Greece is pushing ahead with plans to install wireless internet access points (WiFi) throughout the country as part of a broader number of tech projects being implemented. The government is also progressing with preparations for digital projects that will be financed by the EU’s Recovery Fund, in which, there is very little room for delays, say market watchers.
In particular, in the coming weeks, the Ministry of Digital Government will launch the "WiFi4GR - Development of public wireless broadband internet access points" project which concerns the installation of infrastructure for Internet access in 2,500 parts of the country.
However, ministry officials and market sources have expressed their concerns about the ability to speed up project tenders.
• Firstly because the political leaders of ministries and state services want the projects to go slowly in order to avoid complaints and conflicts with companies.
• Secondly, because the companies interested are few, in relation to the huge volume of projects included in the Recovery Fund and / or the "Digital Transformation Bible". People in the technology market point out that there are few companies that can take on these large projects.
Sources at the Ministry of Finance, who are monitoring preparation work for the utilization of the resources from the Recovery Fund, note that it is of great importance to proceed with the large IT projects without problems and delays, which were usual until now, as a significant part of the subsidies from the new financial mechanism will be directed toward the digitization of the state.
Transferring the data of public services to the cloud and putting the state in a digital path is an ambitious task.
The cost of possible delays in these projects can be very high. The projects that will be financed by the Recovery Fund, should go ahead based on relatively short deadlines as there will be no margin for delays as there were with the NSRF program.
"WiFi4GR" is a project of more than 14 million euros through which (up to) three contractors will not only undertake the installation of the necessary infrastructure, but also its operation for at least three years. This will avoid past problems when hundreds of access points were installed in many municipalities across the country, most of which never operated or stopped operating after a short while.
The tender for "WiFi4GR" foresees, among other things, "the possibility of free and unconditional, discriminatory broadband Internet access through WiFi Hotspots in open and / or closed public spaces will be provided. 5,600 access points will be procured and installed, which will be distributed in approximately two thousand five hundred (2,500) wireless - WiFi access areas, throughout the territory."
The areas that will be the installation points for wireless broadband access points will be in areas where there is a high concentration of people (public gathering places, waiting-areas, event spaces, points of tourist and cultural interest) and distributed as geographically widely as possible.
The installation points will be indicated by the local municipalities, based on instructions to be issued by the Information Society SA (IS). The management, monitoring and control of the wireless broadband access equipment will be done by a central management system, which will be supplied and installed by the contractor in a space that will be indicated by IS SA.