Trikala: An unexpected high-tech pioneer

It was a boisterous meeting of the board of INEC, the International Network of E-Communities. They had to decide who would host the next conference of «broadband cities.» The candidates were well-prepared, with exceptional bids from Amsterdam, Malta, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Sao Paolo and Manchester, so the atmosphere was tense when the winner was announced: Trikala. It wasn’t really such a surprise. Soon after joining INEC in January 2007, the central Greek municipality had impressed its digital partners with its innovative technological services for residents and visitors, and the infrastructure which facilitates online services, helping to abolish the red tape that plagues local administration in Greece. What probably tipped the balance in Trikala’s favor was the installation of an ultra-modern, underground optical fiber network linking city services which is due to go into full operation shortly. Optical fibers in Trikala? Though the city’s achievements have made an impact abroad, they are not so well known in Greece. Working quietly and methodically, Trikala has become the most high-tech municipality in Greece. It has made the most of opportunities presented by the Information Society program and funds from the Community Support Framework, as well as learning from visits to cities abroad that have pioneered the use of new technology. Trikala can boast of making new technology into a local industry, with the prospect of being able to export their expertise.

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