Ivančica Urh works as a Head of the Electronic Communications Department at the Croatian Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure. She holds a M.E.E. degree from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing of University of Zagreb and Univ. Spec. degree for electronic communications market regulation. Her career in telecom industry started in 1991 at Croatian Telekom as a senior specialist for mobile communications and as International roaming manager. She joined the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure in 2005 at the beginning of the negotiations for accession of Croatia to the EU. In the past fourteen years, she worked on improvement of electronic communications legal and regulatory framework. As a Head of Department, she is also responsible for development and implementation of the National Broadband Strategy and coordination of the national framework programmes for broadband infrastructure deployment. She is the President of the Croatian Post Supervisory Board.
Mart Võrklaev has been the mayor of the Rae parish, one of the fastest growing municipalities in Estonia, since 2012. He is also a member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2015. During this time he has adopted two opinions: “A review of the telecom package” and “Boosting broadband connectivity in Europe”. Mr Võrklaev is also a member of the Broadband Platform, which was launched jointly by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions in 2017, that helps high-speed broadband reach all regions of Europe. In Rae Municipality, under the leadership of Mr Võrklaev, an emphasis has been placed on developing e-services and building good IT infrastructure for all educational institutions such as kindergartens and schools. Over the past years, almost all of the schools and kindergartens in the municipality have been connected to the fibre-optic network established by the Estonian state with the support from the European Regional Development Fund. This network provides high-speed and high-quality Internet connections to the educational institutions.
Dr. Koen Salemink is an assistant professor at the University of Groningen, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, focusing on rural geography, digitalisation and community development. He has monitored and studied the developments of rural broadband initiatives since 2012, particularly the interaction between market players, various levels of government, and local communities. He is involved in a project “CORA - Connecting remote areas with digital infrastructure & services” and several other Interreg projects that deal with digitalisation in rural areas. Over the years, Mr Salemink has advised a variety of ministries and governmental agencies, as well as local initiatives. His research has been published in various international peer-reviewed academic journals, such as Journal of Rural Studies and Telecommunications Policy.
Maija Ahokas works as a Director of Networks Regulation Unit, Networks Department at the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland. The Networks Department is responsible for matters relating to networks and channels used for transporting people, goods, services, information and data as well as network markets; coordination of land use, housing, services and business operations with networks; environmental issues and climate policy; energy issues and propulsion systems; guidance and management regarding mobility and network use; spectrum policy; operating licences for the construction and use of networks; consumer aspects regarding networks and internet governance. Ms Ahokas served in several different ministries before joining the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2010. Before the current position, Ms Ahokas worked as a Director in the Ministry´s Services Department. Ms Ahokas holds a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Helsinki.
Konstantinos Champidis is the Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Digital Governance in Greece. Mr Champidis served as the first Chief Digital Officer of Athens and was responsible for the digital transformation of the city, from 2017 until 2019. Before this, Konstantinos spent two years as a special advisor to the Mayor of Athens. After a successful career in the private sector as an independent engineer, Mr Champidis, released the first Digital Roadmap that includes all the digital initiatives of Athens.
The European Broadband Awards 2019
The finalists of the European Broadband Awards 2019 will be announced on the Broadband Europe website and newsletter in October. The winners (one per category) will be announced and awarded by the European Commissioners at the Award Ceremony on 2 December and showcased at the Broadband Day 2019 in Brussels on 3 November. The winners and the finalists will also be displayed in the good practice database of Broadband Europe.