Nestled in the heart of the Lucca plain, the Italian municipality of Capannori is known for its striking architectural features spread over the vast territory. The 40 frazioni that make up the municipality are dotted with medieval towers, luxurious gardens and Renaissance villas, attracting tourists and art lovers of all ages. Tourism, cultural heritage and revitalisation of rural areas are among the priorities that the Local Council is planning to connect and strengthen through the EUR 15,000 WiFi4EU voucher from the European Commission.
Capannori is among the 224 Italian municipalities to receive a voucher under the WiFi4EU programme, where Italy boasts record-breaking participation. During the first call in November 2018, Italy reached the maximum number of vouchers within the first 2 seconds! Carlota Reyners Fontana, Head of Unit of B.5 Investments in High Capacity networks in DG CONNECT, met with Matteo Francesconi, member of Capannori Local Council, to learn more about their plans to improve and expand the local Wi-Fi network to cover the vast territory and provide citizens and tourists with high-speed connectivity.
The municipality already features several free Wi-Fi hotspots, as part of a project that aims at bringing free internet access to all 40 hamlets, which are very spread out due to the configuration of the territory. The wish to connect remote areas and the increasing demand for internet access in public spaces made WiFi4EU an “opportunity not to be missed”, explained Francesconi. Thanks to the WiFi4EU voucher, the local network will be improved and new hotspots will be installed in external and internal public spaces where citizens of all ages can meet, read, study and work. “Citizens and tourists have the right to a good and easily accessible internet connection”, said the councillor.
Not only Capannori recognises access to internet as a right, but also as an opportunity to simplify administrative procedures and services through digital tools. As explained by Francesconi, “We often hear the phrase ‘the municipality must be close to the citizens’. Closeness can sometimes mean simplicity and usability of service”. Thanks to the variety of e-services Capannori is planning to offer and the free Wi-Fi network made available across the territory, the town hall will be only one click away.
WiFi4EU is bringing citizens closer to the municipality, and municipalities closer to the European Union: “We think [the WiFi4EU initiative] is a step to connect even the most remote territories - not only the big cities and metropolises - to the concept of Europe, to the concept of Union between countries and communities”. For this and many more reasons, the municipality of Capannori is keen to spread the word and encourage other Italian and European municipalities to apply to this “simple and concrete initiative” that is WiFi4EU.