The Azores are some of the most remote islands in the North Atlantic, and the world. So how does Portugal ensure that the residents have access to reliable Internet and telecommunication infrastructures?
At the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018, João Cadete de Matos, the Chairman of Portugal’s National Communications Authority (ANACOM) discussed how they are extending ICT access to the peripheries.
“We have no doubts about the relevance of information telecommunication technologies for the development of our societies today,” said João Cadete de Matos.
As he explains, this is true even for the most remote regions of the country as well.
“Indeed, we cannot envisage the development of the economy of a country [or] region without good communications. And when we talk about ‘good communications,’ we talk about good digital literacy and, of course, that the telecommunication operators are providing good communications to all regions … even to the remote areas. This is crucial for economic and social development,” he explained.
So how is Portugal developing the infrastructure in the remote and hard-to-reach areas?
He describes his experience with several islands in the Azores and Madeira that comprise, “the most peripheral areas in Europe and in my country.” He explained that, “to ensure the cohesion with the continental area, telecommunications are fundamental… for the development of these regions.”
He mentions the two-pronged approach of relying on satellites and submarine cables to provide Internet access to these areas.
“As you know, the submarine cables are the most important aspect. Of course they should be complemented by satellite communications. But in both cases and mainly in the case of submarine cables, they are growing around the world and providing good connections between the different continents and also in the case of our country with the islands.”
“We are doing all we can according with the regulatory powers in order to ensure that [all] people [throughout] the country, even in small villages, are able to have access to Internet,” said Cadete de Matos. “This is crucial to maintain people in these regions and to maintain a sustainable development of the economy and of the society, globally.”
“My main message to all the participants [of PP-18] is that we should profit [from] this occasion to share experience to know what each country and all the participants are doing to improve communications,” he said. “We can benefit from sharing the experience.”