The European Commission has approved a €12 million voucher scheme for Cyprus, aiming to help households gain access to faster internet.

According to the commission, the scheme will benefit approximately 82,000 households and “is necessary to address a market failure, namely the slow take-up of eligible broadband services by households in Cyprus.”

Help will be available in the form of vouchers to households not having a subscription to a connection providing at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed. The scheme will cover part of the set-up costs and the first 12 months of subscription to broadband services providing at least 200 Mbps download speeds.

The scheme will run until June 30, 2025. All broadband service providers capable of providing the required services will be eligible under the measure.

“Even though networks able to provide high-speed broadband services are widely available in Cyprus and despite households’ growing needs for performant connectivity, data shows that the take-up of such services by Cypriot households continues to be relatively low,” the EU Commission said.

The aim is to offer an “incentive effect, since connectivity and access to broadband services would not be facilitated to the same extent in the absence of public support.”

An announcement by the commission specified the scheme has sufficient safeguards to ensure that undue distortions of competition are limited and that the aid does not have undue negative effects on competition and trade.

“Cyprus carried out a market assessment and a public consultation that show that the design of the measure prevents conferring a disproportionate advantage on one or more specific service providers to the detriment of others, also in the light of the wholesale access obligations provided by the relevant national regulation,” it said.

Funding will be made available in part through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, following the Commission’s positive assessment of the Cypriot Recovery and Resilience Plan and its adoption by the Council.