First place at the European Broadband Awards
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First place at the European Broadband Awards

One of the five European Broadband Awards has been awarded to the Sarantapos Wireless Community Network in Elassona.’s team was awarded for its exciting journey by creating a small website to build a broadband network that connects 15 villages in the region, as well as its interactive seminars on combating digital literacy.

The group of people, mostly from Sarantaporo Elassona, which is led by the love of the place and its willingness to socialize, aim to create a communication channel between the region and the rest of the world for the creative exchange of ideas and the creative coordination of actions for the benefit of the local community.



In 2010, the team, with the desire to publish an online reference point for childhood friends and an information and collaboration site for organizing cultural and voluntary activities in the area, launched the creation of a website.

Soon, the project was faced with a major and unexpected challenge: the complete lack of Sarantaporo’s Internet connection, as telecommunications companies had little to invest in the provincial area. turned the problem into a starting point and turned away from companies and the local community to design and develop a wireless community network.



On December 3, 2019, the nine-member team was awarded one of the five coveted European Broadband Awards 2019, and the initiative is clearly more than a useful webpage. The team has now been transformed into a non-profit urban corporation that has successfully built a community wireless network that connects 15 villages in the area while providing free internet access to residents, operators and visitors to the area.



The ambitious initiative belongs to a wider, promising trend that aspires to bridge the digital divide that characterizes the outermost regions of the planet. Wireless and wired community electronic communications networks are now being developed in many areas of the world, and at the heart of their philosophy are placing small local communities as digital network managers.

For, the community network it managed to build is a “public good”, a resource open to everyone and manageable by everyone involved. The initiative explicitly prohibits any commercial or speculative exploitation of access to its Community network and invites anyone concerned to participate freely in the group and in the wider community.



The exciting journey of from a simple website to a collective connectivity provider has, as expected, put the initiative on the list of finalists for this year’s European Broadband Awards. The initiative scored an excellent 9.8 out of 10, securing the top spot in the Demand generation and take-up of the connectivity category.

The factor that differentiated from other competitors was its particular emphasis on the fight against digital literacy. Through dozens of training events, seminars and remote support,’s team frames access to the Internet with a range of digital skills for members and users of the mountainous community.



“We need to build a European Union that works primarily for its citizens,” said DG Connect’s Knowledge and Innovation Management Unit Director Franco Accordino during the group award ceremony. “The Greek example is a strong signal of support for Community networks in Europe,” he commented, adding that Europe may not have the so-called American “garage” of innovation, but it has tens of thousands of tightly knit communities that innovate thanks to perseverance and cooperation.

The distinction at the European Broadband Awards is undoubtedly a great honor for team, but the real victory is its huge impact on the small community of Thessaly in the last nine years. Thanks to the open community network, residents are now enjoying digital prescription, while, in 2015, partnered with the University of Thessaly Medical School on a series of online health-oriented questionnaires.



The most moving change, according to the Community network members, was also relatively unpredictable. Free and open access to the Internet has attracted dozens of young people to small villages – grandchildren or young parents – who can now visit the villages without internet isolation. This was, after all, the main reason why dozens of elderly people immediately embraced the initiative: to provide their grandchildren with what they needed so they could have them close.

The European Broadband Awards have been organized under the auspices of the Directorate-General for Communication, Content and Technology Networks of Europe (DG Connect). Each year, the awards receive applications from hundreds of projects and initiatives that give European citizens access to high-speed broadband.



Despite their short lives, the awards have already won the attention of the European community, as over the years their five-member committee has awarded a variety of projects, regardless of size, location and whether they belong to private or public entities. In addition to awarding impact projects, the awards aim to inspire similar initiatives on every corner of Europe. In this context, the five projects highlighted this year will be added to the Broadband Europe Best Practices Database, which provides expert support in broadband and applications. The same philosophy is reflected in’s team, which states: “Our ultimate goal is to create a model for the development of such infrastructures, which will be replicated in other areas of digital isolation.”