Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The EC has approved Italy’s 5G expansion scheme worth 2 billion euro that will be financed through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
The Commission pointed out in a statement on Monday that the move is part of Rome’s digitalisation plan aimed at addressing the needs of businesses and citizens, and “contributes to the EU’s strategic objectives relating to the digital transition.”
Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, noted that Italy’s scheme is entirely funded through the RRF.
She stressed that the move “will enable consumers and business to access high-quality 5G services, contributing to the economic growth of the country and to the EU’s strategic objectives.”
According to the plan, Italy will support investments in the electronic communications sector until the end of June 2026. Under the scheme, Italy will provide EU funds to telecom providers in the form of grants.
“The scheme aims to ensure a wide availability of high-performing networks, capable of delivering high-quality and reliable electronic communication access services to end-users, satisfying their current and evolving needs,” the Commission pointed out.
The body stressed that Italy’s proposed aid is proportionate and necessary to address market failures as assessed by Italian authorities and mapping of planned and existing infrastructure.
It added that the measure will incentivise companies to deploy infrastructure in areas where forecasted revenues do not justify the investment, noting that the scheme includes safeguards to limit effects on competition.
The Commission reminded that EU member states must submit their plans under RRF for approval and stressed that it assesses such submissions as a matter of priority.
“The Commission makes sure in its decision that the applicable state aid rules are complied with, in order to preserve the level playing field in the single market and ensure that the RRF funds are used in a way that minimises competition distortions and do not crowd out private investment,” the statement notes.
The EC stressed the strategic importance of broadband connectivity for growth and innovation in the EU and concluded that Italy’s scheme “contributes to the EU’s strategic objectives set out in the Gigabit Communication, the Communication on Shaping Europe’s digital future, the Digital Compass Communication, and the Commission’s proposal for a decision establishing the 2030 Policy Programme ‘Path to the Digital Decade’.”