Portugal advances with internet at 6 euros / month for people with low cost or special social needs – Cidade Hoje
A social Internet tariff, aimed at consumers with low knowledge, takes effect in January and will have a value of 6.15 euros (VAT included), the Secretary of State for Digital Transition told Lusa.
“Confirm whether the value of five euros plus VAT, therefore, the total for the citizen will be 6.15 euros and it also maintains what was our expectation of eligibility criteria, whether or, the population to be covered, which will be equal to the rules that apply to the social tariff for electricity and water, in other words, an expectation of 780 thousand potential beneficiaries”, said André de Aragão Azevedo.
“In terms of service levels, what is being planned is a monthly package of 15 GB [Gigabyte]”And in terms of ‘download’ and ‘upload’ speed of 12 Mbps [megabit por segundo] and 2 Mbps, respectively, added.
On September 29, a National Communications Authority (Anacom) had announced that in its approval approved on September 27, it carried out a “re-weighting of the projected measures” in the draft decision of August 12, requiring the minimum ‘download speed’ ‘from 10 Mbps to 30 Mbps and ‘upload’ from 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps and the minimum monthly traffic amount to be included in the offer from 12 GB to 30 GB.
“We chose to stay halfway between what was the reference value, that is, what was the Digital School package that was also launched for about a year, in what was a transformation that the school had to undergo even to help in the context of the pandemic”, justified the governor.
In other words, “we chose to use as a reference, in terms of market value, exactly the Digital School package, which used to be the same five euros, but provided for a level of service below what we are now setting for the social Internet tariff ”.
André de Aragão Azevedo stressed that this “is still an experimental scheme that will be evaluated”, since until now there was no social tariff for the Internet.
“We chose, from the point of view of political option, to stay here in the middle term, between the base and the reference”, which was the subject of a market consultation and “what was the proposal of Anacom, which approved us, for a first phase, a little excessive”, argued the Secretary of State.
The tariff value of five euros is fixed for 2022 only.
“The idea is to carry out an annual assessment that will cover the two dimensions of the theme, which is price and service parameters”, said the government official when explaining the fixing of that value only for that year.
“The goal is that this review is carried out annually, it is necessary to carry out an impact assessment, what is the level of adherence, what are unavoidable factors to correct that we are also unaware of and then, as a result, refine or not the values or the service parameters”, he underlined.
André de Aragão Azevedo said that this assessment will be carried out by Anacom and then a report will be sent to the Government, on which the executive “will react, correcting or not, depending on the conclusion reached”.
Asked whether in the first year of the launch of the social tariff on the Internet it will be possible to cover the universe of nearly 800,000 beneficiaries of the measure, the secretary of state said it is not possible to know because “it depends on an adhesion that people will have to do”.
“It is not automatically granted, it is requested and, after it is formulated, then yes, checking the requirements, it is automatically granted”, said the Secretary of State.
In order to access the social tariff, the future beneficiary “basically has to go to an operator, request the service and then, from that moment on, the operator itself will have access to a platform where they can verify compliance or not with the eligibility requirements ”, explained the ruler.
“If eligible, she [tarifa social de Internet] it will be assigned to it and the operator has 10 days to recognize the right”, enter into force and apply it, he added.
“We thought it was absolutely essential for us to have this kind of response when we know that the dependence on technology and digital is increasing and, therefore, leaving people out of this world for economic reasons, knowing that it is now a service. basic that must be universalized, was unacceptable”, which is why “we wanted to launch this measure”, he reinforced.
The measure takes effect on January 1st.
Asked what the start of this measure represents, André de Aragão Azevedo said that it means “an enormous satisfaction”.
First, because “it corresponds to the implementation of something we are committed to, which was provided for in our Action Plan for the Digital Transition of Portugal”, integrated “in what is the focus on people and the challenge of people’s access to digital, which has various declines”, he continued, from the various measures linked to digital skills,“ which are already in the field ”, passing by the bet“ on the transformation of their own businesses and on the transformation of the entire ecosystem ”.
Then, “it had to do with the theme of connectivity and accessibility, with expansion of coverage and now it also had to do with what access is for economic reasons, for which this social tariff was essential”, he defended.
“I am very pleased to think that in a country that we want to be inclusive, that is in fact inclusive of all people and that does not leave anyone behind, the social tariff responds to a universe that is not negligible, we are talking about almost 8 % of the Portuguese population”, he pointed out.
On the issue of Internet coverage in the territory, the Secretary of State emphasizes that this is an issue that is on the agenda.
“We also do not want to leave territories behind and there is a population that is in fact in areas that are technically called white areas, that is, areas that do not have access to the mobile Internet coverage network or connectivity”, so the Government is “Working on the exact and very rigorous survey of the areas where there is no coverage and for that we are preparing a diploma that imposes an interactive coverage map”, he referred.
This map will be a “very rigorous instrument” that provides a perspective on the fixed network and the mobile network.
“Then, based on this, we will launch, now integrated in what is the investment plan of both the PRR, PT2030, and even the fund for the digital transition arising from the 5G auction”, since there is an investment capacity that allows “Expect a very large extension of this coverage”.
The Secretary of State guarantees that “this is what the Government is working for.
“This is a very big concern that the Government has and that we believe that in the coming months it will have a very favorable evolution”, he underlined.
The interactive map is “at this moment in the legislative circuit”, but because it may still take some time to be fully operational, the Government mandated Anacom “to carry out a previous survey”, he said.
“The Government issued a joint order between various government areas, from the Economy and Digital Transition to Telecommunications and also to the Valorization of the Interior, in the sense of having, in fact, access to information in the short term that will allow us from already designing and moving forward with a set of investments that accelerate the process of expanding coverage”, concluded the government official.