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Conference Kauhajoki, Finland 2013 Conference Kauhajoki, Finland 2013 Conference Kauhajoki, Finland 2013 Conference Kauhajoki, Finland 2013 Conference Kauhajoki, Finland 2013

Conference in Kauhajoki, Finland

Kauhajoki in Suupohja county was the main scene of European ICT experts in September when they attended the European Broadband conference together with local and European politicians.

There were visitors from 15 different European countries and also one speaker from USA. The conference was held in the gym of local school square which is one of the most unique schools in the world in terms of using ICT.

The meeting was opened by regional mayor Asko Peltola and city board chair Merja Kuusinen who highlighted the importance of own open access FTTH-network. This was followed by Clive Peckham with short introduction of ENGAGE and Anne-Mari Leppinen giving presentation on broadband situation and regional networks in Western Finland.

The first main speaker was Hartwig Tauber who is director general of the FTTH Council Europe. He gave a very eye opening speech about the benefits of FTTH for private people as well as regions as a whole. Like he said, in order to get the European Digital Agenda implemented we need FTTH. The same statement was given by Crister Mattsson and Marco Forzati from Acreo Sweden. They have completed a very unique study on ROI and socio-economic benefits of FTTH-networks in Sweden. Their findings were amazing! The money invested into FTTH-networks returns back to the society in many different ways and the actual result is many times more than the amount of investment. There are similar examples in Suupohja county, such as Tomas Ruotsalainen who moved to Isojoki (rural municipality with density of 3) with his family, renovated old house and started a book-keeping company whose services and files are all in virtual cloud! And the main driver was FTTH-network!

Tom Koutsky did the longest journey since he arrived from Washington DC. He is a Chief Policy Counsel in Connected Nation which is a nonprofit organization with the mission to expand access to, adoption, and use of broadband Internet and the related technologies. He spoke about the ways to build support for community broadband solutions and what kind of actions and visions are being discussed in USA. He mentioned four keys to success: 1) Identify and document gaps & needs, 2) Engage all stakeholdersĀ  (local participation!), 3) Embrace all alternatives (mixture of various models), 4) Produce immediate and tangible results. Good points!

Political views were brought by Harghita county president Csaba Borboly and member of Finnish parliament Janne Sankelo. Borboly talked about HSB situation and challenges in Romania where as Sankelo gave greetings and future visions of Finnish Parliament. In the end medical doctor Madis Tiik from Tallinn University of Technology spoke about different eSolutions in Estonia and it must be admitted that they seem to be the pioneers in this field. He presented the shared digital ecosystem of eHealth where all the public services are digitally available AND these databases communicate with each other! In addition, the digital authorization based on ID card is in everyday use. Sounds like a dream! He also talked about the organization and financing of eHealth solutions as well as gave good examples on selfcare of patients.

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