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B3 Regions: the Regions for Better Broadband connection start working

Piedmont is leading an innovative project of a total budget of around 3.5 million Euros whose aim is improving the effectiveness of regional development policies in the Information Society area, by optimizing the expert partners' good practices (mainly achieved through Structural Funds Plans 2000-2006) that are related to the broadband implementation in disadvantaged areas.

B3 Regions project will benefit from the Fast Track assistance from the European Commission. Under the Regions for Economic change initiative, launched by the DG Regio, the fast track places a particular emphasis on transferring good practices into the mainstream cohesion policy programmes as well as in the communication and dissemination of results. Furthermore, the EU Commission is directly involved in supporting the projects implementation providing strategic and technical advice. The EU Fast Track team is composed by several European Commission officers representing 5 DG (INFSO, REGIO, DIGIT, ENTR) and the JRC. Generally, a 'fast track' network establishes a detailed work programme including deliverables, indicators, targets, deadlines and communication and dissemination activities. An action plan will be developed for each region, in which the 'two-way bridge' with the mainstream programmes will be made. The network meets regularly to exchange experience and monitor progress on these work programmes and action plans. The project B3 Regions is a project funded under the Interreg IV C Programme, is leaded by Piedmont Region and the consortium represents 8 different Member States: 4 old MS (Italy, United Kingdom, Greece, and Spain) and 4 new MS (Poland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Hungary). Among the partners there are 8 Regional Managing Authorities (MAs), 5 ICT implementing Agencies, 2 Local authorities and 2 ICT University Departments. The B3 Regions will match less experienced with more advanced regions with regard to Broadband implementation in remote and rural areas. Indeed the latter ones have matured the analytical capacities to identify priorities and management skills to address the organisational issue. The B3 Region Kick-off Meeting will take place in Turin on September 11-12, 2008. The purpose of the kick off meeting is to discuss with all partners the methodology, scheduling, organization, goals of the project and to present the main features of the fast track network, such as the involvement and participation of the Managing Authorities in the concerned regions and the assessment of the progress and quality of the deliverables and the milestones of the project. For further information on the Interreg IV C Programme: http://www.interreg4c.net/news.html To consult the map showing the distribution of the network partners in the approved fast track projects: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/cooperation/interregional/ecochange/doc/map_rfec_partners08.pdf For further information on the project and on the kick off Meeting: Roberto Moriondo, Project Coordinator Piedmont Region b3regions@regione.piemonte.it