“Broadband Network Development in White Rural Areas” is one of the five winners of the European Broadband Awards 2017. This large scale EU funded project helped deploying broadband in rural areas of Greece. It provided connectivity to more than half a million people in white areas. The total cost of the project is EUR 199.7 million (of which EUR 143.8 million from EU Structural Funds).

Illustration of the good practice Broadband Network Development in White Rural Areas of Greece

High-capacity networks reached remote and disadvantaged areas of Greece.

Closing the “broadband gap”

“Broadband Network Development in White Rural Areas” is the winner in the Category 3: Territorial cohesion in rural and remote areas. The project provides broadband infrastructure coverage and affordable connectivity services, to the citizens of remote, disadvantageous and border areas of Greece that were deprived of a connection to the digital world. This is a national initiative supported by EU funds and implemented via a Public-Private Partnership. Thanks to this project, high-capacity networks reached remote areas, where the private providers alone would not invest due to lack of commercial interest in providing services to only 6% of the country’s population. The project developed a broadband infrastructure network that covers white rural areas located in the northern, central and southern regions of Greece, covering almost 45% of the Greek territory in terms of geographical coverage.

The project included the development of broadband network infrastructure (passive & active elements), in order to provide the full bundle of wholesale access and services. In order to ensure a future-proof, scalable solution, technologies of Fibre and Wireless Backhauling, Wireless and VDSL Access were selected. The Bandwidth level of 30 Mbps or higher in some of the areas will gradually expand to all areas after re-investment takes place in subsequent years of operational period.The network has the capacity to offer two different services, in terms of quality to the end-users (via the service provider of their choice). The network offers the capacity of 50Mbps/30Mbps with 1:5 contention ratio, 98,75% availability, for the Class A service, and 30Mbps/4Mbps with 1:20 contention ratio, 98,75% availability, for the Class B service.

The total cost for the implementation of the project is EUR 199.7 million (of which EUR 143.8 million from EU Structural Funds), whereas the cost for the operation period (including re-investments) is funded by private funds.

What was achieved?

The network covers 5.077 villages and 525.287 inhabitants of rural mountainous and insular areas of the country. The benefits of ubiquitous access to the network in these areas improved life, work and communication in these areas and, among the most important, improved quality of the digital services such as e-government, e-health and e-skills. That increased public sector’s productivity, available both to the citizens and to enterprises.

These high capacity networks contribute to the provision of means for tele-working, cloud computing storage, strengthening of intra-community relationships and fostering competition in the telecom market. Furthermore, there was a reduction of travel expenses that contributes to lower carbon emissions and to wider energy efficiency. These factors play an important role for the environmental sustainability. 

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