Over the next 11 months, Romania’s Ministry for Information Society will build broadband networks connecting 783 municipalities, the ministry announced in January. The RON 378 million project (about EUR 84 million) will receive RON 56 million (about EUR 56 million) from the European Regional Development Fund.
The project will concentrate on some of the smallest towns and villages in Romania, says project manager Corneliu Mănescu, responsible for the project since 2012. “The biggest 100 villages have just over 1,000 inhabitants, the smallest have just over 30 households.”
Once the broadband connections are in place, towards the end of this year, the project foresees in management and operations for the next 18 years. The ministry is also preparing a follow-up project, to connect several tens of other small rural villages and towns, says project manager Mănescu.
“Two things really helped us to develop this project” Mănescu says. “First, we decided to have a public consultation of 9 months instead of 30 days. This way we made sure the villages that we selected were really ‘white areas’ with no Internet access. Second, we published the draft tender documentation two months early, to make sure every potential operator could study the request and prepare themselves.” According to the project manager, these two steps helped move the project along, avoiding objections and complaints.
The RoNet project aims to build and operate a national infrastructure for broadband, offering electronic communications services to disadvantaged rural areas that currently lack high-speed internet access. The aim is to create economic growth and jobs.
RoNet is part of Romania’s national broadband plan, which is being implemented by the country’s Ministry for Information Society. The plan’s objectives include getting public administrations online, promoting the use of electronic communications, and supporting small and medium sized enterprises in using digital infrastructure and services.
Announcement by Romania’s Ministry for Information Society (in Romanian)
Best Practice on RoNEt Project
Digital Agenda: Romania