Experimenting with the idea of municipal provision of sophisticated Internet services, European researchers have come up with some very promising results that were positively received by all municipalities involved in the trials.
When it concludes at the end of the year, the IST-funded VisionAIR project will have successfully completed over six months of trials of Internet services provided by European municipalities. Although the idea of public Internet services might sound slightly anachronistic in these days of free market ideology, Vassilis Nellas, technical coordinator of VisionAIR, points out that they can be an essential way to ‘seed’ advanced technological infrastructure. “While businesses will provide the services in big cities, in isolated areas of Southern Europe for example, it is not yet commercially interesting for them to do so,” he explains. “In places like these, municipalities can lead the way in offering broadband services from a social, rather than commercial, point of view. Indeed, the example of Northern Europe shows that, when a public investment has been made in broadband, commercial investment follows.”
VisionAIR targeted homes (between 30 and 40 households) in each of four cities in different areas of Europe: Bari, in Puglia, Italy; Amaroussion in Greece (now well-known as an Olympic location); Bremen in Northern Germany; and Eindhoven in The Netherlands.
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