The issue is not new, but the sudden digital “overcrowding” of the lockdown has drawn attention to a technological, financial and strategic evolution that the country cannot afford to postpone.
Internet for work, training, commerce, entertainment… in short, to keep going even in difficult moments. Everyone, more or less, has experienced the importance of digital transformation and the infrastructural deficiencies highlighted by the significant increase in related activities. To put it in figures, the Akamai platform has estimated a 30% increase in Internet traffic between February and March 2020 (the normal monthly increase stands at 3%).
In this context, after years of debate, the single network project is finally back: something that regards us all, as workers and above all as players in the AV market. The idea had been around since the Prodi government in 2006, passing through Letta and arriving at Renzi’s Ring project. Then, in 2019, Tim signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the combination of optical fiber with the competitor Open Fiber, Enel and Cdp (Cassa Depositi Prestiti), but it ended in nothing.
Today, in relation to Covid-19, the game seems to have come to life. How? With the birth of FiberCop, a single company consisting of Tim (with its copper network) and FlashFiber (a joint venture of Tim and Fastweb), that will be operative by March 2021. In its final stage, or after the merger between FiberCop (an American fund, Kkr, will be also part) and Open Fiber, the network will be called AccessCo and will provide ”wholesale” connectivity to all present and future operators. To unblock the situation, the agreement at the end of August between Tim and Cdp, “supported” by the Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli: “a first step towards a society of networks and technologies with public governance, with the final goal of filling the infrastructural gap in our country and guaranteeing citizens and businesses access to digital services“.
Will it really be for everyone? The goal of the single network is bringing ultra-fast FTTH fiber to at least 56% of the municipalities already reached by broadband by 2025, the adequate performance from North to South and hopefully bridging the Digital Divide. The only certainty, for now, is the timing of the bureaucracy, which will not give us answers for the next six months.