Cantal is working on the winning combination to ‘bring in’ remote workers

By going this Tuesday, August 23 to Aurillac (Cantal) to attend the 17th edition of the Rural Exhibition, Minister Plenipotentiary for Digital Transformation and Telecommunications Jean Noel Barrow and Secretary of State to the Minister of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion responsible for Rurality, Dominic Faure, It will demonstrate their renewed interest in an issue that is not at all new, but has become essential since the pandemic: the allure of rural areas, which, with more or less predicaments, have attracted new waves of remote workers during these past two years of health crisis.

Earlier in the day, ministers had visited an optical connection node, which allows residents of the town of Saint-Mamet-la-Salvetat (Cantal) to connect with fiber. Then they go to a mobile site in Arpajon sur Cère (Cantal). These two projects embody France’s High Speed ​​Plan (PFTHD) and the “New Deal Mobile” programme, which aim to improve digital coverage of regions, particularly rural areas.

This ministerial support confirms, according to Bruno Faure, President of the Cantal County Council (also President of Régie Auvergne Numérique and Auvergne Regional Adviser Rhône-Alpes Delegate to Auvergne, Editor’s Note), the choices Cantal has made in recent years, largely inspired by the rural fair, Dedicated to digital innovations in rural areas.

In fact, the administration is relying on new technologies to attract new populations and reverse the migration balance. “We’ve worked a lot on fibre, he explains, and we’re still doing that, and also on broadband and very high speed, where we’re still working.. “

Fiber optics are currently being rolled out in Auvergne, Puy-de-Dôme, Allier and Cantal, having set their target of 100% land coverage by December 31, 2025. “Today, in Kantal, we have reached the threshold of 92% of homes covered at the end of 2022. And then we will have 9,000 homes left to connect, obviously the most isolated, and the most difficult to reach.

The deployment of fixed digital infrastructures, in particular networks, constitutes a strategic asset for the regions and makes the innovative rural services fruitful.

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“We have also worked a lot on the mobile subject, and now we have 245 towers in a department of 240 municipalities, only one of them is in the third generation, and all of them are in the fourth.Bruno Faure hopes to add 50 more towers in order to improve the coverage of the Kantal region.

The goal: to “bring” remote workers and freelancers to Kantal

Since the first version of the Rural Plans, broadband and very high speed have contributed to securing regional attractiveness through networks. Moreover, the stated goal since 1998 has been nothing but to “bring” remote workers and self-employed workers to Kantal. This year’s theme “Digital and Attractiveness” will once again allow for a discussion on services put in place to ensure the attractiveness of rural areas through networks.

For more than 20 years now, the Cantal County Council has supported the deployment of digital infrastructures and uses as part of the CyberCantal Program. Established in the department in 2007, the aim was to provide equipped workplaces for remote workers or the self-employed, encouraging the emergence of professional networks and facilitating social connections. During Ruralitic 2019, to respond to the acceleration of these practices as well as the diversity of activities: fablab, co-working, hackerspace …

Since then, CyberCantal Télécentres has officially moved to “Third Place CyberCantal” as there are now 15 third place locations responsible for moving the region.

“For the record, we know that during the reservation, 12,000 French took refuge in Cantal. Some of them were active and were able to work remotely. On this occasion, we prepared a survey to find out what happened. We will need a procedure to preserve the experience of remote work “, defines Bruno Faure.

From digital networks… to mobility networks

According to him, these users all said that they were “satisfied” with the quality of the network, but regretted the difficulties with navigating from Cantal. A better air, rail or highway service to reach the capitals will be an advantage in identifying some workers to settle in Kantal.

“After two years of Covid, we realized that remote work has changed a lot. The law is sure to change on this topic. But if more and more employees can work remotely from Kantal, they should still be able to regularly go to their company on good travels. Circumstances.”

The SNCF Paris-Clermont line, which regularly comes under criticism from commuter associations who consider it particularly ramshackle, was clarified this summer by a 17-hour delay that led to Olivier Bianchi, PS mayor of the city, and New LREM MP for Puy-de-Dôme Delphine Lingemann, to challenge the new Minister Plenipotentiary in charge of Transport, Clément Beaune.

On the air transport side, the Clermont-Orly line to be relaunched by Amalia has finally been discontinued and is still under discussion, while the three daily shifts with Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle provided by Air France are still insufficient. to change things.

Also bring companies

With an unemployment rate of 3.9% (recorded last July in the city of Aurillac), Bruno Faure knows that he will not be rehousing Cantal only with remote workers. “You also have to be able to bring in companies.”

Ruralitic will explore this topic extensively by discussing the attractiveness of rural areas and the services put in place to ensure this through networks.

The way to carry a regional brand on social networks and revive communities has become a strategic element of the hardware of gravity. During the forum, the regions will present their own attractiveness strategies, and researchers will analyze the impact of digital technology on these strategies.

“From now on, we focus more on marketing the area. Newcomers arrive with a life project and we have to work on reception. It is necessary to work on attractiveness, and the sector is competitive: why would a worker prefer settling in Cantal rather than in a limousine?” asks Bruno Fore.

With methods now under consideration, such as the creation of a one-stop shop similar to a concierge that would make it possible to support the life project of working people who choose Cantal. Stated goal: To also work on the quality of the welcome, by providing these newcomers with a factor of excellence.