Five thousand villages in remote areas across Greece have gained a new window into the rest of the world, with broadband internet access for the first time.

Among the villages to experience this digital renaissance is Megalo Papigo located in the Zagori region near the Pindos Mountains in northern Greece.

As a result, the area has experienced an increase in tourism to the area, with 30 per cent growth in tourist bookings.

“The tourism and technology sectors are developing in parallel and it is very important for us, the entrepreneurs, to take a step forward to provide the best possible service,” said Elsa Exarhou Kenteri, manager of Mikro Papigo 1700 Hotel & Spa.

A number of start ups and businesses have also been able to stay in the areas they were established without having to move their facilities to urban areas, according to Antonis Tzortzakakis from the Ministry of Digital Governance.

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Meanwhile broadband internet connection has also had positives for the agricultural industry.

“Our agricultural products are sold all over the world, via the Internet,” said Mayor of Zagori, George Soukouvelos. “Our village, our region has come out of isolation.”

The project, a collaboration between the public and private sectors supported by the European Union, has a total budget of €199,715,754.

So far OTE, Greece’s largest tech company, has installed 12,000 kilometres of optical fibre in over 2,000 remote villages, providing Internet access to 320,000 inhabitants.

The networks will be operated by OTE for the next 15 years, after which the infrastructures will be transferred back to the State.

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