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The Generalitat of Valencia wants to reverse rural depopulation with Internet provision

The Generalitat of Valencia wants to reverse rural depopulation with Internet provision

A study will determine what the impact of the digital divide is in rural areas

The Government of the Autonomous Valencian region (Generalitat) announced that it has started a round of consultation meetings with representatives from communities which are at risk of depopulation. The objective of these talks is to determine which areas lack broadband Internet coverage and devise action plans that would try to use the introduction of high-speed internet to economic rejuvenation in rural areas.

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The proposed study is a serious effort and a multi-sided collaboration between the General Directorate of the Valencian Anti-Depopulation Agenda, the Department of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society and the regional Ministry of Finance. Technicians from the General Directorate of Information Technology and Communications (DGTIC) will visit the communities in question and measure the current broadband coverage.

“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 compare it with the records of the Ministry and identify areas where there is no coverage and know for sure what specific actions need to be carried out,” said José Manuel García Duarte, the Director of DGTIC.

Once the grey areas have been identified, they will be eligible to receive subsidies from the PEBA programme. This programme, partially funded by the EU Regional Development Fund and to the tune of 150 million euros, was announced earlier this year by the Spanish government with the aim of closing the digital gap that exists between cities and rural areas.

This lagging behind of the countryside has been seen as one of the potential reasons to its depopulation, and not simply because this might mean not being able to stream video content, but because it hinders the development of the private sector there.

It was reported that in the Valencia Region, almost 13% of the population has no access to high-speed internet, 20% do now own a computer at home and nearly one-third of the residents have stated that they have low digital skills.

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