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Durbuy will be among the first Walloon towns connected to Proximus 5G – Companies

Proximus and La Petite Merveille, the company of billionaire Marc Coucke active in Durbuy, intend to strengthen the connectivity of the “smallest city in the world” in the months and years to come.

The aim is improve 3G/4G coverage there and deploy 5G as soon as it is legally possible. It will thus be among the first Walloon towns to benefit from this technology from the telecom operator. The ambition of the partnership announced on Thursday is also stimulate innovation in the Luxembourg entity, particularly in the tourist experience. Durbuy is indeed one of the leading tourist destinations in Wallonia, with 450,000 overnight stays per year. In summer, it has some 30,000 inhabitants, against 12,000 on weekdays, noted its mayor Philippe Bontemps.

But the connectivity of the city was until now one of the points where there were many improvements to be made.“, recognized Marc Coucke, president of Alychlo, the financial vehicle of the billionaire and parent company of La Petite Merveille. Some areas on the approach to Durbuy are thus not at all (over a distance of 9 km) or poorly covered by a mobile network, which also poses security problems, he pointed out. The same goes for certain areas along the Ourthe, the scene of kayak descents.

Thanks to the partnership, 2G/3G/4G coverage will be reinforced in and around the municipality. “Connectivity will already be improved for this summer”assured the billionaire.

Launch of 5G

The telecom operator will also prepare the launch of 5G, which will be rolled out in the Old Town and in the Adventure Valley amusement park, as soon as it is legally possible in Wallonia. The standards and regulations defined by the Walloon Region need to be further adapted, which should be the case in a few months. The partners are also “confident that the necessary authorizations will be granted in the near future”.

The smallest city in the world will thus be among the first to benefit from this technology in the south of the country. Investments in fiber optics have already partly taken place, allowing the establishments (hotels, restaurants, etc.) and facilities of La Petite Merveille to be connected to it. Deployment will be further accelerated. Several million euros have been/will be invested in this project, but neither Proximus nor Alychlo wished to give any details on the matter.

Based on this connectivity, the two partners want to stimulate innovation in Durbuy: smart parking, autonomous shuttles, data analysis and exploitation, crowd management, electronic payments, etc. Thanks to that, Bart Maerten, the CEO of La Petite Merveille, hopes to be able to know much more about the people who come to Durbuy, in terms of where they come from or when they choose to go there. A way to then adapt the marketing. “Just because we’re in the Ardennes doesn’t mean we can’t be a little innovative,” he slipped.

Get to know tourists better

The ambition is also to develop a superior tourism experience for visitorsin based on new technologies such as augmented or virtual reality. For example, to project images of Durbuy from the past on the little tourist train that circles the town or to project dinosaurs via augmented reality glasses, while Marc Coucke has previously brought a dinosaur skeleton to his adventure park. But not to launch a park entirely based on virtual reality, warns the latter.

All these projects, which are therefore not yet very concrete, will be done while keeping the authenticity of the place, assure the partners, who will reflect together on their development. The ambition is to launch the first ones within a year or two, according to the Flemish businessman.

The two companies will also work together to organize and promote events, mainly in the field of music, sport and e-sport, making use of these new technologies. “Why not be all above the world chessboard in the tourist experience?”launched Guillaume Boutin, CEO of Proximus. “Durbuy will in fact be a small laboratory for innovation and experimentation with everything we want to do nationally” with 5G. The smallest city in the world could therefore become the smallest ‘smart city’ in the world tomorrow, hope Proximus and La Petite Merveille.

The ambition is to improve 3G/4G coverage there and to deploy 5G as soon as it is legally possible. It will thus be among the first Walloon towns to benefit from this technology from the telecom operator. The ambition of the partnership announced on Thursday is also to stimulate innovation in the Luxembourg entity, particularly in the tourist experience. Durbuy is indeed one of the leading tourist destinations in Wallonia, with 450,000 overnight stays per year. In summer, it has some 30,000 inhabitants, against 12,000 on weekdays, noted its mayor Philippe Bontemps. “But the connectivity of the city was until now one of the points where there were many improvements to be made”, recognized Marc Coucke, president of Alychlo, the financial vehicle of the billionaire and parent company of La Petite Merveille. . Some areas approaching Durbuy are thus not at all (over a distance of 9 km) or poorly covered by a mobile network, which also poses security problems, he underlined. The same goes for certain areas along the Ourthe, the scene of kayak descents. Thanks to the partnership, 2G/3G/4G coverage will be reinforced in and around the municipality. “Connectivity will already be improved for this summer,” assured the billionaire. that this will be legally possible in Wallonia. The standards and regulations defined by the Walloon Region need to be further adapted, which should be the case in a few months. The partners are also “confident that the necessary authorizations will be granted in the near future”. The smallest city in the world will thus be among the first to benefit from this technology in the south of the country. Investments in fiber optics have already partly taken place, allowing the establishments (hotels, restaurants, etc.) and facilities of La Petite Merveille to be connected to it. Deployment will be further accelerated. Several million euros have been/will be invested in this project, but neither Proximus nor Alychlo wished to give any details on the matter. Based on this connectivity, the two partners want to stimulate innovation in Durbuy: smart parking, autonomous shuttles, data analysis and exploitation, crowd management, electronic payments, etc. Thanks to this, Bart Maerten, the CEO of La Petite Merveille, hopes to be able to know much more about the people who come to Durbuy, in terms of where they come from or when they choose to go there. A way to then adapt the marketing. “It’s not because we’re in the Ardennes that we can’t be a little innovative”, he slipped.Getting to know tourists better The ambition is also to develop a superior tourist experience for visitors, using new technologies such as augmented or virtual reality. For example, to project images of Durbuy from the past on the little tourist train that goes around the city or to project dinosaurs via augmented reality glasses, while Marc Coucke has already previously brought a dinosaur skeleton to his park. ‘adventure. But not to launch a park entirely based on virtual reality, warns the latter. All these projects, which are therefore not yet very concrete, will be done while keeping the authenticity of the place, assure the partners, who will reflect together on their development. The ambition is to launch the first ones within a year or two, according to the Flemish businessman. The two companies will also work together to organize and promote events, mainly in the field of music, sport and e-sport, making use of these new technologies. “Why not be above the global chessboard in the tourist experience?”, launched Guillaume Boutin, CEO of Proximus. “Durbuy will in fact be a small laboratory for innovation and experimentation with everything we want to do nationally” with 5G. The smallest city in the world could therefore become the smallest ‘smart city’ in the world tomorrow, hope Proximus and La Petite Merveille.

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