However, a key problem holding back the development of Greece’s online future is the high cost of telecommunications services. Based on market data, internet in the country is of the slowest and most expensive in Europe, while broadband penetration rates are among the lowest in the region, with Greece beating only Romania and Bulgaria.
The Municipality of Athens is moving to provide free Wi-fi in all 129 central neighbourhoods in its jurisdiction as part of a switch to the digital age.
In the last few months, the municipality has installed and operated eleven free Wi-Fi networks in busy areas of the city, so that as many citizens as possible have access to digital services, saving data and money.
More than 100,000 users have used them, while almost 300,000 unique connections have been made.
Referring to the first free Wi-fi networks, the Athens mayor, Costas Bakogiannis, noted that "this initiative marks the beginning of a new era, in which free citizen-centred services are expanding in the digital space. Our goal is to extend the program to all 129 neighbourhoods of Athens, so that every citizen and every visitor of the city has the opportunity, within the framework of equal opportunities, to use the internet, from wherever it is," he added and pointed out: "Athens has entered dynamically into the new digital age."
In the last two years, the municipality has developed a series of steps, creating new digital infrastructures and services helping reduce the time needed for red tape procedures.
“The Municipality of Athens has already created 118 easy-to-use digital services, which are oriented to the needs of citizens and businesses. Thousands of citizens now receive certificates and documents with a few "clicks" from their computer, thus avoiding the need to visit state services, queue up, and helping prevent overcrowding,” according to the municipality.
The points where the free wireless network is provided are the following: Syntagma Square, Lycabettus Square, Iroon Square (Psyrri Square), Kotzia Square, Seraphio of the Municipality of Athens, Central Library of the Municipality of Athens (Domokou 2), Cultural Center (Acadimas 50) Liosion 22, Karamanou Square, Plateia Karamanou, 1st Cemetery of Athens and KEP Victoria.
One of Europe’s laggards in adopting digital technologies, Greece has picked up the pace of adopting online services amidst the pandemic.
Among the new services going online in coming weeks from the Digital Governance Ministry are property transfers, the setting up of a sole proprietorship business and consensual divorce.