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Summary of broadband development in Italy
Italy’s national ultra-broadband plan, the Strategy for next generation access network (Strategia Nazionale per la Banda Ultra-Larga, SNBUL), was approved by the Council of Ministers in March 2015. It aims at developing a high-speed access network to reach the 2020 Digital Agenda targets. In line with the SNBUL, Italy adopted a national state aid scheme, approved by the European Commission in June 2016, to support ultra-broadband in market failure areas. The first tender worth 3 billion EUR was assigned in June 2017 covering Abruzzo, Molise, Emilia Romagna, Lombardia, Toscana and Veneto regions. The second tender was assigned in November 2017 and covers the rollout of fibre-based networks in the regions Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta, Liguria, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Sicily and the autonomous province of Trento. The third and last tender for the provision of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved rural areas worth 103 million EUR was launched in April 2018 and covers the regions of Calabria, Puglia and Sardinia. An implementing decree for the "School Plan" and the "Family Voucher Plan", with EUR 600 million to be spent, was signed in August 2020.
There is also a concept for boosting fibre optic roll-out and implementing fixed and mobile broadband. A 5G trial was launched in March 2017 to implement infrastructures and services in 5 cities: the metropolitan area of Milan, Prato, L’Aquila, Bari and Matera. In order to bridge the digital divide, there has been an auction for spectrum resources in the 800 MHz band that supports the deployment of Long Term Evolution technologies (LTE) in remote areas. In September 2017, assignments of the permission to use the 100 Mhz in the portion of spectrum between 3.6-3.8 Ghz to experience 5G in 5 Italian cities have been authorised.
National broadband plan and policy
- The department of Telecommunications (Comunicazioni) within the Ministry of Economic Development (MiSE, Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico) is the main body responsible for planning and implementing Italy’s national broadband plan. MiSE is responsible for telecommunications infrastructures, adopts measures defined in the SNBUL and coordinates the activities of all the involved actors both public and private. It also manages the Italian National Registry of the infrastructures (SINFI).
- The Agency for Digital Italy (AgID) assists in domains related to issues of public administration, digital connectivity to public offices and special public users, and integrating connectivity with advanced digital services.
- The role of the public sector in the development of the entire ultra-broadband policy in Italy is coordinated by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) through the Committee for the spread of high-speed broadband (COBUL), which is composed of the PCM, the MiSE, Infratel Italia Spa and AgID.
- AGCOM, the sector regulator, has consultancy tasks and acts within its domain of regulation of NGA access, price conditions and technical standards.
Main aims for broadband development
The 2015 Italian strategy for next generation access network (SNBUL) has the general objective of developing a future-proof telecommunications infrastructure through the country. The plan intends to:
- bring connectivity with a minimum of 100 Mbps for up to 85% of the Italian population,
- guarantee coverage of at least 30 Mbps to all citizens,
- coverage of at least 100 Mbps for offices and public buildings,
- bring high speed broadband in the industrial areas.
The tools implemented within the SNBUL strategy are:
- administrative simplification and reduction of burdens,
- creation of tax exemption tools for infrastructures operations,
- stimuli for triggering demand,
- direct public sector execution of works in market failure areas,
- land registry creation (SINFI) to locate all the infrastructures above and below the ground.
Main measures for broadband development
- In March 2017, Italy launched a 5G trial to implement infrastructures and services in 5 cities: the metropolitan area of Milan, Prato, L’Aquila, Bari and Matera. In September 2017, authorisation was granted for the use of 100 Mhz in the 3.6-3.8 Ghz band for the roll-out of 5G in 5 Italian cities.
- State aid measure (SA41647(2016/N): a planned total budget of EUR 4 billion composing of national and regional funds has been made available to build a passive public infrastructure managed with a wholesale-only model and opened to all the operators in areas where a market failure is present. Further measures are under study to match the desired targets in grey and black areas too.
- To speed up the diffusion of broadband networks, Italy implemented the EU Directive 61/2014 “on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks” by adopting the Legislative Decree n. 33 in February 2016.
- Italian authorities have also reassessed the market demand and the existing use of the 3600-3800 MHz band and adopted tender rules in order to assign different kind of lots for urban and rural coverage in 2015. This was done in order to sustain the diffusion of both fixed and mobile broadband networks. A website detailing the strategy for ultra-broadband was launched in March 2016 in order to increase the transparency of the governmental action and to update the citizens step by step towards the 2020 final targets.
- In August 2015, the inter-ministerial committee for economic programming (CIPE) committed a total amount of EUR 5 billion of public funding to sustain the SNBUL, allocating EUR 2.2 billion to cover the market failure (white) areas. In these white areas in particular, the state aid scheme provides a direct model of investment to build a passive public infrastructure managed with a wholesale-only model and open to all operators.
- Broadband mapping: the main broadband mapping portal for Italy was set up by MiSE, provides details on levels of coverage up to the municipal level, the time frame of public interventions, the technical parameters, the bureaucratic permit profiles as well as the types of civil works carried out in each lot.
National and regional broadband financial instruments
- EUR 5 billion of national funds (FSC) for actions including white, grey and black areas;
- EUR 1.6 billion from 18 ERDF Operational Programmes (POR) and 21 EAFRD Development Rural Programs (PSR);
- EUR 233 million from a National Operating Programme including funding of ultra-broadband investments to set up 100 Mbps connections of business companies and enterprises in industrial areas.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Italy
For the latest data on broadband coverage, subscriptions and penetrations, coverage of different broadband technologies and costs check the scoreboard reports and the country reports of the Digital Economy & Society Index (DESI).
Spectrum assignments for wireless broadband
For details on harmonised spectrum assignments consult the study on Spectrum assignments in the EU.
National publications and press documents
- The Italian strategy for next generation access network 2015 (Strategia Nazionale per la Banda Ultra-Larga, SNBUL)
- Italian national state aid scheme – Strategia Banda Ultralarga
- Study on National Broadband Plans in the EU-28
- Europe's Digital Progress Report
- Broadband Connectivity Reports and Analyses
- Guide to High-Speed Broadband Investment
- Fixed broadband prices in Europe 2018
- Study on broadband coverage in Europe 2018