By extending broadband throughout its territory, within two years the Lombardy region will have completely closed the digital divide.
This major achievement will be engineered by Telecom Italia, which won the call for tenders for this type of service in areas where market failure has prevailed. The Plan was illustrated at a press conference held by the Chairman of the Lombardy Regional Administration Roberto Formigoni, Councillor Responsible for the Environment, Energy and Networks Marcello Raimondi, the Chairman of Telecom Italia Franco Bernabè, and Telecom Italia Chief Operating Officer Marco Patuano.
One million people in Lombardy soon to be newly connected to broadband – This technologically- and geographically-ambitious project will see high-speed internet coverage arriving in 707 municipalities (where 1 million people live) within 24 months. By 2013, 100% of the population of Lombardy will be covered by broadband. To achieve this, 917 switching stations across the region will be upgraded, involving around 8,500 km cabling, of witch 3,000 km in fibre-optic cable laid. The project will cost a total of around €95 million, of which €41 million is being funded by the Lombardy Regional Administration and the remainder by Telecom Italia.
High-speed links – The municipalities covered by the project will have territory-wide access to ADSL 7 Mbit links, rising as high as 20 Mbit following upgrade work involving 900 separate jobs at exchanges and local networks.
Ppsitive impact on the local area - The plan will have positive repercussions not just on citizens but on businesses too. Benefits will be enjoyed by a number of industrial districts, including the textiles district in Val Seriana, the clothing district in Gallaratese, the Castel Goffredo textiles district, the Monza Brianza furniture-making district, the Serico Comasco textiles district, the Valle dell’Arno mechanics district, and the Vimercate high-tech district.
The call for tenders - Public funding was awarded to Telecom Italia after the company submitted the most technically accomplished and economically attractive bid. The project has been given the go-ahead by the European Commission with regard to state aid regulations. Funding provided by the regional administration ensures that investment payback will be in line with corporate standards.
Work will be carried out over a two-year period, followed by a four-year period during which services will be rolled out and results monitored.
Market failure - The Lombardy Region/Telecom Italia project is a game changer for those areas that have suffered from a lack of access to broadband services owing to an absence of the necessary network infrastructure. “Market failure” in the areas affected by the digital divide refers to the fact that market players have not invested because the market does not offer favourable conditions for profitability. This is another reason why this challenging project is all the more important.
Milan, 2 May 2011