National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan

The National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan (hereinafter NGA National Plan) is the roadmap for the development and availability of modern broadband infrastructure throughout the country, as well as the citizens’ and businesses’ deployment of high and ultra-high-speed broadband services. The National Plan includes a set of legislative and regulatory interventions as well as tangible support actions for modern broadband infrastructures deployment.

As minimum national targets for the deployment and service availability of high and ultra-high speed broadband connections have been set the following:

  • Target 1:by 2020, access to much higher Internet speeds of above 30Mbps for all citizens of the country
  • Target 2: by 2020, at least 50% of Greek households should have an Internet connection with a speed of above 100Mbps

To achieve these objectives, the required public intervention focuses both on ensuring an attractive investment environment so that private investment would be viable and on optimizing the management of available public funding not only to act as a catalyst for private investment but also to support the deployment of infrastructures that tackle the “digital exclusion” even in areas where market failure is observed.

The National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan is built on the following two pillars:

  • Pillar A: Creation of a favorable environment (legislative and regulatory) for private investments in next generation networks in order to achieve the maximum utilisation of private resources (both domestic and foreign) for the deployment (development) of NGA infrastructure.

The actions, under Pillar A, seek to remove all obstacles delaying and/or preventing private investment in next generation networks and to create a stable regulatory framework. Moreover, the demand for basic broadband services is boosted, with the objective of, on the one hand to reduce the digital divide and illiteracy within the Greek society and, on the other hand, to boost the broadband market and investors’ interest in NGA investments.

A great number of Pillar A legislative interventions, have been included in L.4463 /2017 (Government Gazette A ’82 / 30.03.2017).

  • Pillar B: Tangible public support for the expansion of next-generation broadband infrastructure in areas and markets where there is absence or reduced interest in developing the relevant equipment and services. In this way, coverage of geographic areas with low investment interest is achieved. The widest possible geographic / population coverage and the provision of competitive NGA services will allow the whole productive fabric of the country to benefit from the resulting extroversion and increase in productivity.

Taking into account the new broadband targets set by the European Commission for Gigabit Society 2025 and also the upgrade of providers’ telecommunication infrastructure to date in 2017, Secretary General for Telecommunications and Posts has proceeded to the update the Pillar B planned actions.

In this context, the action Superfast Broadband (SFBB) {www.sfbb.gr} which aims at supporting citizens through vouchers to acquire an Internet connection of at least 100Mbps Bandwidth, upgradable to 1Gbps, has already begun.

At the same time, the following new actions for the deployment and provision of superfast broadband services are being prepared.

  • “Ultrafast Broadband” (UFBB) relates to the deployment of infrastructures providing Internet connections of at least 100 Mbps bandwidth upgradable up to 1Gbps to 2.400.000 citizens (residential and business users)
  • “Connected Enterprises” will provide ultra-high speed broadband services, through subsidized vouchers, to citizens and businesses.

All these aforementioned actions will be implemented by the co-operation of both the Public and the Private Sector (PPP).

The Contribution of National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan to Growth

The NGA National Plan contributes to the harmonization of National Broadband Goals with the Digital Agenda for Europe 2020 and the European Commission’s policy on “Connectivity for a European Gigabit Society” goals.

Broadband connectivity is of strategic importance for European growth and innovation in all sectors of the economy and to the social and territorial cohesion. The Europe 2020 Strategy (“EU 2020“) sets ambitious targets for broadband development. One of its flagship initiatives, the Digital Agenda for Europe (“DAE”) acknowledges the socio-economic benefits of broadband and sets certain targets for broadband development in Europe that are adopted by the National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan.

The added value of investment in the Next Generation Broadband Access Plan in the country’s economic and technological development is obvious.

The ultra-high-speed broadband networks that will be deployed through the “National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan” contribute to the economy’s competitiveness and to the facilitation of all economic sectors by implementing more effective management and production systems.

The upgrading of the region’s business activities, such as digital entrepreneurship and smart farming, are mentioned as indicative examples of alternative forms of economic and environmental development.

In social terms broadband development impacts through:

  • improvement of public safety with the capability to provide online public services
  • improvement of social cohesion by strengthening ties between local communities
  • social inclusion of disadvantaged groups by promoting equality
  • education and skills development for adults and children;
  • positive impact on the environment;
  • the ability to provide better health services and medical care at home;
  • the ability to boost services contributing to people’s welfare;

At the same time, the digital divide between urban residents and the Greek periphery (including inaccessible, mountainous and island areas) will be bridged so that participation of all citizens in the country e-Government services will be possible.

Total Budget of the action:

The total budget of the updated NGA Plan actions’ is estimated to exceed € 700.000.000 within the next five years.

Financing:

The National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan is co-funded by the European Union’s Structural and Investment Funds by the National Partnership Agreement “ESPA” 2014-2020 and by national funds.

The co-financed public expenditure is allocated by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Operational Program “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, Innovation 2014-2020” as well as by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Rural Development Program (RDP) 2014-2020.

Implementation

The project is implemented by the Executive Agency for ESIF on ICT sector in the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media.

Proposal and Operation Institution: 

Owner of the Ultrafast Broadband project is the General Secretariat for Telecommunications and Post (GSTP) of the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media.