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Rural and remote areas to get digitally connected

Over the last years, the importance and need for broadband and high-speed connectivity has constantly increased. The Covid-19 pandemic has even accelerated this process towards a more connected society. But this holds mainly true for urban communities. In Europe a 13% lack access persists, and mainly concerns the most rural and remote areas. Those are the most challenging to address since they are the least commercially attractive. COMMECT aims at bridging the digital divide, by providing quality, reliable, and secure access for all in rural and remote areas. The goal of extending broadband connectivity in rural and remote areas will be achieved by integrating Non-Terrestrial Networks with terrestrial cellular XG networks, and low-cost Internet of Things (IoT). Artificial Intelligence, Edge and Network Automation will reduce energy consumption both at connectivity and computing level.

Participatory approach with end-users and ICT experts working together on development challenges will be the key for the digitalization of the sector. To ensure the rich exchange of best-practice and technical knowledge among the actors of the agro-forest value chain, COMMECT will set up five Living Labs across and outside Europe, where end-users “pain” and (connectivity) “gains” will be largely discussed, from different perspectives.

COMMECT aims at contributing to a balanced territorial development of the EU’s rural areas and their communities by making smart agriculture and forest services accessible to all. COMMECT will facilitate that, by developing a decision-making support tool able to advise on the best connectivity solution, according to technical, socio-economic, and environmental considerations. This tool, incorporating collaborative business models, will be a key enabler for jobs, business, and investment in rural areas, as well as for improving the quality of life in areas such as healthcare, education, e-government, among others.