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Thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, Catalonia built a fibre backbone to connect over 400 government and local administration sites across the region. By offering the network’s extra capacity to the market, this ‘open network’ allows local operators to compete to use the infrastructure and deploy services to under-served rural areas. “We have generated an ecosystem of over 80 local operators to promote competence and competitiveness in these local areas with very high-quality services”, explains David Ferrer, Catalonian’s Secretary of Digital Policies, in this video interview.
In this video, Jouke Velstra, Director and Senior Consultant at Acacia Water, explains how the EU-funded ‘Farmers measure water’ project combines high-speed rural broadband and state-of-the-art sensors to help farmers and water authorities in the Netherlands to better manage water usage in the face of climate change. Through rapidly relaying data on soil moisture, temperature and salinity, farmers and water authorities work together to keep crops healthy, improve water and soil quality, and reduce water waste.
Bavaria’s State aid scheme is bringing gigabit-capable infrastructure to businesses, households, hospitals, educational and public institutions, in more than 420 rural municipalities. The scheme aims to bring Bavaria’s overall high-speed broadband coverage to 99%, with gigabit access throughout Bavaria by 2025. For rural areas, State funding has improved coverage (of at least 30 Mbps) from 27% to over 92% in the last seven years, notes Bavarian State Minister for Finance and Regional Identity, Albert Füracker, in this video interview.
The projects applying for the European Broadband Awards 2021 will be assessed by a jury composed of five European broadband experts with comprehensive experience. The jury will select the finalists and the winners in each of the five award categories. The jury members are: Per-Olof Gustafsson from Sweden, Ferenc Kneisz from Hungary, Filip Meuris from Belgium, Eglė Misienė from Lithuania and Nicos Ioannou from Cyprus.
Litovel, a hidden gem of Moravia located about 200 km east of Prague, is one of 312 municipalities that has used a WiFi4EU voucher in Czechia, demonstrating great dedication to the country’s recently approved strategy for digital transformation (under the name of Digitální Česko, Digital Czechia).
Mountain regions have much to gain from digitalisation and broadband connectivity. There is great potential for Smart Villages, SMEs, and access to online services in healthcare, education and much more. Mountain communities, however, face greater obstacles than most in becoming full participants in the European Union’s Digital Decade. Their remoteness, in terms of distance and topography, combined with smaller populations, make them technically and financially challenging to reach with broadband infrastructure.
“Spain is the first European country to develop a broadband scheme for grey areas with a geographical scope covering all the nation” states Elena Galindo from Spain’s Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda, in this video. Ms Galindo, representing Spain’s national Broadband Competence Office, explains that the scheme is needed as approximately “8-10% of the population living in isolated rural and remote areas could not be covered with fast broadband”. It aims to cover 3.5 million people, of which 430,000 in grey areas, with minimum speeds of 300 Mbps symmetrical, upgradeable to 1 Gbps.