sábado, 9 de febrero de 2019

Mataró, a powerful broadband connection

Broadband Society is essential for all the municipalities. We will analyze the case of Mataró, with Oriol Agramunt, from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The capital city of El Maresme has had 95% of broadband penetration for the last 4 years.
                                               Laia l’arquera Sculpture in Mataró  (Image: Oriol Agramunt)

Nowadays European citizens live in the Broadband Society, but it is also true that there is a wide range of broadband penetration depending on the area the people live. The same happens in Spain and Catalonia.

In Catalonia, the technological advances have given us the possibility to enjoy the broadband. Hundreds of cities and towns have access to different types of technology and they also have internet access to upload and download contents.
The European Union approved a decree named “as 20/20 strategy” that obligates the country members to install optical fibre before the year 2020.
Mataró is the ninth biggest city in Catalonia in regard of the population, which is higher than one hundred twenty-five thousand inhabitants. For this reason, a good connectivity is needed.
Broadband technologies will probably be developed in the following years, today we are not able to predict when and where are they going to arrive, but it is evident that the improvements that have been discovered during the last two decades. During the 2000s decade a lot of innovations were introduced in Mataró as long as they were also introduced in other regions of Catalonia and Spain. However, the most important milestone was done at the end of 2014 and beginnings of 2015.
The local government in the last legislature (from 2011 to 2015), led by the mayor Joan Móra, invested a high amount of funds, in comparison with their predecessors, in order to improve the connectivity of the neighbours of the municipality. One of the political aims of the mayor Móra was to offer the possibility for the technological companies to set up in any site of the city. It is for this reason that since 2015, the 95% of the urban area in Mataró is able to enjoy the broadband service due to an agreement between the Mataró city council and XOC (Open Network of Catalonia). 
This agreement enabled to improve the telecommunications services not only in the city centre but also in the industrial polygons, such as Les Hortes del Camí or Pla d’en Boet, located in the outskirts. This fact is important because industrial polygons had always been dropped out when it was referred to broadband and connectivity and by this agreement, were allowed to optimize their services.
Since 2015, Mataró has a 95% of broadband penetration. Guifi.net, a free and open telecommunications company set up in 2004, was given in 2015 by Bankia some cables to install optical fibre to offer their own service to Mataró citizens as a local operator. Guifi.net operates in cities all around Catalonia and Comunitat Valenciana and has permanent links in Calldetenes, Gurb, Santa Eugenia de Berga and in Vich.
In the case of optical fibre, the company ONO installed cables of that kind in almost all the city between 2010 and 2013. Nowadays, these cables are Vodafone’s property because they bought the Ono enterprise in the year 2014. After them, Movistar and Jazztel did the same and started installing cables of optical fibre in the streets of Mataró. Later that day, the inhabitants of the capital city of El Maresme can contract the FTTH service with more than 100 Mbps.

                                                         Mataró’s promenade (Image: Oriol Agramunt)

Operators were forced to install optical fibre cables in the streets of this city due to the arrival of the on-line television, which demanded high rates of broadband speed.
The different types of technology have a different rate of penetration in the city. While there are technologies like ADSL of 2 or less Mbps or FTTH that have a percentage of penetration of the 95%, VDSL, for its part, only achieves the 5% of penetration. Meanwhile, all kinds of fixed networks, from the one that offers 2 Mbps to the one that offers, 100 Mbps have a percentage higher than the 90%.
HFC technology has a penetration of 65% and ADSL of 10 or less Mbps achieves a 75% of penetration.

  Graphics of the percentage penetration of each technology in Mataró (Elaborated by Oriol Agramunt)

Movistar, Vodafone and Orange are the main companies that supply the broadband technology in Mataró. Another company that may also work in the city is Jazztel, but is less important rather than the other operators because it has fewer consumers.
The speed of a broadband connection is a very important factor when choosing an operator and the technology. Speed is crucial for the quality of the service. The demand of high quality connection is one of the main factors that make that DSL technology has been dethroned of the market. Another strong point to consider is the symmetry that means that users have the same speed of uploading and downloading files.
Media is one of the sectors that became more benefited by the arrival of optical fibre. There are three local media companies in Mataró, El Tot Mataró, El Capgròs and Mataró Audiovisual. The last one has optical fibre installed and enjoys a better connection in comparison with the other two companies. It is due to the fact that Mataró Audiovisual includes a television service and also a radio and internet one, so it needs a good level of speed to cover all their fields. The other two companies are digital magazines and they upload so less content than the biggest local media company. 

                                               Mataró’s town hall (Image: Oriol Agramunt)

Mataró Audiovisual has contracted the FTTH technology and this lets them reach a broadband speed higher than 100 Mbps. Otherwise, El Tot Mataró and El Capgròs use the technology HFC that enables them to have a good level of broadband speed reaching the 100 mbps.
According to a study of the Pew Research Center, the 90% of people consumes local media in order to get information of people, companies and cultural or sports associations of their closest environment. So that, local media need to have a good broadband connection to satisfy the demands of their neighbours, that at the same time, they also are their potential consumers. Furthermore, the same study demonstrates that traditional media, television and radio stations and newspapers, are the most used channels by the local audience, more than the digital newspaper.
Broadband penetration allows access to on-line platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook apart from digital media and other internet services.
Job creation is another advantage of having a high quality broadband service, because there are new jobs that have originated from the appearance of YouTube on-line blogs. There are some cases of popular youtubers set in Mataró, an example of them are Widler Soldier and Neus Snow.
In view of the above arguments, it must be considered that Mataró is a city with high levels of connectivity, with an important rate of the technology FTTH, which is one of the more advanced. The inhabitants and the local media of the capital city of El Maresme are able to enjoy a powerful broadband access in their homes or workplaces. The fact that Mataró is located near the city of Barcelona may help to explain the good levels of connectivity.
We analyze broadband evolution (here, the Mataró case) in this blog, in Research Group about Digital Journalism and Marketing and Broadband and in Research Group on Innovative Monetization Systems of Digital Journalism, Marketing and Tourism (SIMPED), from CECABLE,  Escola Universitària Mediterrani of UdGUPF and Blanquerna-URL, in Twitter (@CECABLEresearch), Google+, in the group of LinkedIn, in the page of LinkedIn, in the group of Facebook, in Instagram (CECABLE), in Pinterest and in this blog. We will go in deep in the XXIV Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress (9-10 April 2019, Barcelona).

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