The Generalitat – autonomous government – of Valencia is determined that its citizens and businesses should derive maximum benefit from the latest advances in telecommunications and its applications, and to this end it has set up a trial in which 1, 000 citizens in the town of Villena will receive a personal computer that has […]
The Generalitat – autonomous government – of Valencia is determined that its citizens and businesses should derive maximum benefit from the latest advances in telecommunications and its applications, and to this end it has set up a trial in which 1, 000 citizens in the town of Villena will receive a personal computer that has been suitably connected for them to communicate with a virtual municipal council and beyond. The first stage of the Infoville project has a budget of $1.2m and the autonom ous government has enlisted the collaboration of AT&T Corp, IBM Corp, NCR Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc, Oracle Corp, Servicom Corp, Microsoft Corp, Telefonica de Espana SA and Tissat SA. A virtual municipal council will be created in Villena which wil l be responsible for the co-ordination of the services and functions of this new electronic town. It is hoped that the model for this first global village in Spain will be subsequently applied to other towns – Xatica, Gandia and Alcira are first in line – which will then link up to form a virtual regional council, the following step being to interconnect the entire autonomous region of Valencia. Director of modernization at the Generalitat, Jose Cervera, explained that 90% of the region’s gross domestic product is currently created by small and medium-sized businesses, which despite a tradition of internationalization are finding it hard to compete due to the cost and rudimentary nature of their tools. Rather than feel like a peripheral region in a peripheral country, we must use communication systems to take up a position center stage, Cervera declared. Thus the first 1,000 personal computers, distributed at a price that the users could not refuse, will provide access to a wi de range of services, including home banking, education, health and leisure services, on-line shopping, teleworking, electronic mail and an array of municipal services. One of the main industries in Villena is shoe-making and there is considerable optimism that the Infoville project will boost international trade relations, particularly with North America. Obviously it is our political and social responsibility to bring these kinds of services to all 4 million citizens in the Valencian region , Cervera continued, and we pride ourselves on being one of the most advanced administrations in the development and application of new communication systems in Spain. The Generalitat has its own server for the Internet, Infomol, and plans to promote a new communications network in which universities, telecommunications and computing schools and hopefully other sections of society will all participate. However, unlike its counterparts in Catalonia and the Basque Country, the administration does not wish to become directly involved in the cable business: we believe this is the province of the private sector, Cervera observed. The Generalitat recently signed an agreement with Telefonica de Espana SA whereby the latter will strengthen and extend the administration’s existing communications network and also keep it informed of all future investment plans, with a view to taking the Generalitat’s needs into account in future programs.