|Description of the project
The above action is included in the 1st action category “Projects of initial application of broadband network technologies” of Measure 4.2 “Development of infrastructures of local access networks”.
The demand subsidy of fixed wireless access LMDS & xDSL and the creation of Wireless Hotspots has as a target to strengthen approximately 400 enterprises that wish to develop wireless broadband networks for public (provision of services to clients) or in-house use.
Businesses (e.g. hotel, tourist ones etc) have the possibility through the Wireless Hotspots to offer wireless access to network or Internet, Intranet, Extranet services of added value to users who move in the area they cover: moving citizens/ visitors of public or/ and private places –external visitors, guests, clients as well as employees.
These infrastructures can also be used as wireless local access networks (WLANs) being low-cost and high reliability solutions for cases where the installation of a structured wiring is not feasible or desirable.
The development of wireless hotspots of broadband access is carried out in areas where a considerable number of users/ visitors gather, such as: guest, accommodation and entertainment areas (hotels, restaurants, students’ residences, sport facilities/ gyms etc), waiting/ transportation areas (airports, railway stations, ports/ marines/ bus stops etc), educational centers, universities, private schools, cultural areas (museums, archaeological sites, galleries etc), shopping centers, department stores, banks, event and conference areas (conference centers, commercial exhibition areas, Press centers etc) and other areas of providing services for the citizens (hospitals, courts, public bodies etc).
The best practices in the European and greater international area show that the development of wireless hotspots of broadband access must be done either by the bodies themselves having the above mentioned areas or by third providers that act in agreement with the said bodies. In both cases, they operate as wireless broadband access providers (WISPs) for a series of added value services.
The services provided indicatively include: web surfing, exchange of files and online communication among the users, access to multimedia applications in order to get pictures, interactive video and music, provision of informative or educational content, broadcast of advertising messages and entertainment services.
Services are also provided based on the geographic location of the user (Location Based Services), such as: automatic reception or provision of specialised data and information as well as roaming services that give the opportunity to the moving users to connect to different hotspots and receive all the services by charging their central account.
Access to the wireless network is possible with the use of a total of devices, compatible with the appropriate communication protocols, such as laptops, smart handheld devices (PDAs, telephones etc), wireless cameras and tele-broadcast screens etc.
The total budget of the action comes up to 21,427,120€ ; 10,000,000€ of the budget concern private participation and 11,427,120€ public expenditure. The strengthening of private investments and plans is done on the basis of De Minimis rule, while, as in the other projects that concern enterprises, 50% of the budget is given based on regional distribution (e.g. 5% will be given to enterprises in the region of the Northern Aegean).
|Progress of the project
In the framework of the action, the following actions have been completed:
- Focused publicity actions (entries in the Press, three informative events [in Athens, Thessaloniki, Herakleio], distribution of printed information leaflets and operation of a website (www.w-hotspots.gr).
- Evaluation of submitted proposals in 2 stages: 1st evaluation stage of the proposals by special experts and 2nd evaluation stage of the proposals by the advisory committee of the action.
- Submission of 280 proposals by enterprises and integration for financing of 197 projects in total.
The phase of signing the contracts between the “Information Society SA” and the approved enterprises is now being implemented while to-date approximately 1m€ have been contracted.
Finally, a complementary cycle of proposal submission is planned for the utilisation of the indisposed funds from the initial call of the action, of a budget of 2,000,000 €.
In the framework of the above action, a pilot installation of a wireless system of Internet access, through broadband infrastructures, is being implemented in the busy external area of Syntagma Square in Athens. Broadband Internet services on a trial- pilot basis, will be provided through the Wireless Hotspots, for citizens and visitors of the Square who have devices (laptops, handheld computers etc) with the appropriate equipment compatible with the WiFi standard while they will have the opportunity by changing a service hotspot, when they change their location, not to be disconnected and connect again to the wireless network (roaming).
|Results of the project
The relevant small implementation cost, in combination with the restricted technological complexity included in the Wireless Hotspots solution, seems to make it especially attractive for enterprises that aim at offering new services to their clients and, perhaps, increase their clientele and turnover. The obvious results are the provision of advanced services for more citizens, through the quick and wireless access to the Internet at low cost, with a parallel reduction of geographical restrictions, as well as the increase of the competitiveness of the enterprises through the installation of new technologies and the adoption of modern business practices.
The biggest number of projects (57% from a total of 197 projects) will be implemented by enterprises of the tourist field and the food and drink field (hotels, restaurants) with 112 projects in total. The enterprises of the field are expected also to absorb the biggest part (approximately 62%) of the public financing.
The implementation of the approved projects is expected to lead to the creation of approximately 650 new Wireless Hotspots all over Greece, a fact which exceeds the initial objectives of the action.
The benefits for enterprises include: the improved client service by offering value added services, new revenue resources, indirect (attraction of new clients etc) or direct (provision of services on a subscription basis), cost and time reduction for the development of the network infrastructure of the enterprise and the possibility of parallel utilisation of the Wireless Hotspot for in-house use.
The benefits for citizens/ users include: wireless access to the Internet and local communication networks with high communication speeds without geographical restrictions, access to new, advanced high value added services at low cost (e.g. Voice over IP), the possibility of utilizing their time during their travels/ transportation/ waiting, the possibility of communication with their work place from remote areas through the Internet and the utilisation of special application categories (e.g. telemetry, tele-medicine, location-based services, easy purchases with the use of relevant product research or/ and promotion services etc).