All hooked up to broadband in Rhône-Alpes

The ADN (Ardèche Drôme Numérique) project has connected 96% of the population (360 000 homes) in the Ardèche and Drôme Departments to broadband internet, marking a major step forward into the digital age.

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Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.

With 2 000 km of fibre optic cable laid, the project looks set to make the departments more attractive for businesses, offering high-quality internet services, access to general online services, and better public services for all, alongside a more innovative and competitive business environment.

From digital discrimination to cohesion

The organisation behind this project is the ADN Joint Syndicate, made up of the Ardèche General Council and the Drôme General Council, with support from the Rhône-Alpes Region. The project stemmed from the need to combat internet access discrimination, particularly in less densely populated areas where profits are lower for service providers. Such areas often have little or no access to internet services or have to pay much higher costs for access.

Prior to the project launch, only 188 000 homes in the area were connected to broadband; as a result of the ADN project, this figure is now 360 000. Broadband internet is also now available to 2 000 businesses and 11 000 social housing places.  The network itself covers 214 telephone exchanges, 243 business zones, and the metropolitan networks of Valence, Romans and Rovaltain. About 500 public buildings, including department sites, educational institutions and health establishments are also benefiting from new fibre optic connections.

This progress has made a significant contribution to territorial cohesion and social cohesion in the region, with greater access to new services for those living or working in isolated areas, notably in terms of health, culture, education, training, security, public services and social networking.

Embracing the modern business world

By being connected, the project is helping the region to become more attractive to businesses by making the information society more accessible to people and businesses and also by promoting the creation and growth of businesses working in the knowledge economy field and supporting long-term job creation. ADN is providing an added boost to the competitiveness of local businesses, with networking made easier, particularly for those involved in research and development programmes. The introduction of new work methods, such as working from home, also offers businesses and employees added flexibility and options.

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