How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
My list

Author | Arantxa Herranz

The massification of cities and the abandonment of rural areas is a widely explored phenomenon and for which solutions are being sought. Perhaps it is the cause or perhaps the effect, but the truth is that one consequence of this population transfer is that large investments, including technological investments, often concentrate in these large cities, with the subsequent risk of generating an urban-rural digital divide. In fact, this is one of the objectives of the FAO, to close the Internet connectivity gap that exists between rural areas and urban areas.

However, size should not matter when it comes to enjoying a digital life, the same as having access to other basic services such as water or electricity. Therefore, the European Union launched the WIFI4EU programme, with the aim of ensuring that the digital gap between large cities and smaller and more disperse towns does not get any wider.

What is WiFi4EU? It is a European programme via which town councils can ask for subsidies so that their public spaces (such as parks, squares, official buildings, libraries, health centres and museums) not only have a Wi?Fi connection but high?quality Wi?Fi. The aim? For all citizens to have access to that connectivity, regardless of where they are or where they live.

It is worth pointing out that, according to the objectives of the Digital Agenda, all Europeans should have access to high speed Internet (with a minimum of 30 Mbps). Furthermore, the goal is for half the population to be able to access broadband internet services delivering speeds in excess of 100 Mbps.

It is not just feast or famine

According to EU figures, last year alone, over 20,000 municipalities applied to receive help from the WiFi4EU programme, although these subsidies were finally granted to 5,180 municipalities in the 30 countries that form part of the Union.

When a town council receives these subsidies (the WiFi4EU budget is 120 million euros between 2018 and 2020), it also undertakes to ensure that the Wi-Fi access points that are installed (the acquisition and installation of which is the responsibility of these European subsidies)are operational for at least three years. Furthermore, they must make sure the connection is always as fast as possible (exceeding that threshold of 30 Mbps).

WiFi4EU awards each town council 15,000 euros and the municipal authorities are responsible for deciding the areas of public life in which these wireless access points will be installed.

Villarcayo de Merindad de Castilla La Vieja, an award-winning project

As we said, all the European Union countries have benefited from the granting of these subsidies. In Spain, a project received an award in the 2019 National Congress of Innovation for Public Administrations for converting a town into a real Smart City. The town in question is Villarcayo de Merindad de Castilla La Vieja, in Burgos. A town with just 4,000 inhabitants, which sees its population grow five-fold during the summer months.

Thanks to the European initiative, Villarcayo de Merindad has gone from not even having ADSL or 4G in some of its districts to enjoying free and quality Internet access. It is also worth pointing out that, it is not only this town that has benefited from the subsidies, 26 districts that depend on this town have too. Which was a real challenge in itself.

In order to allow all the inhabitants of these 26 towns to enjoy Internet access, 42 Wi-Fi access points have been installed (35 indoor and 7 outdoor). Most of them are located in the town councils of the districts for two reasons. On the one hand, this is where residents tend to gather and, secondly, they tend to be very centrally located, facilitating Internet connectivity even when the town councils are closed.

This town council also has an electronic office, enabling a number of procedures to be carried out online, which is an example that being a Smart City does not depend on the size of the town, but rather the determination to be digital.

