Press Release: State aid: Commission approves modifications to broadband network project in Eastern Poland

The European Commission has endorsed, under EU State aid rules, modifications to the operation of a high speed broadband (backhaul) network in Eastern Poland. Backhaul networks do not reach the end user but carry data to and from the global networks and function as information highways. The project will increase the coverage of high speed broadband and significantly improve the access to broadband services and competition in the region, which is characterised by high prices and low broadband subscriptions rates by households and businesses compared to the EU average. The original €346 million scheme for the roll-out of the next generation backhaul network (capable of sustaining speeds above 30 Mbps) in un-served or under-served areas in Eastern Poland was approved by the Commission in 2011. The Commission assessed the revised measure under EU State aid rules, in particular its 2013 Broadband Guidelines. The modifications broaden the scope of the operation of the network. In particular, they will not only allow vertically integrated private operators providing both wholesale and retail services to participate in the selection process for the management of the network but also introduce an alternative, public model for the management of the network. Furthermore, a better identification of areas that can connect to the backhaul network and the possibility for operators to also serve areas in other regions in Poland will increase the use of the backhaul infrastructure and encourage investments to connect consumers, improving the efficiency of the original scheme. The improved scheme will thus contribute to the achievement of the EU objectives for the Digital Single Market. More information will be made available under the case number SA.46203 in the State Aid Register on the competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Source: European Commission

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