Small Municipality, Big Vision: Brela Turns to Technology

Daniela Rogulj

January 31, 2020 – A small municipality with a big vision. Meet Brela, located in the heart of Dalmatia, a few kilometers away from Makarska and Omis. 

Dalmacija Danas writes that for several years now, Mayor Stipe Ursić and his team have been bringing the municipality new projects and several state-of-the-art technological solutions that would be envied by larger cities in Croatia and even in more developed European countries.

After paving almost all roads in the town, investments in beaches and the promenade followed, and the construction of a new kindergarten worth HRK 10 million is currently underway. The municipality is increasingly turning to the introduction of high technology in its area.

In 2015, Brela became one of the first municipalities in Croatia to modernize the entire public lighting system (over 900 lighting fixtures) by replacing old harmful lights with modern LED technology that is entirely environmentally friendly and saves up to 75% of electricity. This has allowed the Municipality of Brela to save up to half a million kuna a year. The Ministry of Environmental Protection funded seventy percent of this project.

However, one of the major infrastructure problems in the municipality itself was the slow ADSL Internet, and there were numerous complaints from tourists who did not have an adequate internet connection. The municipality then decided to solve the problem and bring the latest technological solution. 

Namely, in 2018 and 2019, thanks to a project worth HRK 3 million, the Municipality of Brela became the first municipality in Croatia with super-fast internet, i.e., with optical technology. In two years, every household has received fiber optic cable and now every inhabitant has access to fast internet of a maximum 500 Mbps, which is up to 100 times faster than what they had before. It is all done at the expense of the new service provider.

After numerous letters of intent, the municipality called on the new operator for this investment because it guaranteed the logistical support as well as almost immediate issuance of all necessary permits in the form of excavating new channels, installation pipes, etc. This is a great success considering that Brela has only 1700 inhabitants, and larger Croatian cities cannot boast such modern technology.

However, the Mayor and his team continue to work on implementing new technologies for their residents and guests, and bring the latest solutions to make their lives easier, especially in the peak tourist season when up to 10,000 tourists visit Brela daily. Of the newer solutions mentioned, one of the most important is redeploying the fleet of utility controllers who now all drive electric vehicles, which is another example of how the emission of harmful gases is reduced and nature itself in Brela is protected.

The project currently under construction is the installation of “smart” bus waiting rooms, which are a novelty on the market. Namely, Brela has decided to install several smart bus stations powered by solar energy or renewable energy sources. These modern stations feature LED lighting, mobile chargers, WiFi wireless HotSpot Internet, bus timetable screens, and season and event information. It serves both guests and residents of Brela and is especially helpful to students traveling to school.

The municipality also funded the first smart board for the Brela Primary School. After numerous smart solutions, the Mayor and his team are not giving up, but look forward to new challenges and advances in technology that will further facilitate everyday life.

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