Croatia and Lithuania win the European Broadband Awards targeting rural areas

Two projects from Croatia and Lithuania won the European Broadband Awards, an annual event in which the European Commission recognises outstanding broadband deployment projects in Europe.

Croatia’s RUNE is the first case where a rural only, wholesale only, open access, active layer fibre infrastructure proved long-term sustainable and obtained private financing without any non-refundable, public grants.

It will guarantee broadband connections to 372,315 households, businesses and public institutions (which is 92 per cent of all households, businesses and public institutions in the targeted area) in deep rural areas of Slovenia and part of Croatia, where no other broadband infrastructure operator stated commercial interest. This will have a positive social and economic impact on the regions targeted by the project as it will stop depopulation flows, create new business opportunities, improve local education and healthcare services.

Lithuania’s project Support for broadband infrastructure – stage II (PRIP-2) aims to construct around 342.6 kilometres of optical fibre lines and to connect no less than 400 agricultural sector objects to existing infrastructure. After the creation of PRIP-2 broadband infrastructure, open wholesale access is provided for operators, who will be able to connect their infrastructure and to provide a new generation access services to end-users. The projects will help the country contribute to the Lithuanian Information Society Development in the 2014-2020 programme of the National Digital Agenda.