martes, 6 de abril de 2021

Girona and its broadband oasis

This post pretends to analyze the broadband specifically in Girona so as to know its current situation and its history. Telecommunication has become one of the most powerful tools since Civil War in Spain. Consequently, it has been used in order to manipulate information, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s powerful. It’s interesting to know, with the collaboration of Judit Batlle, how it works where we live because the greater its development, the more important its impact on our society. 

In Girona, broadband network isn’t available at the same level in all around the city.  In 2018, El Diari de Girona told that the government wanted to reach the band in all municipalities with more than 50 inhabitants by 2023 and also told that they were working to bring optic fiber to all the capitals of the region by 2020.   
But first of all, let’s describe what broadband means because all of us talk about it but just some understand what really means. It’s all known that Broadband Internet service lives between us. Society is formed by some aspects like economy, politics or culture that are directly influenced by new technologies of information and communication. Broadband is the most popular and used form of Internet access because of many reasons. First of all, its high access speeds but also because of its different forms (DSL, fiber-optic, cable, and satellite).

Thus, broadband is the transmission of data through a high-speed Internet connection. According to the FCC, its definition contains a minimum of download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload of Mbps. Broadband provides high-speed Internet access through multiple types of technologies listed before. For instance: streaming HD videos, games and downloading heavy files consume most of the bandwidth. In order to enjoy an experience without interruptions and with less delays, it’s better to opt for plans with faster speeds of 100 Mbps and higher. For other activities, such as music streaming, browsing and video conferencing, any plan above 25 Mbps should be sufficient. It all depends on how patient people are with the possible buffering and the slightly slower speeds when other people in the house compete for bandwidth at the same time, when they do their activities. In 2008, in Spain, the penetration of broadband expressed in the number of accesses per 100 inhabitants was 19,8 comparing to Denmark, who had 36,7, for example. It means that there are more to do in our country so as to develop broadband even more. 
In order to understand the current situation in Girona city, we must know first what’s going on in our country. In the whole of Spain, 81% of the population has internet connection at more than 100 megabits per second (mbps). In one year, the coverage rate at 100 mbps has increased by five percentage points in the last year, and by 2021 it is projected to reach even 93.45%. With regard to 30 mbps coverage (twice as much as is needed for streaming Netflix with a 4K TV), the coverage rate is already 85% and by 2020 it is projected to reach 98%.

The highest current coverage rates are in Melilla (100%), Madrid (97.1%) and the Basque Country (94.1%), and the smallest in Extremadura (55.6%), Galicia (61, 5%), Castilla-La Mancha (64.4%) and Castilla y León (65.4%). With regard to mobile broadband, 4G coverage already reaches 99.5%, always according to the Economy data, which also points out that Spain has more than 43 million fiber optic accesses up to at home (FTTH), which is the largest network in Europe and a coverage rate of 77.4%.

If we focused on Catalonia, 86,6% of all Catalans have broadband internet access at 100 megabits per second. Last year, a study on broadband coverage in Spain prepared with data from June 2018 and published by the Ministry of Economy and Business concluded that this data was more than enough for a standard home to get the most out of its ultra-fast network from multiple devices. The study estimates that by 2020, 92.3% of the Catalan population will have Internet access at more than 100 mbps.

Focusing on Girona, a political party, Esquerra Republicana, on 2018 presented a motion to expand broadband in all in all the municipalities of the Girona province. They wanted to promote a study to send fiber optics to the municipalities where it is not present. In Girona city, there are some neighborhood who don’t have fiber optics yet. To give an example, Sant Ponç is located in the middle of Girona. Last years, some flats or houses have been in problems with fiber optic internet, and consequently with their broadband. There were people who works as a computer engineer or whatever which needs high  speed on Internet and they couldn’t work as well as they wanted. It generated frustration because some mobile and Internet companies didn’t solve their problem because of economic interests. It took more than 5 years to give them a solution and install in all around the neighborhood fiber optics.

Esquerra Republicana study was accompanied by an increase in resources in those areas where it is needed, as well as planning to take advantage of the construction of new road infrastructure to install broadband. ERC recalled that the 2009 National Compact for Infrastructures talked about creating an open fiber-optic network that reached all municipalities and all public buildings. Another key point of the ERC proposal was to take advantage of the fact that the local roads, which are managed by the Diputació, when they are planned for improvement, are used to pass the necessary infrastructure through the fiber optic.

The problem was that the speed at which was reached wasn’t enough in front of a society that is digitalizing faster and faster. To have a network in a position to be competitive and not lag behind is essential for some business in the district. In 2012, Girona began an iniciative called “Girona connectada”. Then, some companies could have free installation of their lines and immediately they could work with the Internet connection they require. In this way, companies could overcome the difficulties of connection and use all the possibilities that the Internet offered and that the global market demands to be competitive.

The Catalan telecommunications operator, Anxanet, promotes "Girona connectada" through the analysis of different studies of official institutions that reveal the growing tendency to use broadband and the need to provide companies with a good connection to Internet. Also, in a sector as important for the Girona region as tourism, the demand for quality Wi-Fi in tourist establishments becomes the second element to consider when choosing accommodation. In the same way, hoteliers consider this service a priority and are often seen with significant technological limitations in order to offer it in the conditions they want.

To these growing needs of companies, we must add the fact that in some parts of the territory of the province of Girona there is not enough broadband to cover the basic needs for business competitiveness because they are far from the interests of the big operators.

If we take a look, Girona during its history has been promoting an improvement of the inhabitants’ broadband. In 2005, there was a new rural broadband project who had been redefined to deploy technology that guarantees more coverage and value service in those rural places where they have Internet or communication speed problems. In 2007, 447 population centers in the province of Girona had coverage of Rural Broadband. 

Finally, Megatel signed an agreement in 2010 with the Generalitat to share telecommunications infrastructure. The agreement allowed broadband coverage to be extended at a low cost in some areas of the Girona region. This initiative translates into the installation of telecommunication towers throughout Catalonia in those areas where the coverage of TDT, mobile telephony or broadband does not reach. The towers have been built by the Government of Catalonia who is in charge of managing them and subsequently offer private operators the possibility of installing them to extend the services to users.
To cut a long story short, Girona has been making and effort during the years so as to improve in its broadband oasis. The city is still fighting to be as competitive as possible in this aspect. 
We analyze broadband and HbbTV evolution (here, the case of Girona) 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 XXV Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress (2021, Barcelona).

8 comentarios:

  1. Un bonic article que demostra la necessitat de banda ampla a tot el territori de Catalunya. Felicitats!

  2. La veritat és que Catalunya necessita banda ampla arreu, i zones com Girona se'n veuen molt beneficiades.

  3. Articles molt interessants perquè Catalunya no és només Barcelona. La banda ampla no pot estar centralitzada. Enhorabona!!!

  4. Fino análisis que refleja la trascendencia de la banda ancha para todo tipo de municipios.