;
  • More effective control of overcompensation and supervision of the public service mission on the national level;
  • Increased financial flexibility for public service broadcasters.

The new Chapter adopted today replaces the previous Chapter on the application of state aid rules to public service broadcasting of 23 April 2004.

Broadband guidelines
The new Chapter on the application of state aid rules in relation to rapid deployment of broadband networks explains how public authorities can support basic broadband networks as well as Next Generation Access (NGA) networks in areas where private operators do not invest. In particular, a distinction has been made between competitive areas (so-called “black areas”), where state aid is not necessary, and unprofitable or underserved areas (so-called “white areas” and “grey areas”), in which state aid may be justified, if certain conditions are met. This distinction is then adapted to the situation of NGA networks and takes into account not only existing NGA infrastructure but also concrete investment plans by telecom operators to deploy such networks in the near future. A number of crucial safeguards (such as detailed mapping, open tender, open access obligation or technological neutrality and claw-back mechanisms) are foreseen in the guidelines in order to promote competition and avoid the “crowding out” of private investment.

Read the broadcasting guidelines here

Read the broadband guidelines here


For further information, please contact:

Per Andreas Bjørgan
Competition and State Aid
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 36

Agnieszka Montoya-Iwanczuk
Senior Officer
Competition and State Aid
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 59


Brussels, 3 February 2010

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