COM³ pilots: better WiFi access for visitors and local businesses

19 May 2020 - Published by P. Khodabakhsh
The COM³ pilot in Torsby has now reached a first milestone: public WiFi access points have been installed to provide a better internet connection and a gateway to local digital services.

During normal times, more than 2 million guest visits are counted in Torsby in the Swedish province of Värmland every year. Many visitors attend large-scale events, such as motor sports competitions, football tournaments and street markets. During such events, the mobile broadband coverage is often not strong enough for the large number of visitors. For local businesses and associations, this causes a loss of income as popular online payment solutions require a stable internet connection.

In their regional COM³ pilot, Torsby municipality, Värmland County Administrative Board and Compare are working together to overcome this problem. As a first step, they have now purchased and installed public WiFi access points to ensure a reliable internet connection to visitors of Torsby.

André Liljemark, project manager in Torsby, explains: “In recent years, we have seen problems at major events when a large number of visitors come to a limited area. Visitors may want to call, send e-mails or photos and make payments via their phone. At the same time TV and radio want to broadcast reportage from the event. For all these digital connections to work, a strong WiFi is required.”

The big annual arrangements are important for trade and tourism and create jobs in the local economy.

WiFi system as a gateway to local digital services

The next step for Torsby will be to develop a system to couple the WiFi connection to local digital services. For example, it could be used to promote local shops and provide a better visitor experience for those attending the events by connecting them with local citizens, businesses and associations. To find out how exactly this system will look like, COM³ partners will listen to and involve local businesses and associations in the further planning and design process.

Using the Coronavirus crisis to develop digital skills

“It may sound like a paradox, but the current situation is a good time to get prepared for bigger events in the post Corona time. All involved stakeholders can now reflect on their digital needs and possibilities and at the same time practice and develop their digital skills in this exercise”, says André.

Learn more about the COM³ pilot in Torsby here