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Telecom Italia: First hydrogen-powered exchanges online

03/30/2006 - 12:00 PM

In a power blackout, these exchanges switch to alternative source of energy. Initially located in the Province of Trento, by the end of 2007 around 100 hydrogen-powered exchanges will be in operation as they are gradually rolled out nationwide. The Telecom Italia Group is one of the world’s first telecommunications operators to reduce environmental impact by using its own laboratories to conduct research assessments into alternative energy sources

Telecom Italia’s first exchanges that switch to hydrogen power if there is an electricity blackout are now operative in the Trentino Alto Adige region. This groundbreaking power source will gradually be rolled out to replace the traditional batteries that ensure continuing telephone service in the event of the public electricity network going down.

These new exchanges are at Vezzano, Calavino and Mattarello, all in the Province of Trento. Telecom Italia expects to have around 100 hydrogen-powered exchanges up and running nationwide by the end of 2007.

The Telecom Italia Group is one of the first telecommunications operators in the world to undertake research in its laboratories to assess the utility and reliability of alternative energy sources. Hydrogen power generation produces no harmful emissions at all, and therefore makes a significant contribution to reducing environmental pollution. The hydrogen-fuelled system uses fuel cells to produce electricity by making hydrogen react with oxygen in the air. The most important thing about this process is that because no combustion takes place, no exhaust or harmful residual elements are released. When hydrogen reacts with oxygen, the only by-product is water.

After initial trials in October 2005 with the SGS Future company, which supplied the necessary equipment, Telecom Italia has now brought these three exchanges in the Province of Trento fully online.

Telecom Italia constantly keeps abreast of developments in the most promising hydrogen power generation technologies. The Group is keen to gradually roll out these new systems across its network as soon as they become available on the market place. Once again, Telecom Italia is showing its commitment to protecting the environment, in this case by leveraging new technologies.

The Telecom Italia Group first made a commitment to sustainability in 1997 when it started publishing a sustainability report. The report is a significant part of the company’s consolidated annual accounts. The Telecom Italia Group signed up to the Global Compact in 2002. Launched by the United Nations, this agreement promotes a number of objectives, including environmental protection through fostering the development and take-up of eco-friendly technologies.

For the second year, in 2005 Telecom Italia S.p.A. qualified for the European and worldwide Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes.

The Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes (DJSI World) and Dow Jones STOXX Sustainability Indexes (DJSI STOXX) are the most important financial market benchmarks of their kind, listing leading European and worldwide sustainability companies.

Every year DJSI World and DJSI STOXX index companies undergo strict tests to assess their financial performance and a further 50 general criteria regarding the market as a whole and the individual market sectors in which they operate. Specific indexes are subsequently drawn up to analyze how corporate governance, environmental attitudes and social policies impact the way that companies make and supply products and services, and how these elements impact the companies’ economic performance.

Bolzano, March 30, 2006