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State Aid

State aid: Norwegian state aid to broadband infrastructure receives green light

11.6.2014

PR(14)35

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today approved a nationwide state aid scheme to roll out broadband infrastructure in Norway. The scheme aims to ensure that all Norwegian citizens receives good quality of basic broadband services, as well as to increase offers of Next Generation Access services (NGA), mainly in rural and scarcely populated areas.

Ms Oda Helen Sletnes, President of the Authority, said that “High quality of broadband services contributes to economic and social growth. The Authority welcomes the initiative of the Norwegian authorities to increase investments in broadband networks by adopting a nationwide scheme. A well designed state aid scheme can effectively contribute to avoid a digital divide”.

The aid scheme will cover both areas where there is no basic broadband infrastructure at all (affecting 0.4% of the population) and areas without NGA infrastructure, and where such infrastructure is unlikely to be built within a period of three years. Currently, while almost 90% of urban households are offered NGA broadband access, less than 20% of households in rural areas have access to NGA services.

The scheme will be managed by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunication Authority, to which counties and municipalities may apply for funds.

The scheme fulfils all the compatible conditions set out in the Authority's Broadband Guidelines. It will ensure technological neutrality and wholesale access. Taking into account the important budget of the scheme – up to NOK 2 billion total – the Norwegian authorities have accepted to carry out an evaluation of the scheme‘s efficiency.


A public version of today's Decision will be published on the Authority's website, normally within a month.

 

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

 




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