The Secretary of State for the Digital Transition, André de Aragão Azevedo, confirmed last November 29 that Portugal will move forward with the social tariff for the Internet. “The value of five euros plus VAT is confirmed, therefore, the total for the citizen will be 6.15 euros and it also maintains what was our expectation of eligibility criteria, that is, the population to be covered, which will be equal the rules that apply to the social tariff for electricity and water, that is, an expectation of 780 thousand potential beneficiaries”, he said at the time. And the measure takes effect today.
This tariff is intended to provide broadband Internet access services, fixed or mobile, and its main objective is to promote digital inclusion through the possibility of access to a minimum set of digital-based services typified in European directive 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 11 December 2018, which establishes the European Code of Electronic Communications (CECE).
The technical requirements of the service are 12 Mbps (Megabits per second) ‘download’ and a minimum ‘upload’ rate of 2 Mbps, with a monthly bandwidth traffic of 15 GB (Gigabyte).
Under the terms of the ordinance that establishes the model, procedures and conditions necessary for the application of the decree-law that creates the Internet social tariff – and which was published on November 29, 2021 in Diário da República -, after granting this tariff, the its maintenance “depends on the verification of Anacom [Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações], in September of each year, as low-income consumers or those with special needs”.
In the specific case of university students, this verification is also carried out by the regulator, until November of each calendar year.
“This social tariff is intended to fill a market failure and respond to a need for access to a digital service by a segment of the economically most needy population that, for financial reasons, is excluded from accessing essential digital services”, refers to the ordinance, stressing that this measure is in line “with other social tariffs applicable to other essential basic services, namely relating to water or electricity and took into account similar experiences already implemented in other European countries”.
The tariff offers a set of 11 minimum services, which include email, search engines (which allow you to search for and consult all types of information), newspapers and news on the Internet and buy or order goods and services online.
“In cases where the allocation of the social tariff for access to fixed or mobile broadband Internet services must be preceded by activation services and/or access equipment, the maximum and single price to be charged for this purpose is 21, 45 euros, plus the corresponding VAT”, the ordinance reads, adding that the beneficiary of the Internet social tariff “may, if he so wishes, opt for the payment in stages of the price associated with activation services and/or access equipment within a period not exceeding 24 months”.
These values ”effective between January 1 and December 31, 2022″, according to the ordinance.
To access the rate, a request must be made with the operator, and the allocation is automatic after confirmation of eligibility.
Consumers to whom the tariff is not automatically applied may apply for the respective allocation to one of the electronic communications operators, and may attach documents proving that they are eligible.
Beneficiaries who fail to meet the tariff requirements must notify the service provider within 30 days.