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Applying the Principle of Technological Neutrality to State Aid for Network Infrastructures

Ana Trías


Keywords: Mediaset, Decoder Doctrine, Network Infrastructures, Broadband, Sustainable Transport, Electrical Mobility

In the Mediaset case, the lower Court made a key statement upheld by the higher Court on appeal: the lack of technological neutrality of a measure is linked both to the presence and the incompatibility of State aid. Scholarly literature has not yet fully explored the procedural and material impact of this finding, called the ‘decoder doctrine’. This paper aims at asserting the legal nature, content and impact of said doctrine on State aid for network infrastructure development. For this purpose, it explores the emergence, scope and rationales of the technological neutrality principle on which the decoder doctrine relies, and studies its application to State aid targeting broadband and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This analysis enables (1) an interpretation of the concept of technological neutrality in State aid law based on the Commission’s definitions and the Mediaset findings and (2) an assessment of key decision-making criteria against this benchmark.
Keywords: Mediaset; Decoder Doctrine; Network Infrastructures; Broadband; Sustainable Transport; Electrical Mobility.

Ana Trías, Master in European Studies, Master in European Regulation of Network Industries (LL.M.), is Senior Fellow of the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI), Guest Lecturer at Universidad Católica del Uruguay Dámaso Antonio Larrañaga (UCUDAL) and Ph.D. Researcher at the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) <>. She was a Senior Expert on International Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs at Deutsche Telekom AG, Vice Chair of the Committee on Information, Computer and Communications Policy and Proxy to the Vice Chair of the Competition Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). DOI: 10.21552/estal/2017/2/7


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