SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina, December 17, 2008 - Cisco, USAID and Bosnia-Herzegovina Telekom (BH Telekom) announced the completion of Bosnia's first "digital city" project, connecting 17 municipal institutions in the towns of Srebrenica and Bratunac. The three parties donated equipment and services with a total value of US$1,270,000.
A new high-speed, highly secure broadband network connects local government offices, cultural centers, primary and secondary schools, and health clinics as well as the offices of the local enterpreneurs' association at access speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. The network is used as a platform for both data and voice transfer, and more than 150 Cisco® Unified IP Phones have been installed, enabling unified communications across all connected institutions.
Additionally, a new municipal Web portal has been developed, providing citizens with a one-stop shop for useful information on local government services, administrative procedures and local events. Citizens can also call the municipality's new central contact number to acquire information.
"Events of the late 20th century made the name Srebrenica known all over the world. Nearing the end of the first decade in the 21st century, we would like to be known also for something new and different: leading by example towards a knowledge-based digital city with connected schools, hospitals and a wealth of online services for our residents," said Osman Sulji, mayor of Srebrenica.
People around the globe are well aware of the potential of the Internet, and they expect to be connected and use more online services. A recent study(1) sponsored by Cisco showed that citizens have a large unmet demand for government services such as employment, education and health care resources. The "digital cities" concept is a response to this need, with local governments aiming at developing a broadband infrastructure and helping to ensure that public sector organizations, businesses and citizens have access to affordable high-bandwidth connectivity as well as a choice of online services.
"When we opened our office in Bosnia-Herzegovina's capital, Sarajevo, two years ago, we came with a strong commitment to help build a knowledge-based economy and a connected society. We wanted to share our experience of how technology can be used to enable such important initiatives as economic development, e-government, education and health care," said Kaan Terzioglu, Cisco's vice president for Europe East. "I am proud to see that in collaboration with USAID and BH Telekom, we could help Srebrenica and Bratunac improve services and the quality of life for 50,000 citizens and create a blueprint that can be replicated by other Bosnian cities with similar ambitions."
1 Cities Net Opportunities Study, Illuminas, 2007-2008