Troyan is a captivating Bulgarian municipality, located in the heart of the Lovech region at the northern foot of Troyan-Kalofer Mountain. Famous for its parks and stunning landscapes, the city is home to some 29,000 people and attracts tourists and hikers all year round. With a brand-new EUR 15,000 WiFi4EU voucher from the European Commission in tow, the municipality now has its eyes set on delivering high-speed connectivity, expanded network coverage, and new e-services.
Troyan is among the 113 Bulgarian municipalities to receive a voucher under the WiFi4EU programme, which enjoys success across the country thanks to the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications. The ministry has been proactive in raising awareness across municipalities and encouraging them to apply to the European Commission’s initiative. Seeking to learn more about Troyan’s plans to improve connectivity, the WiFi4EU team sat down with its Mayor – Mrs. Donka Mihaylova – who revealed that the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, Information Technology, and Communications played a pivotal role in galvanizing local support for the initiative.
“[The Ministry] gave us an opportunity for questions and answers, and this is how the information reached us,” said Mihaylova. The experienced Mayor saw an opportunity to continue the municipality’s hard-earned momentum in improving e-services for its citizens through the WIFi4EU programme, foreseeing the creation of “alternative opportunities” and greater “comfort for them to connect with [their local government] online.” As a result of its efforts, the municipality is now recognized in the region as a leader in digital governance and services.
Troyan already features several free Wi-Fi areas, and now plans to leverage its WiFi4EU voucher to cover focal places across the municipality that deliver improved service to the citizens who need it most. Public playgrounds teeming with parents – as well as larger villages and suburbs where free Wi-Fi has yet to take hold – are but a few of the priorities on the Mayor’s radar. The municipality is also planning to open a local tax portal to allow citizens to pay and manage their taxes electronically, in what is the latest testament to WiFi4EU’s ability to facilitate the e-governance transition.
“This investment will be returned in the form of satisfaction of our citizens, opportunities for development of the local businesses and tourism, as well as opportunities for the young people to rediscover the world”, according to the Mayor. The benefits of the WiFi4EU are indeed multifaceted. Through the provision of free Wi-Fi connectivity, the initiative wishes to facilitate the digitalization of public service, promote intergenerational dialogue, and upgrade tourism, ultimately allowing citizens and visitors of all ages to benefit from more resources and choice.
As the installation process continues and the network starts taking form, Mayor Mihaylova is keen to spread the word and share Troyan’s success story: “I want to motivate all my colleagues from other EU member states to apply to join the network in the future”.