19.7 C
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Thousands of Internet Speeds – The process for the Broadband Coupon is in progress

Must read

The Broadband Connectivity Coupon Plan is progressing rapidly, after the results of the public consultation conducted by the Department of Electronic Communications have already been announced. The government intends to create a coupon system aimed at supporting households to connect to very high speed networks (VHCN). The coupon will offer a reduction in installation costs and a subsidy to cover the first 12 months of the subscription. The direct beneficiaries and end users of the system are households in selected areas of Cyprus. Households are then free to choose a subscription with any eligible provider they want. The total budget that will be allocated for the coupons will amount to 10 million euros and is expected to benefit about 82,000 households, while the program will last until 2025.

Who cares

The project aims to support households gaining Gigabit connections by reducing installation costs and subsidizing the first 12 months of the subscription. The aid will be accessible to all households that do not yet have 1 Gbps upgradeable connections and are within the intervention area. The intervention area will be determined on the basis of the areas where fiber optic or equivalent network can be developed. The exact areas of intervention will be reviewed on a semi-annual basis. Both MDUs and SDUs will be eligible. The coupons can be used for subscriptions to services of any provider that is able to reliably provide the speeds of 1 Gbps download and 250 Mbps upload through an existing broadband network, regardless of the technologies used. Each selected household can apply for a coupon. The coupon will have a fixed value of 120 euros. The aim of the lump sum is to make the application process and management process as simple as possible. Individual challenges or difficulties in connecting specific buildings or apartments will not be considered and all beneficiaries will receive the same amount. In order to be eligible for the grant, a speed test must be performed to prove that the required speed is provided at the recipient's premises and to be copied by the household and the operator. This speed test must be performed at the end point. The process ensures that speeds are not only reached at the junction of the building, but at the beneficiary's apartment. For their part, providers are obliged to develop the network regardless of whether there is small or large interest in an apartment building. Of course, the beneficiary will have to sign a paper on which the state audit services are entitled to ascertain whether they really have the right speeds as provided by the plan.


The main features of how the coupons will be given to the citizens, but also to the requirements of the providers, were analyzed in a public consultation conducted by the Department of Electronic Communications (THE), in accordance with the European rules on state aid. The public consultation that was published was open between March 11 and April 12, 2022. Until April 12, 2022, THE received responses from telecommunications operators in Cyprus. Another response was submitted by the fourth telecommunications operator of Cyprus after the end of the public consultation period, on 13 April. This was a general response that welcomed and expressed interest in the system, with no further comment on its design or targeted areas of intervention, other than calling for technological neutrality.

In general, all stakeholders who responded to the public consultation, as stated in a statement by THE, welcomed the measure and expressed interest in participating in its implementation.

What they said about the proposed project

All three stakeholders who provided detailed responses to the public consultation included information on the geographical coverage:

■ One interested party (EPIC) considered that the map provided in the consultation paper was not sufficiently detailed and requested a more detailed map so that further comments could be made.

μενος Another Stakeholder (CYTA) suggested updating lists of areas in which optical access networks have already been deployed so that selected intervention areas can be integrated. Directories should be updated regularly.

■ Finally, the third party (Primetel) considers that there should be no geographical restrictions on access areas, as this could encourage providers to accelerate their development plans in certain areas to take advantage of the scheme. >

According to THE comments, the goal is to have up-to-date lists of developing areas. However, the section opposes the provider's proposal for no geographical restrictions, as it is said to be contrary to EU state aid rules, which require remote areas for demand vouchers, so that there are no beneficiaries in areas. where the required infrastructure is already available. Therefore, according to THE, there is no immediate need to change or adjust the intervention area at this stage.

Not on a wireless network

All three providers interested in the government's plan said they would use FTTH/GPON technology to develop their network, however, they also applied for FWA, ie wireless network access. According to THE comments, however, wireless access is not considered the best solution, as, as mentioned, upload speeds of up to 250 Mbps are not offered on the market. As mentioned, at 26 Ghz a loading speed of 200 Mbps could be achieved, however, the spectrum has not yet been made available in Cyprus and there are currently no government plans for such a thing. The coupon system will remain technologically neutral. Therefore, if an operator can offer a technology that meets the required gigabit speeds, then its proposal may be considered. TheE notes, however, that the € 10 million subsidy is offered by the RRF (Recovery and Durability Plan) and only concerns wiring and not wireless access to ultra-high speeds, for & # 8217; even if one of the providers achieves the high upload speeds of 250 Mbps, the competent department will nevertheless prefer the cabling system, as provided by the EU plan.

How to make coupons

Two of the three providers made a lot of comments, as reported by THE, and suggestions about the process of applying for coupons. In general, all the comments were aimed at simplifying and automating the process. What they require:

■ Integration into a single document, with standard, predefined content of (1) household self-declaration of Gigabit-capable prior connection and (2) speed test results submitted electronically ( proposal from EPIC). Alternatively, the self-declaration and acceptance of the coupon terms could be completed electronically via a link sent by the provider to the end user (suggestion from CYTA).

■ Providing the possibility of digital signing of documents/statements with simple electronic signature via tablet, in order to make the process more efficient (proposal from EPIC).

■ Automation of the registration process in THE through a special system (proposal from EPIC).

και Documents and forms to be provided in both Greek and English (CYTA proposal).

