Anacom has agreed to the new social tariff rules for broadband internet, which set mandatory minimum rates and speeds. Highlight goes to realign values, initially asking for a download speed of at least 10Mbps, which becomes 30Mbps, and 1Mbps upload becomes 3Mbps. In addition to speed, the minimum monthly traffic to be included in the offer ranges from 12 GB to 30 GB.
A monthly fee of €5, or €6.15 with a value-added tax of 23%, has also been applied for broadband internet access. Anacom says that this value meets the goal of making the price affordable for consumers with low incomes or special social needs. The rules also set a maximum price for activating the service and providing Internet access equipment, such as routers, at €21.45, or €26.38 with a value-added tax of 23%.
These are the proposals on the table, after Anacom was responsible for determining the parameters that will be applied, from the price to the bandwidth and traffic that will be included, as well as the activation of the procedure. The regulator submitted a proposal in August, which has been opened for public consultation, with three documents that interested entities have commented on.
The indications that are now approved may not be final, and SAPO TEK understands that the possibility of making changes to the final law that has not yet been published is being studied. But at the moment, there are no concrete indications of what can be changed in the technical characteristics of the service, which is one of the main parameters in the Action plan for government digital transformation.
Slow road to social tariff
The project dates back to 2019, but only at the end of July 2021 was Decree-Law establishing the general framework for implementing the Social Internet TariffIt is a measure that some 700,000 low-income families are expected to benefit from to ensure access to the Internet. The goal is to have this on the ground before the end of the year.
The regulator also says it has recommended that the government consider exempting from the obligation to provide online social tariffs for companies with eligible business volumes weighing less than 1% of global eligible business volume for the electronic communications sector.
It is mentioned that the social internet tariff will be provided by all operators who provide this type of service to people with limited income and people with special social needs. The goal is to reduce barriers to Internet access and to promote the use of each. Anacom estimates that 800,000 people could benefit from this special tariff across the national territory, although the number of actual beneficiaries may be less.
The market regulator justifies the increase in speed values to meet the needs of family members to access the Internet, within a satisfactory experience of using the service. It also wants to avoid the risk of social exclusion, and not put the recipients of the offer at a more disadvantage than other public Internet users, “in adequate participation in the digital economy and society,” the statement reads.
In response to Anacom’s decision, the operators have already left their sites. aPritel argues that the value proposition may have high fees for the sector. Pedro Mota Soares, General Secretary of Apritel, had told Sabo TEK that “the financing of this social policy should be secured primarily through public funds and not only the burden of the electronic communications sector”. In the preliminary figures provided by Anacom, Associação D3 defended that this social internet tariff had characteristics (in terms of speed and traffic volume) that make it a “second-class connection and fail to meet action goals”, arguing that the targets indicated coverage of at least 30 megabits. per second, which is a value Anacom just updated.
SAPO TEK has collected some questions about this social tariff, based on data from Decree-Law 66/2021, which share here.
Editor’s note: Updated news with more information. Last update 1:58 PM.
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