The Italian government is to push ahead with the rollout of high speed broadband infrastructure in underserved areas of the country, despite failing to forge partnerships with privately-owned telcos. The Ministry of Economic Development and investment board Invitalia set up Infratel to manage the government’s broadband deployments, with the aim of investing EUR4 billion (USD4.3 billion) to boost the availability of high speed services. The government divided the country into 90,000 districts and found that just 6,000 – in urban areas – were adequately served by broadband networks. Infratel was set up to work with domestic telcos to expand fibre network coverage to the other 84,000 areas.
The government has so far failed to secure the backing of telcos, however; Reuters quotes Claudio De Vincenti, an undersecretary at the prime minister’s office, as saying: ‘We will get started with Infratel and gather speed. Decisions on eventual private-public partnerships will be made at a later date.’ There have been lengthy discussions between fibre network operator Metroweb – which is part state-owned – and private telcos such as Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italy and Wind Telecomunicazioni, though these have so far failed to produce results. The government hopes to have a minimum 30Mbps connection available to all Italians by 2020 to help it meet EU digital agenda targets, with 85% of the population able to access 100Mbps fibre-based services by the same date, which is well ahead of the EU goal of 50%.