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Bringing the digital experience into people’s lives also involves addressing the technological divide in the so-called marginal areas of Italy. These areas would otherwise be excluded from the ordinary plans of TLC operators due to the low profitability of investments.

TIM has run an ultrabroadband investment plan incorporating both fixed and mobile for this reason.

The ICT sector on one hand offers the potential for allowing everyone to take part in social and economic life and on the other offers solutions for a more sustainable future, which saves both time and natural resources. 5G technology is at the forefront in this area.

But what can 5G actually provide, in reality? It’s a technology with a huge number of applications that will really be able to bring great changes to all of our everyday lives.  

As well as self-driving cars that can be monitored and driven remotely thanks to a system that can receive all information on the surrounding area, we’ll be able to connect to other vehicles and infrastructure, including public resources, to increase safety and save energy.

Staying on the move, there will be high data traffic, for parking sensors, GPS, voice commands and braked and assisted driving systems for example.

Relations with suppliers and end customers will also be managed in real time. 

But that’s not all. There will be developments for the those who live in smart cities in many other important areas. For example:

- doctors will be able to follow and monitor patients with chronic ailments and illnesses remotely

- tourists will be able to enhance theirs visits with information and multimedia content using sensors in their smartphones

- public safety levels will be higher than in the past because of new mobile video surveillance solutions

- it will be possible to establish live connections in the information sector with higher video quality, thanks to greater communication bandwidth and lower latency and without needing to use complex instruments

- the world of industry will be revolutionised (Industry 4.0) through the adoption of robots, 3D printers and other complex instruments and the use of sensors to improve production and processes.

There are three main 5G business scenarios:

· Enhanced Mobile Broadband for Gbps-level video and communication transmission (enabling Augmented/Virtual Reality)

· Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication, typical of many requirements of industry and the most demanding vertical markets – autonomous driving, energy management, robotics – and mission-critical services

· Massive Machine Type Communication, which permits connection between objects, that is, IoT (Internet of Things) and Smart Cities.

But using 5G also means observing energy efficiency requirements, as indicated by the ITU IMT-Vision Recommendation (M.2083), so that energy consumption doesn’t exceed that of the existing networks. The aim is for the increase in occupied bandwidth not to translate into increased consumption.

In terms of communication from fixed systems, digital inclusion increasingly involves the development of fibre optics. 2019 saw FTTC coverage completed in 2,945 municipalities and FTTH coverage in 124 municipalities.

Indicators
 Target 20222019201820172016
LTE coverage(*) >9999>97.5>96
Next Generation Plan (fixed telephony) coverage (**)8180.579.877.058.9
of which FTTH3016.213.79.23.9
  • (*)

    The percentage refers to the residential population. Coverage values are subject to change based on ISTAT and urbanization updates. At the end of December 2019, the number of municipalities reached was 7,611.

  • (**)

    FTTX stands for Fibre To The X, where X can be C for cabinet, H for house, B for building or E for exchange. The percentage is determined by the ratio between the number of properties connected with “cabinets” reached by access optical fibers (or which can be served directly from an exchange if within acceptable distances) and the total number of properties that have or have had active telephone lines in the past (includes a small percentage of FTTH related only to the city of Milan).

TIM has two NGAN network architectures that permit the provision of high-speed services through fibre optics:

·         Fiber To The Cabinet (FTTC): the fibre optic cables leave the exchange and arrive at the street cabinet, where a device transfers the data traffic to the modems/routers in the building on twisted double copper cables. This network can achieve a speed of 200 megabits per second, with the potential to achieve 300 megabits per second through further technological development.  

·         Fiber To The Home (FTTH): the fibre optic cables leave the exchange and arrive directly inside homes. This network can achieve speeds of one gigabit per second and is developed in areas already covered by FTTC technology, so as to guarantee customer choice in terms of connection speed.

Staying with TIM’s NGAN network, much work has also been done to extend ADSL coverage and services in Italy. At the end of 2019, the ADSL service was active in approximately 9,700 exchanges, including 8,580 with fibre optic carriers.

To address the technological divide in the so-called marginal areas of Italy, TIM ran an investment plan between 2005 and December 2019 which permitted ADSL coverage for a total of 7,672 municipalities.

Social Digital Inclusion

Operation Digital Risorgimento

Operation Digital Risorgimento is a digital education project for Italy, designed to drive the digitization of the country, and promote the adoption of concrete tools by a growing number of citizens. The initiative complies with the Digital Republic Manifesto promoted by the Special Government Commissioner for the fulfillment of the Digital Agenda, and has obtained the support of the Italian representative of the European Commission and of ANCI[1]. It involves more than 400 trainers, who will be tasked with developing a program of 20 thousand hours of lessons, which will be delivered through training courses in all 107 Italian provinces, with a view to teaching more than a million people about the internet and the potential that this holds. The project will be rolled out against a backdrop that sees Italy still lagging behind in the European rankings for the use of digital services, despite the high level of infrastructure the country boasts; indeed, around 18 million citizens, 30% of whom are over six years old, have not used the internet in the last year, and one in four families is without an internet connection. Of these households, 58% state that they are not connected to the internet because they do not know how to use it, while 21% do not use it because they do not consider it to be of interest to them [source: Istat, citizens, businesses and ICT, 2019].

