Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Tim join forces to form a single actor who spreads the ultra-wide band throughout the national territory. The agreement of Monday 31 August, signed by the two boards of directors through a declaration of intent (technically, a memorandum of understanding), lays the foundations for a no longer postponable overcoming the digital divide in Italy.
According to Ministry of Economic Development, to date only 20.3% in the country navigates with ultra-broadband at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and 66.6% at at least 30 Mbps. Since this is a land where the rules are in any case those of profit and business, not all telco players should invest in more peripheral areas. That's why the public has long since decided to equip themselves with a company - Infratel, inside the Mise - that bridges the gap in the white and gray areas, investing where no one invests.
FiberCop is born, the first step towards a single network
The memorandum between CDP and Tim is only the first step. The companies have a deadline of March 2021 to reach the closing, thus forming the company for the single national network. First FiberCop, to later become AccessCo. The American fund has also entered the new creature Kkr Infrastructure, obtaining 37.5% of shares. Tim holds the majority (58%), while Fastweb the 4.5%. The strategic objective is to meet above all the white and gray areas, those with little or no access to the network.
In the plans of Cdp and Tim 2025 was set as the year deadline to cover the 76% of housing units in the most disadvantaged areas with broadband. As stated on the website of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti «The project aims at the birth of AccessCo, a company also open to other investors and intended to manage the single national network. AccessCo will be established through the merger of FiberCop, a company including Tim's primary and secondary access network, and Open Fiber, a company dedicated to optical fiber and owned by Cdp and Enel ».
Ultra-broadband, from wardrobes to homes
To understand the importance of FiberCop, we need to talk about the secondary network by Tim. It is the one that, in a nutshell, brings the connection from the lockers in the street to the homes. During the lockdown, the issue of the solidity of the infrastructure that supports the internet was one of the most heated. Remote teaching and smart working - or, better, home working - have reached record peaks. If it is true that few have succumbed to panic, fearing a blackout for too many bytes, on the other hand i Italian delays on digital emerged more serious than ever (one example: not all students had adequate connection to access online lessons). While waiting to understand what the next steps will be, the Minister of Innovation, Paola Pisano, has meanwhile launched the proposal to make digital education compulsory at school.
When the ultra-broadband will also be active in many white areas, demand does not necessarily meet supply. A half paradox also noted by the Infratel company that deals with managing this slice of the market. "To count - he wrote the Pisan minister - is that this discipline allows our children to systematically dispose of digital skills that are useful both for work and in everyday life ".
Alessandro Di Stefano