1.1. Bremen and MEDIA@Komm in Germany
In late 1997, the German federal government initiated a competition called "MEDIA@Komm" for local governments to develop integrative concepts on how to launch innovative electronic services for citizens and business. "Integrative" was understood both from a technological and organizational point of view: the competition called for the use of electronic signatures which were then (and still are) seen as one of the crucial prerequisites for successful electronic commerce, and urged local authorities to cooperate with the private sector.
Out of 136 entries, ten were selected in April of 1998. These cities were funded for half a year to detail and work out the final concept. Of these, the three best concepts were selected in March of 1999: Esslingen, Nürnberg and Bremen. This case study will deal with Bremen, the city which arguably took both aspects of integration most seriously by founding a limited liability company (GmbH & Co KG) with private industry partners and charging it to implement immediately full-scale electronic transactions systems including digital signatures and payments.
Winning the MEDIA@Komm-competition meant that Bremen received almost $10 million matching funds from the federal government. These funds co-finance the launching phase of the project, which runs until 2002. Within this time-period, Bremen hopes to develop and implement new solutions to deliver public and private services, thus changing the way citizens and business interact with government and private service providers. By the summer of 2001, it had demonstrated practicability of concepts and implemented first pilot systems. As a result, Bremen is becoming a leading edge case for electronic government (and commerce) services, in both a national and an international context.