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Opinion | The nonsense of the Government for the digitization of Spain

Date: April 1, 2023 Time: 23:45:45

We have already warned you. This Government, definitively, suspends its responsibilities for the digital transformation of this country. Just at the moment when we need it the most and when both the public administrations, as well as the citizens, the industry and the sector itself, expected that those more than 27,000 million euros of the Next Generation Funds with which it comes to help the EU for the digitization of our country, give them the boost they needed.

We play a lot. We compete with all countries for having the most powerful industries, the most technological SMEs, the best-trained citizens, the connected territories, the smallest digital divide and the possibility of attracting investors and large companies.

For this Executive, promoting the digitization of the country means creating agendas, strategies, plans and advisory councils, to then dedicate most of the European funds to projects that they have decided at their discretion and without consulting the sectors or the Autonomous Communities. Without the ability to manage all this money, which must be spent urgently to comply with Europe, on projects that are mostly without demand, interest, or utility.

And it is that, to receive the money from Europe, the EC asked us to approve, before the end of 2023, some laws for digitization such as the General Telecommunications Law, the Audiovisual Communication Law, the StartUps Law or the Cybersecurity Law 5G. All were approved with the support of the PP in the Cortes Generales during 2022, thus responding to the demands of Europe and thus avoiding hindering compliance with these obligations. Easier, impossible.

In all of them, the Government must approve the regulations of each one of them to develop them and it has not done anything yet. The most notable case is that of 5G Cybersecurity, approved without processing a bill, which required qualifying 5G technology suppliers within a period of 3 months, to guarantee security in the uses of the network. This was in the month of March 2022 and we still don’t know anything. It is clear that this coalition government has not understood how important the communication networks of a country are, it is more busy and concerned with trying to save the coalition government and thus be able to stabilize Moncloa. In addition, the Executive knows that cash cannot be made with the telecommunications operators.

To deploy 5G networks, frequencies are needed that, in Spain, already cost the operators more than 1,000 million euros in the 700MHz auction (October 2021), while in the 26 GHz auction (December 2022) the failure was loud. The Government was only able to award 75% of the frequencies, with no interest for private companies to obtain any and the award of the blocks reserved for the CCAAs being void.

Also, the absence of the Telecommunications Law Regulations, for almost 9 months, makes administrative actions for use even more difficult. And then there is the Audiovisual Communication Law, which has created real legal uncertainty and a new risk for the producers, platforms and investors themselves.

But the suspense in capital letters of Pedro Sánchez, we find it in the definition of the digitization projects with European money and in the management of their execution. Actions that nobody knew anything about, neither the citizens, nor the companies, nor the SMEs, nor the Public Administrations, nor the Autonomous Communities. And now everything is problems and surprises.

Many calls are being left almost deserted and there is no longer flexibility to change the route. The government’s trick is to give the CCAAs and public companies the money -late- and let them get by. Calls without closing and others that have not even started; and justifiable expenses are not well clarified. Furthermore, these projects are of no interest and companies and citizens do not demand them. So, for whom has digital transformation been thought? This transformation affects us all, it is something very serious: we are talking about the digital transformation of our country.

At least it is unfortunate and serious that this government is going to transfer a total of 580 million euros to the CCAA for digitization projects that have been invented, which have not consulted with the affected sector. In addition, to curl the loop, if the autonomous communities do not execute those millions because there is no demand, they must return the money with interest.

We have many examples of this failure. The famous Digital Kit; the Social Bonus, for vulnerable groups that will unsubscribe after the year has elapsed, because it is not a sustainable strategy; the UNICO Edificios program, to co-finance internet networks for buildings built before the year 2000, as if they did not already have it; o UNICO Networks for mobile coverage in 4G services in areas without minimum services, resolved without any request. When things are designed badly, it is impossible for them to end up working well. In the case of the Digital Kit, with 3,000 million euros from European funds, at the moment only half of the money has been summoned with 290,000 applications out of a total of one and a half million that the minister expected. And there are ten months left to award 1,400 million euros for antivirus, websites and things like that. And that the objective was to transform the companies of our country, supported by technology. In the same way, we will see what the 3,500 million euros for digital skills of citizens remain, which we should notice something.

In short, we already know that the objectives will not be met and that we will repeat the course, but this time, moreover, without money. By the end of 2023, most digitization actions must be presented, highlighted and committed. And then, billions to return due to the inability of a government that, I insist, is only waiting to stabilize in La Moncloa, whatever the cost.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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