The first tender of the strategy for ultra-broadband financed with the resources of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) went deserted. This is the call to bring fast internet connections even to the smaller islands: 60.5 million euros. It is a small slice of the dowry made available by the PNRR – 6.7 billion between fixed networks and 5G – but this is not really a good sign for the continuation of the program, because the constraints that frightened the possible candidates – above all the heavy obligations of surety guarantees and in part the chapter of penalties – could reappear for the next and richer calls for tenders arriving in tight deadlines.
For example, the ministry for technological innovation and digital transition intends to proceed in any case by January with the tender for the “Italia a 1 Giga” project (value 3.8 billion) despite a suggestion from a majority, for example members of the Democratic Party, to wait to understand how the Tim-Kkr match will end and therefore the fate of the network.
The tender without offers
The tender prepared by Infratel, the in-house company of the Ministry of Economic Development, provided for the identification of operators, mainly network builders, installers, system integrators, to whom to entrust the design, supply and installation of submarine fiber optic cables for ultra-broadband connection of about twenty smaller islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Puglia, Tuscany.
The deadline for submitting offers expired on 22 December without any application. According to the information collected by Il Sole 24 Ore, the issue of bank sureties and insurance policies, considered too demanding, had an impact above all. At the same time, due to the need to respect the interim deadlines imposed by the European Commission on the implementation of NRP projects, penalties have been provided for delays considered severe by some, equal to up to 20% of the net contractual amount.
Towards private negotiations
The schedule foresees that already in the first half of 2022 the executive planning will be reached and to unblock the impasse there could now be talks between the Ministry of Innovation led by Vittorio Colao and some of the potential candidates, considering that the procurement code makes it possible to proceed directly to the negotiated procedure in these cases as an alternative to re-proposing a revised and corrected call for tenders.