According to the Department of Electronic Communications, the comments made by the providers were constructive enough to make the submission process simpler and more formal on the part of the beneficiaries. THE promises to provide standardized forms, as this will streamline the process in the interest of all parties. However, THE is negative in the use of electronically signed documents, as it is reported that currently the technologically advanced number of users, especially private households, is too small to rely on this solution. However, a digital signature on a mobile device used by the technicians of the providers during the application process during the technicians' visit to the beneficiaries, is accepted by THE. Par & # 8217; all this, there will be a requirement for providers to send individuals for physical signature and speed test to the beneficiary. A speed test performed remotely by the operator will not provide the same guarantees and assurances to consumers. In addition, a remote speed test would be less accurate and reliable than a test performed at the facility being serviced, which is one of the key components of the coupon system, for & # 8217; This rejects the proposal for remote control of the connection and the speed of the project beneficiaries.

Assistance costs

Three providers provided additional details on the actual installation and subscription costs per household for the speeds required at the moment, or the suggested actual costs that a citizen would have if they went with the provider without the coupon. Epic stated that for 1 Gbps download/100 Mbps upload there is an installation cost of 300 euros and a 12-month subscription costs 479 euros. For 300 Mbps download/60 Mbps the installation cost is 182 euros and the 12-month subscription reaches 719 euros. Cyta did not mention speeds, but costing the installation 69 euros and mentioning the 12-month subscription at 714 euros. Primetel did not cost the 12-month subscription, however, citing information to be taken into account for the customer's subscription, citing € 56 per month as the first cost of providing the connection via Cyta and a one-time initial fee of € 35 to € 150. euros depending on the wiring, again through Cyta.

The answers, according to THE, show that the amount of 120 euros of the coupon will be well below 50% of the eligible costs of the providers. Therefore, no additional regime changes are required and the amount of 120 euros is considered sufficient to be able to have high speeds.

Coupon with… installments

< p>The parishioners, in order to facilitate and give the citizens the ultra-high speeds, proposed to allocate the funds per year and to be able to strengthen them even more. Extension of the scope of the coupons was requested to include FWA technologies, possibility of using the coupon, either for the installation cost and/or the monthly subscription, with the provider choosing the way the connection will be made, while they ask not to include VAT in the coupon of 120 euros (not included as it is done with all the funds from the Fund). In addition, they ask for the coupon to include only new users of the provider's network and not the existing customers, something that was already announced by THE, while clarifications were requested in case the connection is terminated earlier. However, providers have also expressed concerns that the market may be distorted, as lower speeds will be offered at higher prices than & # 8217; those that will be proposed by THE and the coupon. For its part, THE states that there will be no stable distribution of coupons and they will be given in order of priority, in order to stimulate competition between providers. The department is not positive either in the availability of coupons per year, since the goal is to immediately cover the 82 thousand households, for & # 8217; This is why the program must start immediately, while, as mentioned, the Fund has the funds for a certain period of time and can not be modified. In relation to the available amount, THE states that there is no way to distribute the amount in installation and subscription, and therefore it will be disbursed as a lump sum, both for the initial connection and for a 12-month subscription to an upgradeable contract. However, in case a beneficiary terminates its connection, then the coupon remains with the provider and can not be modified at lower speeds. However, THE claims that a market investigation was conducted and the conclusion is that the regime will not have a negative impact on the telecommunications market in Cyprus.

Slow internet in Cyprus

A survey by the “comparethemarket” identified where the internet is cheaper and more expensive, in order to see how the prices of broadband connections are rising. The list is topped by the country with the most expensive internet (average internet service prices) and finally the country with the cheapest. There are 110 countries. Ethiopia is at the top of the list, having the most expensive internet in the world, which costs 363.99 euros per month. The United Arab Emirates is in second place with 84.84 euros per month, while in third place is Qatar at 76.68 euros per month. In general, the five countries with the most expensive internet in the world are Middle Eastern countries. Qatar, Zimbabwe and Oman are in 3rd, 4th and 5th place in the list. At the bottom of the list is in 110th place Ukraine, where you can have internet for a month paying only 5.22 euros per month. Russia is above Ukraine, with a monthly internet price of 5.94 euros per month, followed by Romania and Moldova. The only country in the top five with the cheapest internet in the world and not European is India with its price reaching 8.84 euros per month. Cyprus ranks 37th on the list, with an average internet cost of 37.42 euros per month. Nigeria is in 36th place with an average of 37.49 euros per month and in 38th Syria, which costs 36.79 euros per month. Greece ranks 49th in the world in the list, with the internet costing an average of 32.97 per month, which is cheaper than Spain, which costs 38.71 euros per month.

They want wireless and lower speeds

It would be easier and cheaper for providers to have wireless access to ultra-high speeds, as they insisted on accepting their offer. One provider (CYTA) proposed to include fixed wireless access (FWA) technologies provided through the 5G network under the scheme and the scope could be adapted after 6 months to include FWA. FWA was mentioned by another provider (Primetel) as a technology that is proposed to be used to provide the required services. According to THE, the funding coming from the EU clearly states that it is not possible to divide the system into different phases & # 8211; All technologies that meet the requirements of the system will be predetermined, while there is no wireless network connection for the provision of coupons. . Specifically, they suggested:

■ Connections that can be upgraded to 1 Gbps download/120 Mbps upload, instead of 1 Gbps/250 Mbps as suggested by the system (CYTA proposal).

■ Connections that can be upgraded to 900 Mbps download speeds (Primetel proposal).

ready for Gigabit, as provided by EU regulations and proposed by the Department of Electronic Communications to maintain the original target of 1000/250 Mbps.

Source: politis.com.cy

- Advertisement -AliExpress WW

More articles

- Advertisement -AliExpress WW

Latest article