Let’s build a digital future for rural areas

Does your region offer a future-proof digital environment? Not sure? CORA provides tools to identify and address the right challenges.

For rural areas to stay attractive for families and businesses, they need a healthy digital environment. This entails a digital infrastructure, well-developed digital services, and sufficient digital skills among the population.  

However, investments in digital infrastructure are often too low in rural areas due to high financial risks, and digital skills fall short of the desirable level. And while local authorities are often not aware of their future digital needs, end-users‘ skills are too limited to create an effective level of demand.

The CORA partners help local authorities to identify their specific set of challenges and test innovative solutions designed to bridge the digital divide in the North Sea Region.

CORA training platform

The CORA project has launched a comprehensive online training platform designed to help trainers and public authorities to increase digital capacity in remote areas. The free courses help users understand the local digital environment by providing guiding measures, listing challenges and solutions, and giving examples. Learn how to increase digital literacy in your region, set up a digital hub, roll out broadband infrastructure or stay safe in the digital world.

Example of a CORA video tutorial:

Several regions tested the newly acquired knowledge and skills, implemented pilots and shared their success stories.

The e-learning platform already includes multiple free courses, with new courses being added every month.

300 Norwegian seniors go More Digital

Seniors in the Hedmark region of Norway have improved their digital skills through participating in CORA’s More Digital initiative. The initiative is a huge success in the municipalities of Eidskog, Kongsvinger and Grue.

Collaboration across municipal boundaries, sectors and generations has helped the seniors become inspired and motivated to learn more about the use of tablets, smartphones and the Internet.

Teenagers in the three municipalities have offered their services as computer guides and helped bridge the generations. The seniors praised the youth for their patience and kindness during the trainings.

Good neighbours: Countries share digital infrastructure

In the framework of CORA, a solution was found to bring reliable internet to a remote area in Norway located close to the Swedish border: An existing optical fibre cable on the Swedish side will soon be extended to Norway.

The area between Torsby Municipality in Sweden and Grue Municipality in Norway is very rural and consists mostly of dense forest. However, there is a village and a conference hotel on the Norwegian side of the border, and they need good broadband connection.

Partners from Sweden (Värmland County Administrative Board and Torsby Municipality) and Norway (Hedmark County Council and Grue Municipality) began the process by sorting out the legal issues of extending the broadband from Sweden to Norway, such as checking the regulations of the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority and the Norwegian Communications Authority.

As  no legal obstacles were found, the Swedish Torsby municipality laid the optic fibre cable through the Swedish part of the lake Röjden which spans the border between the two countries. The next step is to make an access point operational just at the border, allowing the Norwegian authorities to extend the cable into Norway and bring robust internet to the local area.

Cables extending from Sweden to Norway are being laid in the lake Röjden. Photo: CORA.

It felt natural for Torsby municipality to offer its fibre to the Norwegian side because the two border regions have a long-standing tradition of cooperation. Many people commute across the border every day to work in the other country, and cooperation is common even among customs and police authorities as well as ambulance personnel on each side of the border.

The cross-border broadband creates mutual benefits by offering new options to exchange services provided via broadband. In the first stage, Norway will buy services from Sweden, however once the Norwegian side has developed their broadband network, they can also offer services to Swedish buyers. This enhances stability in the broadband networks of both regions and provides more freedom of choice for households and companies located in the border zone.

This collaboration shows that as neighbours we can do things together, we can help each other, even share infrastructure. And we can have lots of fun while doing this!

About the author
Darijus Valiucko is a Project Manager at atene KOM. He acts as a Communication Manager for the CORA project.

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