The Djursland International Institute of Rural Wireless Broadband (DIIRWB) was created in order to pass on the experiences and knowledge acquired from building DjurslandS.net, a huge non-commercial wireless landscapenet run by rural people themselves. In a rural area of 300 km², the landscape is now covered by 300 overlapping radio nodes. Due to antenna amplification, each can be reached from settlements at distances up to 5 km.
Landkreis Rotenburg-Wümme and its municipalities installed a user-friendly web-enabled software solution aimed at registering new start-up businesses. The objectives were to avoid redundant data and have all business registration data stored on a server in one central database. The data collected by the municipalities is transmitted via internal glass fiber network to that server. Depending on different user rights, every authority involved in the business registration workflow is able to see and use the data. External authorities get access via a secure internet interface.
A germany county council transfers major responsabilities to a remotely located municipality. The new service aims at offering a wider range of better services as well as at saving in driving distances and time. Again, data transmission goes via fibreoptics from city hall to county hall, where data is processed and stored centrally. The new municipal car-registration service started to work in August 2006, the take-up amongst the political committees and the citizens has been very good.
In 2005 a glass fibre connection between Rotenburg and Bothel was established. This laid the basis for a new generation of government-to-government services built upon shared databases. The construction of the connection triggered a political decision to create a fibre optic network which connects all town halls and the county hall and consequently enables every municipality to participate in e-government projects and services. All participating towns are able to access business databases, web services and the GII technology.
Physical access issues, such as insufficient computing and telecommunications infrastructure, high costs or unreliable services tend to produce digital divides. To overcome social, cultural, educational, and spatial isolation, the city of Kortrijk/Courtrai has put 8 public internet access points into service in the city centre as well as in the surrounding rural communities. Being a multifunctional and secure platform, PIAPs give citizens the opportunity to consult digital services in their own community for free. The applications offered on the platform are highly accessible.
Norfolk was one of the last areas in the UK to have its exchanges enabled for ADSL. However work had identified considerable demand for broadband from the Norwich area in particular as there are a high concentration of creative sector and knowledge companies. Norfolk Open Link is a £1.35m two-year pilot project to evaluate the impact that mobile technology could have on economic development in Norfolk and the delivery of public services. It provides a broadband wireless network covering a large area of Norwich City centre and key locations in the rural district of South Norfolk.
The South Estonian Hospital provides healthcare for the county's inhabitants, but also some services for the whole region (South-East of Estonia). The hospital has initiated a 'Radiological Info System (RIS) of South-Estonian Hospital' project. An RIS-system that makes digital x-rays and sends them to the hospital for radiologists to analyze. Doctors give an answer and then send pictures to a digital archive. Doctors have access to the archives and they can look at the x-rays without having the patient physically present.
The idea for the European Media and Broadband Center has been developed within the BIRD project. The aim is to support the learning process of students in the ICT and Media sector by working closely together with companies in these sectors. Students are confronted with ‘real-life’ tasks and have to come up with results in interdisciplinary teams. The companies have the opportunity to find the talents they need.
In rural areas, the lack of broadband access results in competitive disadvantages for the business community and enormous educational and informational disadvantages for the people in these areas. Efa shows that it is possible to provide rural areas with broadband internet access using standard technologies, even when the major internet providers on the market show little goodwill in this regard.
While large-scale enterprises have already completely transferred to broadband, local area networks and many small and medium sized enterprises often still have to catch up with developments. Rural areas in particular are not completely covered by broadband infrastructures. In our digital economy the absence of broadband internet means a significant location disadvantage which finally can lead to a decrease of business tax payers as well as a decrease in employment in the communes.