Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society said:
The projects we celebrate are excellent examples of how technology is bringing European citizens closer together. Every one of us should be part of our modern society. High quality broadband is essential for all Europeans to be able to enjoy its benefits
Category 1 winner: Innovative models of financing, business and investment
The project gained start-up capital from the local community. It provides broadband to a small region. Any profits generated by the broadband services are reinvested back into the services and infrastructure, or in further community-level projects, identified by the shareholders of the community interest company. This project is an excellent example in its pursuit of future-proof technology solutions.
Category 2 winner: Cost reduction and co-investment in a future proof infrastructure
The project replaced the old copper network with fibre and mobile networks in one Swedish municipality. As a result, Sunne municipality will, at the end of the project in January 2019, provide modern communication infrastructure to all local inhabitants with the possibility to get download speed up to 1 Gbps. Besides the infrastructure, the municipality and internet service provider Telia launched an educational initiative “More Digital”, - as a key part of helping seniors take their first steps to become digitally literate.
Category 3 winner: Territorial cohesion in rural and remote areas
This project covers the whole Poland, especially remote areas and those who do not have broadband at all. As a result, the schools in remote areas will be connected to the high-speed telecommunication services. Thus, the project provides new opportunities for work, communication, education and culture for citizens living in remote regions. It is an outstanding example of how EU funds can make a real difference to the lives of citizens.
Category 4 winner: Socio-economic impact and affordability
The project provided a high capacity network to the inhabitants of a very small island (110 houses) located in the UNESCO world heritage area in Denmark, Wadden Sea. The local community gathered a big interest in broadband penetration from the residents of the island. As a result, almost all houses in the island are connected to the network. The tourist industry now enjoys much better conditions for servicing visitors.
Category 5 winner: Openness and competition
The French Val d’Oise Ultra- Fast Broadband project, based on public funding, ensures that all housing, businesses and public sites in the Val d'Oise department have access to ultra-fast broadband services. Two private partners provide wholesale services to retail operators. It has a great social impact, as it directly contributes to eradicating the digital divide in this French Department by allowing to those living in rural areas access the ultrafast broadband. In addition, this access is at lower costs than they would get without this public initiative.