Valencia to launch Digital Transformation Plan to guarantee universal access to connectivity

Valencian president Ximo Puig claims that the plan will “democratize” digital transformation and allow society to face the future with “greater equality of opportunities”.

Tuesday 15th February 2022 – MIKE SMITH
Translation based on press release from GVA

The president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, has announced the launch of the Comunidad Valenciana’s Digital Transformation Plan which will have an investment of 1,000 million euros over the next four years.

He made the announcement during the presentation of the initiative ‘Com Digital 2025’ accompanied by Caroline Pascual, the Regional Minister for Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society.

The project will benefit from funding from the European Union as well as the Spanish Government and the Generalitat Valenciana itself and will create a connectivity infrastructures necessary to make the digital development of the Comunidad Valenciana possible and establish the mechanisms for generating talent and transferring knowledge. The president described digitization as an essential tool to overcome social, territorial and opportunity inequalities.

He explained that the initiative will allow universal access to connectivity, from technology parks to the last municipality at risk of depopulation, and will contribute to accessing future society with a great equality of opportunities.

It will also guarantee access for all sectors to new technologies, especially the more traditional ones as well as the access of all municipalities to innovation, which will encourage their evolution towards smart and sustainable places to live whilst also ensuring that all SMEs have access to digital tools and packages.

Com Digital 2025 also encourages the digital training of the region’s residents and takes advantage of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and 5G technology to create new employment niches, equal opportunities and prosperity.

A Fair Digital Society

The president justified the need for the Com Digital 2025 initiative by referring to the latest report from FOESSA – Promotion of Social Studies and Applied Sociology – which indicates that one in three Valencian households doesn’t have adequate digital skills and that the members of those households have five times few opportunities to find work.

Thus, Puig has stressed the urgency of finding a fair digital society to remedy what he considered to be the “digital blackout” that causes the loss of social rights and job opportunities which present the necessary evolution of social structure.

He also highlighted the need to attract cutting-edge projects to the region, such as the Hyperloop transportation system that is being developed by the Polytechnic University of Valencian, the first Spanish space rocket developed by PLD Space in Elche, and the underwater cable to be installed in the Port of Alicente.

In addition, Puig pointed out that a priority objective of the Generalitat Valenciana is to channel investments in R&D – research and development – and take advantage of European funding to achieve a fair digital transition, especially with the support of SMEs which make up 99% of the Valencian business community and that, according to him, don’t have the funding for investment or technologies of the future.

Submarine cable in the Port of Alicante

Regarding the underwater cable for high-capacity data connection in the Port of Alicante, the president said that it will have an investment of 32 million euros from the Valencia Port Connect group, entirely Valencian.

The president explained that the cable will be operational in 2025 and will be the first “open” cable in the Comunidad Valenciana, which will allow any company that has international connection needs to connect to the receiving station of the port.

He also pointed out that the underwater cable, which will connect countries around the world to transmit data at high speed, will be a “driving force” that will turn Alicante into a destination to attract Data Centers and large technology companies, which will also affect the creation of highly qualified employment.

Inclusive Strategy

The Regional Minister of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society, Carolina Pascual, explained that the digital transformation presentation showcases the Generalitat Valenciana’s strategy for technological advances to generate and distribute wealth, in which the talent created in the region encourages the advancement of its society, its organizations and its productive fabric.

She pointed out that the initiative is an “inclusive” strategy which includes everyone and contemplates “comprehensive digital transformation” since it doesn’t only mean sending an email instead of a letter but also adapting all businesses to the needs demanded by the digital age, where speed and execution play a “crucial role”.

She concluded by insisting that it is “especially important” for small and medium-sized companies that have to move in an increasingly competitive and changing market and that digital transformation “is no longer a choice, not even an option, but an obligation to be able to compete and that will bring many advantages to a company”.

‘Com Digital 2025’

The Plan is aligned with the European “Digital Europe” Program and the “Digital Spain Plan 2025”, developed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, which has 40 lines of action with specific initiatives.

‘Com Digital 2025’ includes a catalogue of actions and projects such as guaranteeing telecommunications infrastructures that allow connectivity for all citizens, aimed at eliminating the gender, social and territorial digital divide; deploying 5G technology throughout the territory; strengthening the digital skills of citizens; intensifying the digitization process of Valencian companies; promoting the necessary digitization of public administrations; promoting the Comunidad Valenciana as a place for the implementation of technology companies and favouring the path towards a data economy.

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