WASHINGTON July 8, 2010- In his annual speech to parliament, Italy’s telecommunications regulator Corrado Calabro urged competing telecommunications providers to unite under one nationwide plan with clear rules and government guidance.
Italy’s largest telecom operator, Telecom Italia SpA, and a group of its competitors have separate plans for broadband expansion and speed goals. Telecom Italia rejected offers to join the rival broadband project, and decided to push ahead with its own plan.
Calabro said these operators need to work together to provide a fiber-based network in Italy, a country that lags behind the rest of Europe in Internet speeds and access. “We need a common, nationwide project that avoids costly duplication on civil infrastructure and allows Italy to make the leap forward it needs.” Calabro said. He hopes that a focus on fiber-based connection could pull the country out of its economic recession.
He also seeks to improve the economy by auctioning off mobile spectrum for 4G networks, following the example of other European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K. He cited Germany as having sold EUR4.38 billion ($5.49 billion) for the government in May.
He also said that 4G technologies would help the economy by spurring new services such as high-definition mobile video. He urged quick action on wireless broadband management, saying that the mobile network may collapse due to increased smartphone use and data applications.
He predicted that high-speed Internet would save the country EUR10 billion ($12.53 billion) per year on energy bills. He also encouraged a universal broadband plan to adhere with the European Union’s Digital Agenda, which has a goal for 50 percent of households to have ultra-fast connections. He also compared the broadband penetration rate for Italy, which is 20.6 percent to the average EU rate of 24.8 percent.