Images | M. R., John Reed, paolo candelo

Related content
Proprietary or open-source software? Arguments in favor and against
Proprietary or open-source software? Arguments in favor and against
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x01: Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x01: Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Smart AMB: can data lead us to deliver better urban services?
Smart AMB: can data lead us to deliver better urban services?
A New Space For Mayors. Bloomberg to Fund Harvard Center for Cities
A New Space For Mayors. Bloomberg to Fund Harvard Center for Cities
Barcelona Provincial Council: this is how a smart region works
Barcelona Provincial Council: this is how a smart region works
PODCAST 1x01 - Are our cities more resilient than ever?
PODCAST 1x01 - Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
Pontus Westerberg, UN-Habitat:
Pontus Westerberg, UN-Habitat: "People need to be allowed to offer their own solutions to the problems in the places in which they live"
How and why do cities die?
How and why do cities die?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Smart cities that failed along the way
Smart cities that failed along the way
Can technology foster democracy?
Can technology foster democracy?
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
What makes a city attractive to talent?
What makes a city attractive to talent?
Imec: Open digital twin framework
Imec: Open digital twin framework
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
Arca: Wave control for better health
Arca: Wave control for better health
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
Medellín: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
Medellín: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
Live
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
CIOs as linking pins: bridging IT and European digital policy for smart cities
Live
CIOs as linking pins: bridging IT and European digital policy for smart cities
Barcelona Smart Region: innovative projects to improve connectivity and sustainability
Barcelona Smart Region: innovative projects to improve connectivity and sustainability
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole: The New Smart Place
Live
Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole: The New Smart Place
City-states never disappeared: Hamburg, Hong Kong, Singapore
City-states never disappeared: Hamburg, Hong Kong, Singapore
G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance – Launching the Policy Roadmap
G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance – Launching the Policy Roadmap
Reinventing Cities with Technology after COVID-19 – Unpacking ideas from Japan
Reinventing Cities with Technology after COVID-19 – Unpacking ideas from Japan
AdvanGrid: Staying ahead in the energy transition
AdvanGrid: Staying ahead in the energy transition
Neareo: Powering QR codes
Neareo: Powering QR codes
People-focused Smart Cities: Urban Digital Transformation Working for the Benefit of All
People-focused Smart Cities: Urban Digital Transformation Working for the Benefit of All
Strengthening Metropolitan Governance
Strengthening Metropolitan Governance
Economic and social recovery leaving no one behind
Economic and social recovery leaving no one behind
Adopting Technologies Responsibly: a Global Policy Roadmap for Ethical Smart Cities
Adopting Technologies Responsibly: a Global Policy Roadmap for Ethical Smart Cities
Smart Villages & Territories
Smart Villages & Territories
The Global Voice of Cities
The Global Voice of Cities
Recommended profiles for you
Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
catarina amaro da costa
catarina amaro da costa
Ayuntamiento de Lisboa
designer
mr
mario regis
Abundance Program
Co-Founder, directory board
MZ
Miloslav ZEMAN
Ministry for regional development Czech Republic
Adviser of Ministry
fk
fuminori kobayashi
esrijapan
partner development
JH
Joe Hagi
Sagamihara city
Senior manager for Olympic & Paralympic promotion
PhDPizentsali Serhiy
PhDPizentsali Serhiy
1000 Year\'s Old Magdeburg Law Legendary City Central Ukraine Lubny International Ukrainian NGO Ics Paletcom Srl Letter Invitation please kindly send on Juridical Address : 65001,Central Moldova, Anenii Noi str.Psrcovaia,19
Mentor
Amar LAKEL
Amar LAKEL
Ubm
Professor
MA
Mohammad Ahmed
Concepts Unlimited
Managing Director
FG
Felipe Guzman
Alcaldía de Bogotá
High Councilor for ICT
aaguirreb16 Adrian Aguirre Barrionuevo
aaguirreb16 Adrian Aguirre Barrionuevo
Migrations office
Analyst
GN
Guido Napolitano
Municipalidad de Rosario
Coordinador de cultura del distrito norte de la ciudad de rosario
WC
Will Chantry
University College London
Final-year BA Geography student at UCL, London
Evangelos Kemos
Evangelos Kemos
Deloitte
Senior EU Account Officer
NE
Noah Englesson
Centerpartiet
Party member, elected official
BD
Braulio Antonio Diaz Castro
UCCI
Advisor to the DG on city networks, local diplomacy and cooperation
Pablo White
Pablo White
Goverment
Statistics cordinator
María García Pizarro
María García Pizarro
Unión Iberoamericana de Municipalistas
Vicesecretaria general
TJ
Tomasz Janos
Wroclaw Academic Hub, City of Wroclaw
Managing Director of Wroclaw Academic Hub
JB
José Carlos Bernal Rosales
UMB Tenango del Valle
Teacher
MP
Manuel Jesús Pérez Soto
Diputación de Granada
Policy officer/ Granada County Council

Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$