The coronavirus pandemic has turned remote work into a lifeline for the world of work in the face of restrictions on movement and mobility. It opened a new way of working in which the so-called empty Spain saw an opportunity. All you need is a good internet connection and mobile phone coverage, a requirement that is difficult to achieve in remote or less city-dwelling areas.
However, there are municipalities that have opted for connectivity and have managed to attract remote workers. Secluded spaces with fiber optics at every door and 5G coverage, a luxury that the vast majority of European capitals already love. These are the 15 best connected small towns – with a population of less than 2,000 – in Spain, according to Telefónica’s ranking.
The list includes: Fresno de Sayago (Zamora), 170 inhabitants; Atrinzana de Abajo (La Rioja) B 230; Casas de Don Gomez (Caceres), 289; Anguciana (La Rioja), 433; Taleja (Badajoz), 665; San Esteban del Valle (Avilla), 720; campeso (alava) 1040; Ainzon (Zaragoza), 1 077; Valverde del Magano (Segovia) 1095; Casalarreina (La Rioja), 1098; Agoncillo (La Rioja), 102 1; Santa Maria de la Alameda (Madrid), 254 1; Labastida (alava), 1454; Arcos (Burgos), 1734, and Buitrago de Lozoya (Madrid), 1884.
Ask the residents of Táliga (Badajoz), whose population is less than 700, who, thanks to this connection, can already obtain an electronic prescription at the pharmacy, expedite the request for an appointment or carry out procedures at the medical office, school or city hall itself. As Mayor David Fernandez explained, “With the connectivity Movistar provided us, connectivity has improved 200%, providing more safety, calm and efficiency in both residential and professional areas.”
In this sense, Spain already has a population that has a mobile connection, even with 5G, and fiber is higher than that available in some European countries such as Italy, Germany, the UK or Poland, according to data from the FTTH Council.
The mayor of Casas de Don Gómez, Vicente Mateus, acts as a spokesperson for many of the neighbours: “The most important thing for us is that having good internet coverage allows us to work from home and perform many steps that previously took twice as long. by phone or in person.
Also relevant is the case of Edurta Loma, owner of the fine-dining Aria restaurant, who two years ago returned to his home town of Alava of just over 1,000 inhabitants, Santa Cruz de Campeso, to open his own business, a new and successful gastronomic concept that is In the heart of the Alava Mountains.
In this context of the natural expansion of connectivity, two new factors emerged last year as a result of the epidemic that appreciated the presence of connectivity, even in small municipalities: on the one hand, the growing movement of the population towards second homes, and, on the other hand, the greater use of the residential network as a result of the consolidation of the study on remote and remote work. In fact, according to data from Telefónica, the growth in traffic on the Movistar IP network between January and December 2020 amounted to 25%, while in previous years it ranged from about 100% to 15%.
An emblematic example is Buitrago de Lozoya, where web traffic between January 2020 and March 2021 grew by 167%. Also Anguciana and Casalarreina, the second seat of many Basques and one of the first municipalities in La Rioja to have their entire network via optical fibers, network usage records are much higher than usual.
Mobile telephony also plays a crucial role because thanks to the new generation of mobile phones, mobile Internet coverage has been equated with fixed broadband.
This is the ranking of the small towns with the best 5G connection: Hoz de Jaca (Huesca), 71 inhabitants; Navatjaris (Avilla), 80; Rio de Cerdanya (Lida), 111; Pradina de Rincon (Madrid), 127; San Miguel de Aguayo (Cantabria), 159; Sojuela (La Rioja), 227; Peralida de San Roman (Caceres), 283; Arrieta (Vizcaya), 558; Ceruelos (Toledo), 679; Montegodo (Navarra) has 1,145 inhabitants.
As Javier Gutiérrez, Director of Strategy and Network Development at Telefónica Spain notes, “Network extensions were planned taking into account specific traffic patterns that recur every year. In 2020, these patterns were not met by covid-19 and there were extraordinary increases in both volume Despite all this, the Movistar Network has been able to handle this movement because it is of good proportions, maintaining a balance between efficient investment and growth capacity.”