We are thrilled to share some very good news with all of you. Sarantaporo.gr Community Network has been awarded the first prize at the European Broadband Awards 2019! This is an exciting moment for us, but also, we believe, an exciting moment for CNs around Europe and around the world.
Our proposal received a score of 9,8 out of 10. What made a big difference was our focus in digital literacy and skills building. This is a characteristic of CNs that one does not find in telecom operators. And it makes all the difference, in adding the word "meaningful" to connectivity.
It started with guifi.net being awarded at the first EBA in 2015 as the best innovative model of financing, business and investment. Today Sarantaporo.gr has received the first prize as the best example of demand generation and take-up of connectivity.
European Commission could not have put it more clearly that it is counting on CNs to achieve its connectivity goals. In the words of Franco Accordino, DG Connect Unit Director, at the closing of B-Day:
"We need to build an EU that works for people. The Greek example creates a strong message to support community connectivity in Europe [..] In EU we don't have the "garages", but we have the local communities which can innovate, through connectivity."
We welcome this victory of ours as a victory of our local community, but also as a victory of the Community-Networks-way of connecting people. At the IGF in Berlin it was acknowledged that CNs are indeed an established approach to connectivity when it comes to connecting remote areas or providing affordable, meaningful connectivity for all. We thus believe that this is a time of profound recognition of CNs as important stakeholders in connecting the unconnected across Europe and the world and we should leverage this momentum that is building up.
We hope you will all celebrate this victory with us as a common achievement, which hopefully contributes in bringing at a new level the discussion about the future of CNs in connecting the unconnected.