Koper (Capodistria in Italian) is a charming bilingual municipality located in the Istrian region, strategically nestled at crossroads of Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia. Home to the Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies, Koper is Slovenia’s largest coastal city and is considered an important research centre for biodiversity in both land and sea across the Adriatic area. The EUR 15,000 WiFi4EU voucher won during the first call has allowed the municipality to expand their public Wi-Fi network and improve the experience for citizens, researchers and visitors.
To learn more about Koper’s decision to apply for a voucher, the WiFi4EU team spoke with the Head of IT, Jadran Prodan, who revealed that the Slovenian Ministry of Public Administration and the Association of Urban Municipalities of Slovenia (ZMOS – Združenje mestnih občin Slovenije) played a pivotal role in galvanizing local support for the initiative by raising awareness across cities and encouraging them to apply to WiFi4EU.
The municipality of Koper already featured public Wi-Fi hotspots and found in WiFi4EU the opportunity to grow their digital offer and serve the population’s needs for more connectivity in public areas. The installation of the WiFi4EU hotspots was carried out between March and April, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Prodan, the public access points installed across the territory played an important rule during the pandemic: “The whole response during the crisis was very dependent on the availability of information, and we like to think that granting public access to means of information and communication, such as a freely available Wi-Fi network, was crucial”.
The twenty newly installed WiFi4EU hotspots are located throughout the municipality, mainly around points of interest and popular areas, such as the sports centres. The position of the access point was determined by the desire to provide free Wi-Fi in places where citizen and visitors most need it and expand the current network to cover most of the municipality. “The initiative has provided a mean to widen the network and provide wider service in the municipality”, explained Prodan.
Following the trend set by the national government, who has invested in a process of digitalisation of public services, Koper’s Local Council is eager to take advantage of the public network to develop digital services for its citizens. “The Municipality of Koper is set on developing a modern and efficient service, supported by modern technologies and digital solutions. A reliable public Wi-Fi network is undoubtedly one of the fundamental elements in creating accessibility to e-services and bring the institutions closer to the public”, commented Prodan, happy to be part of the WiFi4EU Community.