The European Commission has approved €400 million of public support to build very high-speed broadband networks across Spain.
The new initiative will mean a major digital boost to the country’s broadband networks, addressing the connectivity deficits throughout Spain while increasing speed and accessibility to both businesses and consumers in rural areas.
The upgrade will mean that the new networks will be capable of providing upload and download speeds of 300 megabits per second (Mbps), which will be upgradeable to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy said, "Spanish consumers and businesses should benefit from the full potential of digital growth, regardless of where they are located. This measure will address the digital divide between urban and rural areas in Spain. With this decision, we again endorse the use of public funds for high-speed internet services to households and businesses in areas where private investment is insufficient".
The scheme which will run from 2020 to 2022, will aim at creating the internet infrastructure necessary to support the European Digital Single Market and stimulate the development of Spain’s modern digital economy.
Spanish authorities have carried out a number of public consultations to determine the targeted areas with further public consultations likely to be carried in the future to ensure that any distortions of competition are kept to a minimum.
The EC have said that the networks funded under the new measure will provide wholesale access to operators in an open and transparent basis and incentivise private investment in the provision of high-speed internet services to businesses and households within the targeted areas.
The Commission believe that broadband connectivity is paramount for European growth and innovation in all sectors of the Spanish economy, as well as for ‘social and territorial cohesion’ as outlined in their ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’.