The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €500 million Spanish scheme made available through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (‘RRF') to support the deployment of broadband backhaul infrastructure in rural areas. The measure is part of Spain's strategy to address the needs of citizens and business in the context of the digitalisation of the country. The scheme also contributes to the EU's strategic objectives relating to the digital transition.
The scheme, which will run until 31 December 2025, will be funded via the RRF, following the Commission's positive assessment of the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan (‘RRP') and its adoption by the Council. The Spanish RRP includes important investment projects in the electronic communications sector, including the deployment of performant mobile networks. The scheme approved today concerns the roll out of broadband backhaul networks.
Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants to electronic communication providers and infrastructure companies. Beneficiaries will be selected on the basis of an open, competitive, transparent and non-discriminatory selection procedure. The amount of aid per beneficiary will not exceed 90% of eligible costs. The measure will finance the deployment of fibre-based broadband backhaul networks to connect certain base stations situated in municipalities of less than 10,000 inhabitants and which, by 31 December 2025, will not have a performant one in the absence of public support.
The scheme aims to ensure a wide availability of high-performing mobile networks, capable of delivering high-quality and reliable electronic communication access services to end-users, satisfying their current and evolving needs.