On the sidelines of the seminar "Terras de Trás-os-Montes 2030 - Pensar o Presente, Projetar o Futuro", in Bragança, where the strategy for the region in the coming years was presented, Isabel Ferreira explained to journalists that the survey process that led to this number of so-called white zones was "a long process, which took two years" because it was done "house by house".
This more detailed identification was a change from the last European survey, which was conducted by the parish.
She also explained that not only houses are included, but also businesses and even areas with agricultural land.
To resolve these shortcomings, "we also had to wait for regulations at European level. We had to do all the negotiations with the European Commission, since it will mobilise a significant part of the regional European funds, although it also has a part coming from the state budget," said Isabel Ferreira, who said that European "formal authorisation" had already been granted.
These areas without broadband are "in the interior territories: "The Alentejo region is, of all regions, the one where there is the greatest need for investment. But the volume is significant in all of them," said Isabel Ferreira, adding that these inland regions "are a priority" and that this is why regional European funds will be allocated to them.
The installation will take place in mainland Portugal and the Autonomous Regions and will have to be completed in three years, "although 75 per cent of the effort will have to be made in the first two years", explained Isabel Ferreira.
The tender will be formally launched by a consortium of organisations between the regional coordination and development commissions and the two governments of the autonomous regions.
On November 23, the government approved the launch of the international public tender for the installation of fibre optic networks in the interior, an investment of 425 million euros, according to a statement from the Council of Ministers.
It is intended for the "installation, management, operation and maintenance of fibre optic networks for territories where it does not exist, or does not exist with quality", the statement reads. It will allow "especially in the interior of the country, broadband internet access".