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Formentera responds to Madrid's call for cutting-edge initiatives

MIRADOR PREMSAThe Formentera Council has unveiled its contribution to an initiative called 'Islas Inteligentes' (smart islands) launched by the state-run Red.es website, an outgrowth of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Formentera's proposal, entitled «Formentera, the smallest but the smartest», is founded on the principle of using next generation technology to preserve our surroundings and improve public services.

The head of the new technologies department, Rafael González, said the 'Islas Inteligentes' call for applications had been an opportunity to breathe life into projects «that we'd worked on but never made public due to budgetary restrictions».

According to Councillor González, «if the Ministry wanted to use the proposed projects it would be a giant step forward. It would be an opportunity to implement initiatives that were imagined for some point in the future». He continued, «we're realistic though. We tailored the bid competitively, but know we're up against some steep competition».

Among the many measures proposed in the bid, there is the idea of installing scales in rubbish bins that would warn collection vans in those cases a bin is only partially full, hence saving vans a pointless journey. Another proposes advising travellers of the time before a bus arrives. A third suggests dimming pavement street lamps when no pedestrians are detected. Still another proposes allowing residents to carry out municipal formalities on the Internet.

The Council estimates the initiatives would require a budget, tax included, of 1,932,642 euros. 'Islas Inteligentes' set the maximum budget at 10 million euros per project. Councillor González explained Formentera's decision to keep the figure low «came from our desire to make something both financially-solvent and realistic». He continued: «More than a letter to Father Christmas, we wanted to draft proposals of projects we knew we could implement and maintain. Projects in keeping with what we try to promote here on the island: respect for the natural surroundings and tranquility».

Court rules in favour of CiF, calls on Telefònica to pay damages

foto consell premsaThe legal offices of the Formentera Council have announced the administration will receive 6,000 euros in damages from the Telefònica company for a four-month delay in provision of services. On 30 September the second court of Palma dismissed an administrative appeal lodged in contentious court by Telefònica which took issue with a ruling of the Formentera Council’s government commission. As head of CiF legal services Àngel Navarro explained, the commission had ruled in favour of serving Telefònica – the company awarded the contract to provide the Council's telecom services – with two 3,000-euro fines for infractions classified molt greus (‘very serious’). The court found Telefònica had indeed failed to comply with the timeline established in the contract signed by the two parties.

The contract was made official on the first of September 2014, from which time Telefònica had two months – or until the beginning of November – to fully implement telecom services. Those services were ultimately not in place until six months after the contract’s signing. The court sentence states that failure caused the Council damages that were «evident and unquestionable damages». In the same ruling, Telefònica is ordered to bear the legal expenses – up to a màximum of 1,500 euros – occasioned by the process. According to the Council’s legal services, the ruling is binding and cannot be appealed.

CiF and ACAF renew concerted action for Ràdio Illa content production

accio concertada radioillaRenewing their commitment to quality content production at Ràdio Illa, Formentera's public radio station, the Consell de Formentera and the Associació Cultural Audiovisual de Formentera (ACAF) have once again signed a joint accord in the amount of €33,000.

The deal stipulates that in 2015, the ACAF will be responsible not only for producing the daily news magazine De Far a Far, but also coordinating the remainder of the station's volunteer-based programming.

Such joint action is a manner in which the public and the private sectors can come together to provide a specific service. CiF president Jaume Ferrer expressed his satisfaction with the state of operations at Ràdio Illa, declaring the station had “made an important leap forward in terms of quality”.

Paco Pérez declared that ACAF's goal would continue to be “to keep Ràdio Illa in the collective consciousness of Formentera”.

Condolences for Sister Francisca and Don Pep

Last Friday, 20 February, was marked by the passing of Francisca Serra Llabrès, or Sister Francisca, a nun of the Catholic church of Formentera. Born in Establiments, Mallorca in 1921 and arriving in Formentera in 1955, over the course of more than fifty years 'Sor Francisca' came to be known for her work in service of the needy and her schooling of generations of local children. The year 2006 attended Sor Francisca's honouring as Adoptive daughter of Formentera. Tuesday, 25 February at 7pm in the Sant Francesc Xavier church, a funeral mass will be held in her memory.

Yesterday, 23 February, saw the passing of Josep Costa Guasch, or Don Pep as he was affectionately known on the island. Born on Eivissa in 1933, Don Pep served as monsignor of the Sant Ferran parish and helped many children without resources into secondary and higher education across the archipelago. Don Pep is remembered for his fomenting of numerous initiatives in support of youth and sport on the island. Among these, he is notably celebrated for his collaboration founding the Societat Esportiva Formentera, the Formentera Sports Society. In 2010 Don Pep was honoured with the Premi Sant Jaume. Wednesday at noon will attend a wake for the island's beloved monsignor at the Santa Creu church to be followed at 4:30 by his funeral service. May the two souls rest in peace.

Deal struck with Telefónica on safety measures for underwater telecom cable

Formentera's councillor of the environment and new technologies Silvia Tur and head of tech services Jaume Zaragoza met last Friday with local Telefónica representatives to evaluate the safety measures put in place last summer to protect the underwater telecom cable connecting Eivissa and Formentera. The representatives also discussed another important issue: progress being made with the implementation of 4G technology on the smaller Pitiüsa island.

Participants at the meeting praised “a summer without service interruptions on the island”. According to Councillor Tur: “This was in good part thanks to controls agreed upon in May 2014 by the Govern Balear, the Formentera Council, the Sant Josep Council and Telefónica to protect the fibre optic cable at Cala Jondal and Cala Saona”.

Tur explained how the success of these controls until present had been the motivation behind the Formentera Council's desire “to keep them in place”. For their part, Telefónica representatives committed to maintenance of the equipment currently installed on Formentera that is devised as a back-up in the event that sea-level protections fail.

Nearly two years ago, on 16 June and 30 July 2013, Internet and telephone service was temporarily lost across the entire island after a submarine cable linking Formentera with Eivissa was severed. Beyond a chilling effect on local tourism, the cuts effected interruptions to even the most basic services on Formentera, including emergency response, services of the hospital and local public administration, ATMs and travel agencies.

4G technology

Another issue discussed at the encounter was the arrival of 4G technology on the island. Silvia Tur indicated that the representatives from Telefónica had assured that “all the necessary equipment [was] already here on the island, and that for the time being its implementation [was] pending only the freeing up of radio waves. Due to a deferment of the already established deadline, these radio waves are currently set to be freed up – and subsequently made available to telephone service providers – in March”. The radio waves are currently occupied by television signal providers.

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