Hampshire, 3 November 2015, Conference on Public Sector Innovation
Before it was roads, then electricity and now it is fiber and broadband connectivity – goes the common saying. Digitalisation of our lives is moving ahead as do discussions on how to best ensure access and usability for everyone. Yet, whereas it might not be a big issue in towns and cities, it is a major issue for rural areas. Thus, how do you attract investments into fiber broadband when there is not many users around -asks Brigitte Sacredeus, politician from Dalarna region, a place in Sweden where rural can mean only one person per square kilometer. Using public money, be it regional, national or EU money is one way to go, yet, it is also interesting to attract local entrepreneurs and businesses. “If we want to be part of the information society or the digitalisation of Europe, it is important to see it as important as electricity, roads, telephone or sewage treatment, concludes Asko Peltola from Finish South -Ostrobothnia region. According to him broadband is a must for rural areas as it increases the competitiveness, attractiveness and accessibilitit of rural areas. “But”, he concludes, “we have to do it ourselves”. Therefore, Ostrobothnia has adopted two main strategies bringing Fiber To The Home FTTH and ensuring Open Access. Whereas Western European regions are building on existing structures, Romanian regions can benefit from making everything new. And not as a surprise, you find the fastest internet connections in Romanian regions.
Yet, while everyone talked about fiber, another question slowly emerged in the room, what will happen after fiber broadband? What is coming next?