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Strategy for Organisations Concerned in Rural Advanced Tele-Communications

Objective

- To improve the quality, relevance and co-ordination of future proposals for RACE II projects involving applications projects for advanced telecommunications in rural areas.
- To identify the key success factors for implementing future projects, taking account of lessons from RACE and other EC programmes.
- To bring together the different organisations required for the successful implementation of advanced communications application experiments in rural areas and to encourage the formation of working relationships for future projects.
- To bring together the key actors concerned in disseminating information and good practice e.g. FORA, RUDA, etc.
A strategy for the use of technology in the regeneration of the rural and peripheral areas of Europe is based on the following:
involvement of the rural communities at all stages with appropriate research methodology to determine what services are required;
the need for effective mechanisms to ensure that user needs are reflected in the technology provided, including the use of fast prototypes and simulators and initiating mechanisms to ensure effective joint working between the demand, supply and intermediary organizations;
the need to include a range of integrated applications and to ensure shared use of infrastructure and equipment;
the need to take advantage of existing telecom infrastructures while establishing a clear development path to take benefit of higher bandwidth infrastructure;
the need to establish effective dissemination of information about advanced communications applications to those living and working in rural areas;
the need to develop a business plan with realistic forecasts and targets to ensure that application experiments continue beyond the project life;
lobbying for the inclusion of telecommunications as an integral part of rural development policy;
close involvement of the public network operators reflecting the spirit of open network provision;
evaluation as an integral part of application projects, enabling socioeconomic impacts as well as the technology to be assessed.

Workshops were organized in 4 European countries involving 55 speakers and around 300 participants. Results included definition of issues of good practice and learning from application projects in rural areas, and introducing technology into rural areas. Benefits that could accrue from a European policy on the use of technology in the regeneration of the rural and peripheral areas of Europe were also defined.
Technical Approach

Workshops were held in Greece, Germany, Ireland and Scotland; through key speakers and discussions these explored the pertinent issues and built partnerships for the T1050 call.

The ECTF Forum on Compuserve advertised the workshops, and disseminated workshop information quickly and widely.

Input to previously organised Conferences took place.

Key Issues

- Involvement of the rural communities at all stages with appropriate research methodology to determine what services are required.
- The need for effective mechanisms to ensure that user needs are reflected in the technology provided, including the use of fast prototypes/simulators and initiating mechanisms to ensure effective joint working between the demand, supply and intermediary organisations.
- The need to include a range of integrated applications and to ensure shared use of infrastructure and equipment.
- The need to take advantage of existing telecom infrastructures while establishing a clear development path to take benefit of higher bandwidth infrastructure.
- The need to establish effective dissemination of information about advanced communications applications to those living and working in rural areas.
- The need to develop a business plan with realistic forecasts and targets to ensure that application experiments continue beyond the project life.
- Lobbying for the inclusion of telecommunications as an integral part of rural development policy.
- Close involvement of the Public Network Operators reflecting the spirit of Open Network Provision.
- Evaluation as an integral part of application projects, enabling socio-economic impacts as well as the technology to be assessed.

Expected Impact

More realistic proposals for Task 1050 in the application projects for rural areas.

Expansion and use of networks, created across projects and programmes through the workshops ensuring that information and knowledge gained in application projects and R and D is shared.

Greater involvement of end users in application projects and improved understanding of the needs of rural areas to be considered in the Fourth Framework Plans.

Coordinator

Highland Regional Council
Address
Glenurquhart Road
IV3 5NX Inverness
United Kingdom