Ending the digital divide in Eastern Poland
Date: Mon, 08/22/2011 - 15:24
As result of an initiative of TP Group, Alcatel-Lucent and HAWE SA, a cooperation Agreement has been signed aiming at the development of broadband infrastructure in Poland. With the state of the art technology and know how, partners of the Agreement want to support local governments in planning and implementation of telecommunications infrastructure financed 100% from public funds, including 85% of EU funds
Maciej Witucki, President of the Board and CEO, TP Group
Image credited to TP Group
Poland faces ambitious challenges with respect to the implementation of the European Digital Agenda, which stipulates that by 2013 all EU citizens should have access to broadband internet, which access speed will rise in the next 7 years, until 2020, to at least 30 Mb/s for all households.
As part of the EU funds, Poland has been granted almost € 1.5 billion for the development of broadband infrastructure in 2007-2013, including 300 million for the program "Broadband Network for Eastern Poland" - the largest ICT project in Europe. So far only a small part of EU funds have been utilized in Poland.
For the first time Local Governments are responsible for such important and high-budget investment projects. EU's complex procedures, approaching deadline for implementation of projects and the threat of digital exclusion (concerning particularly Eastern Poland) are additional pressure factors on local representatives. The level of internet development in Poland depends largely on their effectiveness and efficient cooperation with telecommunication companies and relevant players in the ICT ecosystem.
Following the initiative of TP Group, Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext and NYSE: ALU) and HAWE SA, an Agreement has been signed, in which the signatories have the technological assets, professional experience in the telecommunications industry and knowledge of the specificity of the Polish market. The intention of the agreement is the cooperation with local governments in order to develop the broadband infrastructure in Poland; this will contribute to the implementation of the European Digital Agenda and eliminate the digital exclusion within the Eastern Polish region.
Priority task is to develop a model of EU funds absorption and implementation of ICT broadband projects, covering the phases of network design, construction and operation, addressing the needs of Eastern Poland “voivodships” (regional governments) and other selected regions in Poland.
The openness of telecommunication companies to cooperate with local government, to share know-how and experience to reach the common goal, represents a new model on the Polish market. The resulting initiative confirms the strategic interest of key telecommunications companies having the appropriate skills and assets to implement advanced infrastructure projects, aiming at the development of the information society and the related increase of the GDP through access to ICT services.