In order to contribute to the implementation of a social tariff for the provision of broadband internet access services in Portugal, and in compliance with Decree-Law No 66/2021https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1687781, of 30 July, which establishes this tariff, ANACOM approved on 27 September 2021:
- the proposal on the value of the social tariff for broadband Internet access services and respective public consultation report - it should be noted that the approved proposal does not change the values and respective conditions presented in the document that was submitted to public consultation.
- the proposal on the definition of conditions required for the granting, application and maintenance of the social tariff for provision of fixed or mobile broadband internet access services – which specify, in particular, the conditions for making the tariff operational.
- the decision on the concept of unfair burden with the provision of broadband Internet access service and respective prior hearing and public consultation report – which maintains the measures outlined in the draft decision, the Government having also been recommended to consider exempting from the obligation to provide social internet tariff companies whose eligible turnover in the second year prior to that in which the exemption is in force gives them a weight of less than 1% of the overall eligible turnover of the electronic communications sector, with impact on the application of the second criterion established.
- the decision on the definition of bandwidth (speed) and other quality of service parameters to be observed in the social tariff for the provision of fixed and mobile broadband internet access services and the respective prior hearing and public consultation report - it should be noted that ANACOM has reconsidered the measures outlined in the draft decision of 12.08.2021, increasing the minimum download speed from 10 Mbps to 30 Mbps and the upload speed from 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps, as well as the minimum amount of monthly traffic to be included in the offer from 12 GB to 30 GB.
The social internet tariff will be made available by all companies that provide this type of service to low income consumers or consumers with special social needs, aiming to mitigate one of the barriers to the use of broadband Internet access service, which is the high prices involved in the access thereto, thus promoting its use.
The potential range of beneficiaries of the broadband Internet access social tariff is around 800 000 people and is likely to be spread throughout the country, however the number of actual beneficiaries may be lower than this.
In this context, ANACOM approved proposing to the Government as follows:
- the application of a monthly fee of EUR 5 (EUR 6.15 including 23% VAT) for the broadband Internet access service, as this value is considered to meet the objective of guaranteeing affordability for low income consumers and consumers with special social needs for this service;
- a maximum price of EUR 21.45 (EUR 26.38 with VAT at 23%) as consideration for the activation of the service, and/or access equipment, namely routers.
With a view to fulfilling the aforementioned obligation to define the bandwidth required for the provision of broadband internet access service set out in the abovementioned law, as well as the minimum parameters of quality of service, namely download and upload speed, the final decision approved by ANACOM determines that:
- in order to ensure the provision of the set of services that should be supported by the internet access service provided for in paragraph 1 of article 3 of DL No 66/2021, of 30 July, companies providing the service should ensure a minimum download speed of 30 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps.
- the minimum monthly traffic value to be included in the offer associated with the social tariff for broadband Internet access must be 30 GB.
This Authority believed that it was justified to re-weight the elements already considered in the draft decision, promoting an increase in the features associated with the social tariff, namely enabling all members of a household to have access to the minimum set of services that must be guaranteed by that tariff, so as to obtain a satisfactory experience of service use without such use being significantly constrained. These requirements also aim to reinforce the objectives underlying the universal service policy, namely the adoption of measures that avoid the risk of social exclusion, with the need to guarantee conditions that will apply to the social tariff that do not place the beneficiaries of this offer in a clearly unfavourable situation when compared to other internet service users, allowing them to adequately participate in the digital economy and society. It should be noted, in this regard, that as early as 2012, the national broadband strategy set as a basic access objective that by 2020 the entire population should have at the level of access a fixed broadband connection of 30 Mbps.
It should be noted that, as there is no network availability obligation at stake, the setting of higher speeds for the social tariff can be provided with negligible impact on providers, given that infrastructures/networks support different speed values without significant additional marginal costs, once the fixed cost of network construction is covered.
- Approval of the proposal on the value of the social tariff for provision of broadband internet access services https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1707682
- Approval given to the definition of bandwidth and other quality of service parameters to be observed in the social tariff for provision of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1708001
- Approval of the concept of unfair burden in the provision of broadband Internet access services https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1708061
- Proposal on the definition of conditions required for the granting, application and maintenance of the social tariff for provision of fixed or mobile broadband Internet access services https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1708141