The winners of the European Broadband Awards 2019 were announced at the special Award Ceremony on the 2nd of December in Brussels. The Director General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology Roberto Viola announced 5 project winners in the different categories focusing on innovative models of financing, cost reduction, socio-economic impact, demand generation and quality of services. The winners also presented their projects during the der “Broadband Day: Boosting Connectivity Investments“ Conference in Brussels on 3rd of December.

Following the success of previous years, projects from all over Europe applied for the European Broadband Awards 2019. The projects were evaluated by an independent jury of experts who selected the finalists and the five winners. The selected projects present innovative cooperative approaches and solutions for broadband deployment in Europe:

Category 1. Innovative models of financing, business and investment

RuNe is the first project to be financed by the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund (CEBF). It is a cross-border project in Slovenia and Croatia, connecting 340,000 homes exclusively in rural areas, with speeds of 1 Gbps through an open-access fibre network. The project covers areas where the average population density is 36 inhabitants per square kilometre, but goes as deep as three inhabitants per square kilometre.

Category 2. Cost reduction measures and co-investment

The PRIP-2 project, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, enabled Lithuania to construct about 342 kilometers of fiber optic cables in unsupplied areas and connect more than 400 agricultural sector objects to the existing infrastructure. PRIP-2 encouraged operators to invest in the “last mile” infrastructure and provide quality services.

Category 3. Socio-economic impact in rural and remote areas

The Basque Government, in conjunction with the three Provincial Councils of the region, launched a series of ultrafast broadband extension aids for private operators. The main objective of this project was to expand ultrafast broadband services in to rural areas where the deployment of these networks is infeasible in itself. These programmes reduce the gap between rural and urban areas in terms of connectivity, helping to stop the relocation of businesses and rural flight.

Category 4. Demand generation and take-up of connectivity

The Sarantaporo.gr core team in collaboration with the local community designed and deployed the Sarantaporo.gr Wireless Community Network, which has expanded to 11 villages in the region. This has provided opportunities for developing the local economy, improving the quality of life for local communities, as well as reducing the migration of young people into urban centres.

Category 5. Quality and affordability of services

Communications and broadband provider KCOM embarked on a major programme of infrastructure investment to bring ultrafast full fibre broadband (using Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology) to its entire network in Hull and East Yorkshire. As a result of this project Hull and East Yorkshire now has a 100% FTTP coverage. Access to ultrafast connectivity has contributed to Hull being identified as one of the UK’s fastest-growing tech hubs in annual reports by Tech Nation.

The highest number of applications came from Germany and the UK. The majority of projects applied in category 3 “Socio-economic impact in rural and remote areas”.

The winners of the European Broadband Awards 2019 were honoured in a special ceremony in the evening of the 2nd of December in Brussels. The Director General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology Roberto Viola hosted the ceremony. The next day, “Broadband Day: Boosting Connectivity Investments“ took place and offered a unique opportunity for the winner projects to share their experience beyond borders. All conference participants had the chance to network with the representatives of the projects highlighted as best practices in Europe. Participants took an active part in the forum of the main actors involved in regulation, financing and broadband deployment across Europe.

In 2019 and 2020, the projects will be featured on DG CONNECT webpages, in newsletters and will be displayed in the good practice database of Broadband Europe.

atene KOM GmbH facilitates the awards, organises the process and supports the EU Commission as well as applicants in all stages.