For Wallonia to get out of the gray zone

The Walloon government is putting resources on the table so that Wallonia finally becomes a fully connected territory.

It was last week: we learned that Belgium had lost four places in the ranking of the Digital economy and society index, the Desi, which is based on the progress of the Member States in terms of digitalization. Belgium is behind on digital, nothing new under the sun. But the release of this report targeting the Belgian shortcomings in terms of 5G, optical fiber and the formation of IT profiles has confirmed the feeling of stagnation, even of regression on several key points. A few years ago, Belgium was still part of the top 5 of this ranking thanks in particular to excellent connectivity. Today, she drops to 16th place. Responsible for digital at the national level, Mathieu Michel called on the federated entities to react, particularly on the connectivity of their territories.

Coincidence of the calendar or not, Wallonia announces today that it will release a budget of 253 million euros from its recovery plan to equip itself with the “digital infrastructures necessary to continue to evolve in a sustainable way in its increasing digitization”. Objective: to make Wallonia a territory fully connected to broadband by 2024. This requires 5G and fiber optics. Files that are advancing, but too slowly, particularly in Brussels and Wallonia. For the south of the country, the risk is to end up with a two-speed region with some areas that would be set aside for lack of sufficient connectivity. The Walloon government wants to avoid this and therefore takes a strong action by releasing this budget.

Admittedly, a call for projects has been launched to find the technological solutions necessary to cover these areas and, at the same time, Wallonia will acquire four regional 5G demonstrators for “Manufacturing”, “Smart city”, ” Smart Rurality” and the “Citizen”. Certainly, these laboratories should bring out projects and companies based on 5G technology. But “project” and “laboratory” are words that should no longer be associated with technologies like 5G and fiber optics that have already become standards in the countries around us. But we are still at this stage, okay. Fortunately, there is still time to take the bull by the antennae.

“Project” and “laboratory” are words that we should no longer see associated with technologies such as 5G and fiber optics which have already become standards in the countries around us.

The idea is not to glean a few places in a European ranking to be able to make fun of it, but rather to guarantee a future connected to the territory. The attractiveness and economic development of Wallonia and its companies are at stake, at the risk of becoming a forgotten gray area on the digital map.

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