• The grants are part of the New Generation Broadband Extension Program (PEBA-NGA 2020-2022), and will allow the expansion of very high capacity digital connectivity infrastructures throughout the territory, especially in rural areas
  • Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), its objective is to extend ultra-fast broadband to the entire territory, helping to reduce the digital divide and face the demographic challenge

The Council of Ministers today authorized the publication of the 2020 call pertaining to the New Generation Broadband Extension Program (PEBA-NGA) 2020-2022. Up to 150 million euros of aid will be provided, its objective is to expand the deployment of ultra-fast networks in rural areas and with less population, thus helping to reduce the digital divide and face the demographic challenge. Aid is co-financed with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The call will grant aid for the extension of electronic broadband communication networks of at least 300 Mbps, scalable to 1 Gbps, both downstream and upstream, in areas without current coverage of NGA networks (New Generation Access) and that they do not have three-year deployment forecasts, known as NGA white areas.

The main novelty of this year's call is the incorporation of the so-called gray NGA areas as eligible areas for aid. Gray areas are those where there is a single operator that can provide services at speeds of more than 30 Mbps, but without exceeding 100 Mbps.

The Government obtained the approval of the European Commission to include the gray areas in the framework of the state aid regime. Its incorporation will improve coverage in some areas where, despite the existence of broadband, the services that now exist are insufficient and there is capacity for them to be improved.

He final map of the white and gray NGA areas eligible for the call It is the result of a public consultation that ended on June 9. 145 contributions were received from regional and local public administrations, electronic communications operators and other agents.

Another novelty of this call is that the projects have to be at the provincial level. One will be selected per province and the greatest number of population entities covered in the project will be valued, to reduce the territorial gap as much as possible.

PEBA-NGA Program

The PEBA-NGA Program has complemented the action of the private sector, making Spain the country with the most extensive fiber optic network in Europe, despite the difficulties presented by the topography of our territory for the deployment of networks. According to data from the European Commission, fiber optic coverage to the home (FTTH) reaches 80.4% of the Spanish population, compared to the European average of 34%. In rural areas, the coverage differential in favor of Spain is equally relevant: on average, only 21% of European households have FTTH, compared to 46% in our country.

In the 2013-2019 period, this Program has granted aid to 130 operators to carry out 753 projects with an associated investment of 871.40 million euros and aid of 478.90 million euros. More than half of that amount was granted in 2018 and 2019. Specifically, in the 2019 call, 140.14 million euros were granted, which have served to cover 705,974 households and companies in 12,760 Singular Population Entities (ESP) .

When the projects with aid granted in the previous calls end next year, ultra-fast speed coverage will have reached 91% of the Spanish population. With this call, it is estimated that coverage can reach 93.1% of the population.

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