Historically known as the cradle of Western civilization, Greece is a multifaceted country, at the crossroads between modern and classic. To preserve and promote its incomparable cultural heritage, Greece has developed a strategy for digital transformation that aims at improving all aspects of daily life and bringing the past into the future through innovative digital tools. Thanks to the commitment of the national government and the funds granted by the WiFi4EU initiative, Greek local authorities have been able to boost connectivity by installing public Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces.
Eager to fast-track digital transformation, Greek municipalities have shown incredible enthusiasm for WiFi4EU, which enjoys record-boasting success in the country. During the four WiFi4EU calls, 312 out of 326 municipalities have been granted a EUR 15,000 voucher to install hotspots, meaning that 96% of the eligible entities in the country will benefit from free public connectivity thanks to the project. The WiFi4EU hotspots have been crucial to upgrade the services available to citizens and visitors and grant access to internet to everyone, regardless of age and income. As explained by the Mayor of Tinos, WiFi4EU has given the municipalities “the possibility to provide high-speed connectivity, which will be accessible to all categories of the population, something that in some Greek provinces is still difficult to implement due to lack of infrastructure”. Similarly, in Thermaikos, WiFi4EU came as a perfect complement to the municipality’s strategy: “One of the main priorities of our plan is the upgrade of the infrastructures that have to do with the digital services of both the residents and the visitors. WiFi4EU helped us move faster and more efficiently in the implementation of our digital plan”, revealed the ICT Manager. According to the Mayor of Skiathos, WiFi4EU is contributing to the attainment of “a better quality of life for residents and visitors, a higher attractiveness for industry and talent, an environmentally conscious focus on sustainability”.
In Greece, the tourism industry has especially benefitted from free connectivity, which has made it easier for travellers to find their way around the islands and enjoy the variety of activities that the country has to offer. As explained by the IC Manager of Thermaikos, “visitors always have a great need to have access to the internet so that they can access information about where they are, where they need to go, and generally feel safe. What we are trying to achieve is the sense of security that comes with the possibility of connectivity for everyone”. Thanks to the European Commission funded network, tourists are now able to access free internet in some of the most popular summer destinations, such as the islands of Santorini, Skopelos and Aegina. Among other historical sites, WiFi4EU is also bringing connectivity to the 14th-century Venetian harbour in Chania and to the 15th-century Castle in the sandy island of Kos, where visitors can appreciate the cultural heritage after a day by the sea. From the rocky mountains of the Balkan Peninsula to the breath-taking islands in the Aegean Sea, WiFi4EU is connecting communities in all parts of the country.