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From: Patrick SCHOULLER 
Subject:  programme eTEN. La région de Shannon en   Irlande  cherche un partenaire français   


eTowns: a project proposal under the eTEN programme


eTEN background
The eTEN programme supports activities necessary for the market validation or
deployment of certain trans-European electronic services in the European
Union.


The service should already exist, at least as a tested and working prototype;
the information content of the service must be available, if relevant. All
systems and service proposed for eTEN funding should be based on existing or
mature technology, i.e. it should be possible to demonstrate at least the
fully
developed and tested prototype service at the proposal stage. All R&D work
should be completed on both the technical and content aspects of the system.

Market validation projects are eligible under the eTEN programme. These are
the
testing of the viability of a service. Project proposal in this phase must
start from an existing operational or fully developed and tested prototype
system or service. Market validation includes demonstration of a pilot
service;
peer review of the service; feedback from users; report on findings including
assessment, actions for deployment and a business/investment plan.

Also eligible separately are actions for initial deployment, helping to launch
services in a real life environment, following market validation. 

Six themes have been identified by eTEN. Proposals can address one or more
themes:  
Ø       eGovernance (electronic services provided by public administration and
facilitating citizen participation)

Ø       eHealth (electronic services for the provision of healthcare

Ø       eInclusion (public services to bridge the “digital divide”)

Ø       eLearning (improve the quality of learning through access to the
internet and multi-media technologies)

Ø       Trust and security ( raising the level of trust and confidence in the
information society)

Ø       SMEs (facilitate the full participation of SMEs in the economy)



The eTowns project
The eTowns project originally developed in the Shannon Region of Ireland under
the EU RISI (Regional Information Society Initiative, ERDF art 10). RISI
showed
in 1999 that in regions like Shannon, the low density rural population
represented a major challenge for the adoption of information and
communications technology (ICT). A focused strategy was essential to
disseminate ICT to rural areas.

The response was the development of the eTowns system in the Shannon Region,
supported by the EU Innovative Actions programme, 2002-05. In Shannon, this
involved preliminary work in selecting four pilot villages, and working in
partnership with local government and community groups to strengthen the
capability of the four villages to embrace ICT, particularly through local
planning, animation and investment strategies for ICT. The outcome of the
eTowns project was an action plan for use of ICT in each village, spilling out
into the rural areas around the centres and mobilising capacity for exploiting
ICT by the local population. 

Emergence of eTowns as a trans-national idea
As the eTowns project grew, it became evident that the project would benefit
from a trans-national dimension, and could be helpful as a vehicle for
transfer
of experience to other areas. In particular, the essential process of
galvanising ICT in a strategic rural settlement became clear as incorporating
discrete steps:  
Ø       Clarifying the rural settlement strategy in the region in its
implication for ICT 
Ø       Selecting and defining the role of individual settlements for a rural
ICT strategy
Ø       Adapting existing settlement plans to the needs of the information
society
Ø       Animation in the use of ICT by people from the selected key
settlements
Ø       Development proposals for further action by each key settlement as an
ICT hub for the surrounding rural region.

In addition, discussion highlighted a series of critical horizontal themes
than
needed to be addressed at each stage of the process above:

eEnterprise:Enlarging the use of ICT by rural-based SMEs
eInfrastructure:Addressing the core infrastructure deficits that impede the
take-up of ICT in the eTowns
eEnvironment:Modifying the spatial plans for the villages to incorporate more
effectively the ICT dimension
eGovernance:Integrating the ICT initiatives in the eTowns with the
machinery of
local and regional government.

While preliminary discussions with potential trans-national partners strongly
confirmed this approach, the eTowns project, due to lack of resources, did not
develop further as a trans-national mechanism.

eTowns and an eTEN initiative
The eTowns project offers several ingredients that support the eTEN
objectives:
1.      eTowns supports the four themes of eGovernance, eLearning, eInclusion,
eSMEs.

2.      eTowns is a new technique to address the challenge of the digital
divide
in rural regions, integrating ICT with key settlement strategy.

3.      Under RISI and Innovative Actions, eTowns has already moved beyond the
R&D phase; support from eTEN would bring eTowns through market validation.    
Further information:
Brian Callanan
Research & EU
Shannon Development
Shannon
County Clare
Ireland
Tel: +353-(0)61-710227
Mobile: +353-(0)86-9678003
Email: callananb@shannondev.ie
Web: www.shannondev.ie

Patrick SCHOULLER
Ministère de l'Economie des Finances et de l'Industrie
Direction Générale des Entreprises - STSI
Représentant national aux comités des programmes IST, E-TEN, E-CONTENT,
SIAP, MODINIS, IDABC
Site : http://www.telecom.gouv.fr
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