In this period of emergency due to the Covid-19, Action Group 5, focused on connectivity and accessibility to services of general interest, intends to reaffirm the importance of a robust digital infrastructure and widespread digitization of services, especially for disadvantaged areas such as rural or mountain areas. It is clear to everyone how much the use of digital technologies has increased in this period of crisis. However, this must be structurally supported by a common technology development policy throughout the Alps and coordinated at European level. But Digitalization is not only about infrastructures, it is also about the use of these technologies and about digital skills. With the Covid-19 crisis, schools were closed from one day to another. Teachers had to apply methods of distance learning. Offices are closed and the labour force is working from home. Municipalities have to rely on digital tools to communicate with their citizens etc. In these days, our way of living and of working is changing fundamentally. This will have a long term impact on our society and economy, and while we strive to return to normality as soon as possible, we think that some of those new transformations are here to stay. Municipalities and regions, which are not yet “Smart”, will strive to become Smart regions or Smart villages as soon as possible.
For these reasons, AG5 calls upon the public authorities to speed up as main priorities the rollout of modern and robust digital infrastructures also in remote alpine areas and to support the wide adoption of the Smart villages-approach. AG5 has developed a common methodology and good cases for Smart villages and will further promote this approach in the upcoming months to help mountain territories in improving their digital skills and becoming Smart regions and Smart villages.