SLOVENIA: Realization of Pilot broadband infrastructure project using PPP
PPP4Broadband partners have recently started the phase of pilot actions realization (= pilot broadband infrastructure projects using Public-Private Partnership) in 4 pilot areas. It´ our pleasure to provide you with description of all of them in terms of geography, socio-economic situation and current broadband coverage.
The pilot area situated in Slovenia - municipality of Ajdovščina
The Municipality of Ajdovščina is situated in the western part of Slovenia, in the Vipava Valley, extending over 245.2 km2 and with a population of 18,848 in 45 settlements. Out of 212 municipalities in Slovenia, the Municipality of Ajdovščina is the 18th largest by its surface and 20th largest by its population. Due to its strategic location it is an important player in the Slovenian economy as it not only connects the Italian Po Valley with the rest of Slovenia, but also the western Mediterranean countries with the Balkan Peninsula and other Eastern European countries. The centre of the Municipality is the town of Ajdovščina with 7,000 inhabitants. The population density is 77 people per square kilometre, which is lower than the national average of 101 people per square kilometre.
With the collapse of a few major economic players, the area has suffered great economic recession in the last few years. Consequently, unemployment, emigration, poor business opportunities and poor prospects all rave across the municipality. Bankruptcy of strong construction and wood-processing companies significantly increased the unemployment rate. Poor internet connection even worsened the current unemployment situation, since it has been acknowledged that broadband is an essential modern infrastructure immensely contributing to economic growth and social cohesion. New broadband infrastructure will create better conditions for employees in already established industries, especially in tourism, agriculture, forestry and craft. Due to broadband accessibility, local companies will achieve greater competitiveness on the global market, which will lead to the preservation, expansion and diversification of their services and consequently to the creation of new job opportunities. In addition, the area will become more attractive also for new start-ups and new investors creating more new jobs and benefiting the local economy.
The broadband coverage in the Municipality of Ajdovščina is similar to the Slovenian average of 70 %. The Municipality’s biggest town, Ajdovščina, and some smaller neighbouring villages have good access to internet, including affordable NGA access, while the rest of the area remains poorly covered. In all settlements there is Basic coverage (partly through satellite network, partly through mobile networks, partly by old copper cables). NGA access in remote settlements and outside the biggest town – Ajdovščina – is presented in a very limited amount of places.
The following steps are planned to prove the logic of the selected PPP4B model:
- Mapping of the Municipality
- Preparation of the Broadband Development Plan
- Preparation of Investment Documentation
- Issue of a Public Call for Promoters (interested private investors)
- Inclusion of the project in the Development Plans
- Preparation of a Feasibility Study, including an assessment of the PPP form relevance for this particular project (with risk allocations between public and private body)
- Issue of an act regulating the public-private partnership with incorporated public interest statement
- Preparation and publication of tender invitation in order to select the private partner for the construction and operation of an open-access broadband network
- Selection of a PPP provider and contract signing