In autumn 2019, TIM launched the tour that mainly visits (and indeed, will continue to visit) municipalities with a population of between 10 and 60 thousand inhabitants, where the company's digital training courses are to be held. In each of these municipalities, the TIM mobile school is available to citizens (from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm from Monday to Friday, in the town square specified by the local authorities), constituting a digital culture desk and a team of TIM digital facilitators who offer ten short training sessions designed to help these people to discover the internet and its potential (with particular regard to services, entertainment and security). In the three weeks that follow, inhabitants of these municipalities will be able to take part in the classroom-based program (which consists of three two-hour modules, morning and afternoon from Monday to Friday), in order to become "citizens of the internet"[2].  The courses will mainly involve those people (most of whom are aged 50 and older) who have the greatest need to learn how to navigate online, communicate and make use of digital citizenship services; these include using "certified email" (PEC), changing their family doctor (GP) through the public digital identity system (Spid) or paying for a certificate through the pagoPA system.[3]

During the second phase, citizens can take advantage of the services offered by local digital facilitators trained by TIM, who will transfer skills to the community and ensure the scalability of the program, by means of a multiplier effect.

TIM has launched a dedicated toll-free number (800 860 860, calls from within Italy) where those interested can learn more about the project, follow the phases, find out about the municipalities involved and register for the classroom courses set to take place in the various locations.

[1] Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani (National Association of Italian Municipalities).

[2] Employees of public bodies will be able to attend the courses that will be held two mornings a week.

[3] This is the electronic payment method designed to make the process of paying pubic bodies simpler, safer and more transparent.

AGCom decisions

TIM's commitments in Italy, in terms of discounts and specific measures, essentially concerned the following categories of customers:

•     deaf, blind and partially sighted people. In compliance with the resolution of the Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCom) No. 46/2017/CONS, TIM has given both internet and landline concession offers to these customers[4]. These concessions never expire and once activated do not require any request for renewal, and are also reserved for the nuclear family in which the deaf, blind or partially sighted person lives (for further information regarding concessions, it is possible to contact TIM customer service 187 and 119). Assistance can also be provided for the deaf by contacting TIM customer service 187 and 119 with the Pedius app, available for Apple and Android, which uses voice recognition and speech synthesis technologies, transforming the voice of the operator into written text for the customer;

•     people on low incomes who find themselves in a situation of “economic and social hardship”. TIM reserves such concessions - established by AGCom[5] or by the Company on its own initiative[6] - for customers with an ISEE[7] family unit income not exceeding 8,112.23 €/year, for telephone use service in their primary residence (on the traditional RTG network[8]). The concession is valid for the same duration as their ISEE certificate (15 January of the year following issue) and the request must be renewed annually;

•     “social card” holders. On its own initiative, TIM gives these customers a reduction on the telephone service subscription amount (14.69 euros/month including VAT). The benefit is valid for one year and is automatically renewed on 1 January of each year. In this case, these benefits cannot be combined with each other and the customer can request only one[9].

In addition, TIM guarantees to support customers residing in areas affected by natural disasters (seismic events, floods), ensuring business continuity both in the phase of emergency management and in the medium/long term, to protect their needs. 

 

[1] Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani (National Association of Italian Municipalities).

[2] Employees of public bodies will be able to attend the courses that will be held two mornings a week.

[3] This is the electronic payment method designed to make the process of paying pubic bodies simpler, safer and more transparent.

[4] In accordance with the aforementioned resolution, for:

·  fixed telephony, for the benefit of deaf customers, is exempt from the telephone service subscription fee (Voice Offer), with 180 free monthly hours of internet (broadband ADSL connections) on the offer “by usage” already active on the line (the benefit was only available to customers who had activated a by usage offer before January 14, 2018). There is also a discount of 50% on the subscription to an additional internet offer or a discount of 50% on the subscription to voice+internet offers, as specified for blind and partially sighted customers (different offers in the TIM SMART HOME and FIBRE range);

·  mobile telephony the TIM concessions guarantee a 20 Gb volume of data traffic and the sending of SMS Unlimited for deaf customers (TIM Easy SMS+GB), while, for blind and partially sighted customers, an offer consisting of unlimited minutes of voice traffic and a volume of data traffic of 10 Gb (TIM Easy VOICE+GB). These dedicated offers are on the tim.it websites: tim.it/agevolazioni-per-non-vedenti-e-non-udenti/offerte-fisso; tim.it/agevolazioni-per-non-vedenti-e-non-udenti/offerte-mobile.

[5] AGCom Resolution No. 258/18/CONS (already approved by AGCom 314/00/CONS and 330/01/CONS) provides for a 50% reduction of the subscription amount for the voice offer (9.44 euros/month VAT included) and a total of 30 minutes of free calls per month to national landlines and mobile phones. Once the free minutes limit has been exceeded, national calls to landlines and mobile phones are charged at the expected by usage prices for the voice offer (10 cents/min including VAT, without a connection fee).

[6] Customers holding social cards, in compliance with the Ministry of the Economy and Finance Decree of September 16, 2008.

[7] Indicator of the Equivalent Economic Situation.

[8] General Telephone Network.

[9] Customers holding social cards, in compliance with the Ministry of the Economy and Finance Decree of September 16, 2008.