The European Commission has approved 325 million euros of public support under EU State Aid Rules to connect 12,000 schools in Italy to the ultra-high-speed internet.
According to the European Union’s broadband connectivity goals, schools that will benefit from this measure are located in areas with insufficient connectivity in Italy. The plan aims to promote the deployment of a network that can provide Italian schools with upload and download speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).
The measure notified by Italian authorities to the Commission is only for schools that currently do not have or plan to provide broadband networks with download speeds exceeding 300 Mbps in the near future.
Italy believes that providing online education services requires a very high-speed Internet connection, which has become vital in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Italian authorities have carried out a comprehensive plan for the available infrastructure and public consultation to identify target areas and qualified schools. The Commission evaluated this measure in accordance with EU State Aid Rules, especially its 2013 Broadband Guidelines.
Taking the above factors into consideration, the committee concluded that the positive impact of the plan on competition and broadband connections, especially on schools, outweighs the potential negative effects of public intervention.
On this basis, the Committee concluded that the plan complies with EU state aid rules and will help achieve the EU’s strategic goals set in the “European Digital Agenda” and “Towards a European Gigabit Society” exchange.