The walled city of Ansiães in northern Portugal is an historic but isolated place. With a population of just over 6,000 people, the region’s main economic activity has traditionally been agriculture.
Despite the area’s natural beauty, many of its young people feel it doesn’t offer enough career prospects to merit sticking around. “Our main problem is depopulation and the difficulty of keeping young people here,” says João Gonçalves, Mayor of Carrazeda de Ansiães.
As is the case for many rural areas, connectivity is an important factor in ensuring Ansiães remains an attractive place to live. “People have the need to be constantly connected,” says Jão João Gonçalves, Mayor of Carrazeda de Ansiães, “and a territory that doesn’t have access to that connectivity is a less competitive area, and where people are less likely to settle.”
Carrazeda is a granite zone, and Quarpor, a Portuguese mineral mining company, is exploring the area’s potential. To support the company, Vodafone installed a reliable internet connection, giving workers access to high-speed connectivity.
A quartz mine in Carrazeda
“This area was unknown to us,” says Conceição Dias, a Quarpor investor. “But as time went on, we were sure this was the right place. It is beneficial for the population and for us as well, because we are close to the raw material, the quartz mines.
“In the beginning we had some difficulties because of the isolated nature of the area - but not any more. With Vodafone’s connectivity we no longer have problems with communications.”
Quartz has used Vodafone’s connectivity to install cutting-edge technology to help them achieve their goals. Cameras installed in the machines make it easy for Quartz’s experts to stop or change processes in mid-production, remotely detect periods of inactivity and control the quality level of the raw materials – from anywhere in the world.
Conceição Dias, a Quarpor investor, uses Vodafone connectivity to track the production process
“This is an example of a company whose investors are not from Carrazeda de Ansiães, yet are able to see that the area has the potential to develop economic activity,” says João.
And this new industry is already attracting talented young workers to the area. Sara Pereira, a geologist at Quarpor, was born in Barcelos, a city in the north of Portugal, but studied in Vila Real, a city about half an hour’s drive from Ansiães. “From the moment I left Barcelos to move to Vila Real, I fell in love with the area,” she says.
The walled city of Ansiães in northern Portugal
Watch this video to learn more about how Vodafone’s connectivity and digital services are helping rural communities like Ansiães remain vibrant and realise their economic and social potential.
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