On 14 November, Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society awarded the winners of the 2016 European Broadband Awards competition. The five projects were selected in different categories focusing on innovative models of financing, cost reduction, affordability, competition or quality of service. Some of the projects focus on rural broadband connectivity, while some have wider scale and cover regions or even their whole country. The winners will be serving as exemplary projects for anyone planning broadband development in Europe.

Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society said:

"Our ambition is to have gigabit connectivity, 5G and better internet in rural areas. Today I am awarding the best European Broadband projects of 2016. The success of achieving the previous broadband targets only encourages us to raise the bar and jump higher. I would like to encourage to continue working to make gigabit reality as early as possible."

The five winners were selected from the 66 projects from all over Europe. Following the award ceremony, Commissioner Oettinger will take part in a Broadband day in Brussels on 15 November, a conference gathering various stakeholders working on broadband development. This is the first conference on broadband following the launch of the new European strategy for a Gigabit society and the legislative proposals for the telecom review (see IP/16/3008).

The detailed programme of the conference can be found here. The video interviews with the five winners, the complete video from the Award Ceremony of the European Broadband Awards 2016 and the selected photographs are available online. Learn more about the winning projects below.

Category 1: Innovative models of financing, business and investment

  • Construction of the Wielkopolska Broadband Network (Poland)

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    The construction of the Wielkopolska Broadband Network assisted in improving the region’s competitiveness, reduced economic migration of younger people and made it possible to build a knowledge-based economy. This project was co-financed (85%) by the European Union through the European Regional Funds (ERDF). This project is a good example of successful implementation of managing EU Structural Funds, private and regional funding together. The infrastructure that was put in place is open for all operators. Learn more from the video interview with the project.

Category 2: Cost reduction and co-investment

  • Net4all - Public and private partnership to bring UBB network to industrial areas in digital divide in Emilia-Romagna (Italy)

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    The region Emilia-Romagna invests in the creation of a UBB (Ultra-Broadband) network serving public administration and private enterprises through the Net4all project. It is based on reuse of existing passive public infrastructure and a public private partnership (co-investing enterprises) to build new networks. This is a successful example of public and private investment collaboration bringing revenue and value. Learn more from the video interview with the project.

Category 3: Socio-economic impact and affordability

  • Glasvezel De Wolden - FibreOptic De Wolden (Netherlands)

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    FibreOptic is a bottom up, community driven, for-the-people-by-the-people style initiative. A super-fast fibre optic network was built by local private companies, energy companies and municipalities, connecting every single home and company in the municipality. The initiative was funded by local businesses, local municipal government and a government loan. FibreOptic is a clear community project with and impressive impact that brings connectivity to every citizen. Learn more from the video interview with the project.

Category 4: Openness and competition

  • nöGIG (Austria)

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    This 3 layer open project has public entities in the driving seat and is set on establishing an open, public infrastructure in underserved rural areas. nöGIG GmbH, a public authority coordinates planning and construction. The Broadband Coordination of Lower Austria (BBK) is in charge of the broadband strategy and allocation of public financial resources. Municipalities, private companies and service providers have cooperated to make this a successful open and public model. Learn more from the video interview with the project.

Category 5: Future-proof and quality of service

  • RemIX: A Distributed Internet Exchange for Remote and Rural Networks (UK)

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    The RemIX project focuses on bringing change through affordable technical solutions. It adopts familiar components, standards and technologies, to fit within the target environment, and allows for easy transfer of the model. It is a technically exciting project with an innovative approach. Learn more from the video interview with the project.