Press Release  | 

Alt Pirineu joins the 5G Areas project to boost the competitiveness of its economic driving forces via 5G

  • The regional development project is promoted by the Ministry of the Vice-Presidency and for Digital Policy and Territory of the Regional Government of Catalonia in collaboration with Mobile World Capital Barcelona, i2CAT Foundation, IDAPA (Institute for the Development and Promotion of Alt Pirineu i Aran), Lleida Provincial Council, Seu d’Urgell Town Council, Tremp Town Council and Lleida Chamber of Commerce

  • The geographical scope of the Alt Pirineu 5G Area covers the Alta Ribagorça, Pallars Sobirà, Pallars Jussà, Alt Urgell and Solsonès regions

  • The Alt Pirineu 5G Area will generate use cases to boost the sectors that are the driving forces behind area's economy, such as agriculture and livestock; culture, tourism and mountain sports; the circular economy; and the green transition.

  • The 5G areas implemented throughout Catalonia are aimed at promoting this technology in the region through training and dissemination activities, workshops, concept trials and laboratories

Organyà, 24 November 2021. A new extension to the 5G Area project was presented in Organyà this morning. This project is promoted by the Regional Government of Catalonia, through the Ministry of the Vice-Presidency and for Digital Policy and Territory, as part of Catalonia's 5G Strategy. The Alt Pirineu 5G Area involves the support and collaboration of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, i2CAT Foundation, Lleida Provincial Council, Seu d’Urgell Town Council, Tremp Town Council and Lleida Chamber of Commerce.

The 5G Areas are intended to enhance the Catalan 5G ecosystem and to turn Catalonia into an international benchmark for 5G technology. This means, in short, innovating from within the territory, for the territory. Its objectives are to improve existing technological services throughout Catalonia, to promote commercial use of the 5G network and to encourage its deployment by promoting use cases and concept trials in real environments and stimulating a digital economy beyond the cities. The aim is to boost the local economy while bringing agents into contact with the ecosystem and promoting participation.

According to Jordi Puigneró, Vice President of the Government and Minister for Digital Policy and Territory, "Connectivity is the new social right of the twenty-first century. In order to consolidate this right and make Catalonia a digital nation of empowered citizens, it is essential to extend the Catalan Government's fibre-optic network and 5G technology to all parts of the country. The arrival of the 5G Area in Alt Pirineu should be a major step towards repopulation, as it will help bring people and businesses into the area and promote more homogeneous and balanced economic and social development."

The 5G Areas are expected to become both long-lasting structures throughout Catalonia with a model of public and private co-investment and also benchmarks for disseminating and providing training in the potential offered by this technology, its facilitating and integrating nature and its capacity to generate new business models. They are also a tool to promote the repopulation of these areas, encouraging digital talent to settle in response to the region’s digital transformation.


Alt Pirineu 5G Area Project

The Alt Pirineu 5G Area has been established to improve citizen well-being and business competitiveness in the Alta Ribagorça, Pallars Sobirà, Pallars Jussà, Alt Urgell and Solsonès regions. This was stated by Jaume Saltó, President of Lleida Chamber of Commerce, who explained that "companies in Lleida need 5G as a tool for competitiveness".

Companies will be informed through dissemination meetings, workshops and pilot projects about how 5G can help transform their management and business models, making them more efficient and yielding new revenues. Moreover, this 5G Area will help the region become a testing ground for future innovation projects. In fact, there are also plans to monitor competitive funding opportunities relating to the challenges and capacities of the regions and institutions in the different Areas.

Pere Porta, Director of the Institute for the Development and Promotion of Alt Pirineu i Aran (IDAPA), spoke of "the importance of this technology project with a territorial scope that will enable regions in Alt Pirineu to have 5G connectivity like the rest of Catalonia, despite having less than 1% of the population and almost 18% of the territory of Catalonia. Being able to cooperate and transfer knowledge in key areas in the Pyrenees, such as agriculture and livestock farming, and culture, tourism and sport, should have a positive impact on business competitiveness and, above all, on people's quality of life".

According to Eduard Martín, CIO and Director of Intelligent Connectivity at Mobile World Capital Barcelona, “The Alt Pirineu 5G Area will improve the most relevant economic sectors in the area through 5G technology. The initiatives being promoted through this project will have a very significant socioeconomic impact on people in these regions. They will also enable us to identify the 5G applications that will help make their business network more competitive, involving its players directly and helping them detect the benefits of this technology”.

The areas of knowledge in which the creation of 5G use cases is focused are related to the driving forces behind these regions' economy: the agriculture and livestock sector, small producers in mountain regions, culture, tourism, countryside sports, the circular economy and the green transition.

In the Area's initial phase, there are plans for 5G NSA indoor coverage at the headquarters of CETAP (Alt Pirineu Enterprise and Technology Centre) in Les Monges Cultural Centre (La Seu d'Urgell).

Francesc Viaplana, Mayor of La Seu d'Urgell, explained that "La Seu and Alt Pirineu do not want to be left behind in terms of the country's digital policies. In order to combat depopulation in our municipalities, but above all to retain and attract talent, we need to provide tools that will enable companies in our territory to be competitive, just like any other in the metropolitan area, and to have good connectivity, among other aspects. That is why, for some time now, La Seu Town Council has been working to make a tech hub a reality in our city. Within the framework of this project, at a meeting with the President of Lleida Chamber of Commerce, he spoke of the importance of having a 5G Area. Realising its importance, our Town Council offered to the Secretariat of Digital Policies to host the Alt Pirineu 5G Area."

Meanwhile, Carles Gibert, Vice-President of Lleida Provincial Council's Economic Promotion Board, highlighted that introducing 5G technology "uses less electricity. In other words, on the one hand, it will allow data to be exchanged faster and, on the other, it will allow more devices to be connected at the same time, all with less energy consumption. Energy consumption will be reduced by around 90% in these operations, an important factor in saving energy and contributing to sustainability and being respectful towards the planet, especially in an environment such as the Pyrenean regions, which are carrying out a process to transform the economic model based on absolute respect for the environment, which is its main attraction and what makes it unique."

In this regard, Rosa Paradell, Director of Innovation and Business Development for the Public Sector at the i2CAT Foundation, added that the launch of the Alt Pirineu 5G Area "will help to develop local economic activity and improve service delivery through innovation in the areas of mobility, access to health, education and small-scale local trade through 5G technology".


A collaborative project

This project will join the Terres de l’Ebre, Ponent, Camp de Tarragona, Penedès, Central Catalonia and Girona 5G Areas, which were announced in recent months and seek to boost and digitise areas that include the rural, livestock, agrifood, public health, commercial, logistics, tourism and energy sectors.

The Alt Pirineu 5G Area would not be possible without the combined work of the region's different institutions and players, providing their skills and knowledge to boost the impact of 5G technology in the area.