The Generalitat has begun a round of meetings with the municipalities of the Valencian Community at risk of depopulation, with the aim of carrying out a study of broadband coverage to identify new areas without coverage and plan future actions. The study is a joint initiative of the General Directorate of the Valencian Anti-Depopulation Agenda, the Department of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society, through the general directions for the Fight against the Digital Divide and for the Advancement of the Digital Society, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Model.
Specifically, the study will be carried out by the latter, through a team made up of technicians from the General Directorate of Information Technologies and Communications (DGTIC), who will collect the information directly from the municipalities and verify the real broadband coverage.
The round of informative meetings will allow the DGTIC, via videoconference, collect the initial information from those responsible for the technical teams of each municipality. In addition, they will be informed of the object and procedure of the study.
Subsequently, the DGTIC will initiate field visits to check the actual coverage in each area and ensure that there are no areas without coverage that have not been identified by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.
The general director of Information and Communication Technologies, José Manuel García Duarte, explained that “the objective is to collect as much real information as possible about the coverage of each of these municipalities in order to be able to contrast it with that of the Ministry and identify areas where there is no coverage and know for sure what concrete actions it is necessary to carry out “.
“The study”, he continued, “is a fundamental tool that will allow us to work directly on those previously unidentified areas, so that they can be included in the annual planning as eligible for PEBA aid aimed at promoting investment by operators in broadband in Spain “.
Depopulation and digital divide
For her part, the general director for the Fight against the Digital Divide, María Muñoz, explained that despite the fact that the deployment of broadband in the Valencian Community is above the Spanish average, currently 12.8 percent of the population does not have access to networks with minimum speed of 100 megabits per second, 20 percent of the Valencian population does not have access to a computer at home and 32.8 percent of the population declares that they have low digital skills.
For this reason, he stressed that “without a doubt, we must continue working so that innovation and technology are an engine of opportunity for the entire territory.”
In addition, he added that digitization is considered essential in the fight against depopulation, especially to retain and attract young people to rural areas, “for this reason, from the Ministry of Innovation we work to reduce the digital divide within our Community, through knowledge, the opening of rural areas to connectivity and training in digital skills “.
This collaboration between the Generalitat and the city councils, which began in 2017, seeks to bring broadband to the entire territory of the Valencian Community, as it is an essential tool for social and territorial structuring and as an engine for change in the economic model.
The Generalitat, with these actions, wants to concentrate its efforts on those municipalities at risk of depopulation and for this and due to the requirements established by European and Spanish legislation in this area, it is necessary that the areas of each municipality be unequivocally identified who do not have broadband coverage nor are they expected to have it in 3 years.
Municipalities and citizens can consult the areas declared ‘white’ or without coverage in 2020 in the Generalitat Cartography Viewer (check here), in the ‘Infrastructures-Telecommunications’ layer.
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