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“Vouchers become structural to encourage migration from copper”

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“Vouchers become structural to encourage migration from copper”

The message launched by the Association on the occasion of the annual conference in Rome; the president Zorzoni: “Transform them to permanent contracts to increase the take-up of fiber networks”. Focus also on the balance of the Cloud market, parental control and the “pezzotto law”

Cloud and optical fiber Made in Italy: systematizing the skills of local operators to support Italy is the title of the annual conference of AIIP – Italian Internet Provider Association held last June 1 in Rome, in the splendid setting of Palazzo Wedekind. The debate, which saw a large participation of associates and industry experts from all over Italy, focused on promoting the diffusion of FTTH fiber and the national cloud.

Numerous qualified speakers underlined the need to enhance the skills and technology of Italian companies, stimulating the demand for fiber through the structural implementation of vouchers. There was also an appeal for a greater balance of the cloud market, currently dominated by a few large players, in order to allow the entry of new players.

Industry data

The turnover of associated operators, constantly increasing, reached the extraordinary result of 1.21 billion euros in 2021. This value confirms, despite the period of crisis, the now twenty-year trend of an average annual growth of 30% of the sector, active not only in the access sector, with physical operators owning fiber optic networks for a total of over 100,000 km, but also in that of the cloud, electricity, IoT services, industrial automation and cybersecurity.

Giovanni Zorzonipresident of AIIP, supported the need to make the vouchers a medium-term measure to increase the take-up of fiber networks and to incentivize the migration from non-ultra broadband connections to optical fiber: «Operators have to face significant costs to make this switch, which is why it is important to support the migration and stabilize the use of vouchers, but it is equally essential that this tool works like Business Vouchers, dedicated exclusively to the connectivity component to allow mobility between operators and thereby promote competition”.

Strong concern, however, was expressed for the new measures to protect intellectual property (the so-called “Pezzotto” law proposal, under consideration by Parliament, and related AGCOM regulation), which pose the Internet Service Providers have significant obligations to monitor and remove illegally transmitted content in real timeyou. Zorzoni defined as a real “catastrophe” the possibility of a filtering of contents on the net to be activated in real time, on the basis of requests – not subject to prior verification on the merits by the Authority – of private subjects, holders of the rights or their delegates, and with effectiveness not limited in time but lasting until the acceptance of a possible appeal by the interested parties.

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Finally, with regard to mandatory parental control, Zorzoni proposed the implementation of one single list for all operators pto protect the navigation of minors, so that this shield is unambiguous and homogeneous among all Italian operators.

Stimulate the development and demand of FTTH networks

As regards the promotion of FTTH fiber, the main topic of the first part of the conference, Carlo Filangieri, CEO of FiberCop, underlined that, although coverage is progressing well, the adoption rate of fiber by users is still limited. A slowdown attributed by the speaker to various factors, including the low level of digital culture in our country, the good quality, also in terms of speed, of the FTTC network and the still poor perception of the advantages that can be obtained in terms of performance through totally in fiber. However, the CEO of FiberCop underlined that the adoption curve of the previous technologies “shows us that we will soon register a change of pace in the take-up that will bring Italy to the level of other European countries”.

Also Francis Nonnoregulatory director of Open Fiber, highlighted objective difficulties in increasing the adoption of FTTH fiber in Italy: despite the growing network coverage, the adoption rate does not exceed 2% per year, while the evolution of coverage increases by an average of 10%. Costs and the lack of strong demand hinder the migration to fiber. «At the current rate – Nonno concluded – the complete migration could take up to 2040, and this even if the conclusion of the construction of the networks is already foreseen for 2026″.

In the context of the creation of the new FTTH network, Fastweb is trying to create synergies with other operators in the wholesale market; to confirm it Fabrizio Casati, operator’s chief wholesale officer: «We are using service solutions to integrate different copper and fiber access networks in order to reduce costs. Furthermore, Fastweb offers two solutions for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), one using the 26 GHz frequency and the other the 3.5 GHz frequency. These solutions are working well in the field and services other than fixed connection are growing in a complementary way to the fiber”.

According to one SPC Network study cited by the lawyer Andrea Valli of Studio Valli Mancuso & Associati, the disaggregation it would make it possible to obtain lower costs for FTTH as well as increase the resilience and quality of connectivity. Valli underlined that a strong limitation of the offer is represented by the quality of the WiFi in the homes: in order to exploit true fiber optic connectivity, it is therefore important that the Government and MIMIT side with the no-change al WRC23 to push the use of the entire 1200Mhz band on the new 6Ghz WiFi technologies in Europe.

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It was precisely on the issue of disaggregation that he entered Louis Cudiaoperations manager of Infratel Italia, who referred to the recent increase to 201,000 intermediate access points to the BUL networkso important for making it easier and cheaper to use the public network and to interconnect it with the private one in a passive way.

What vision for the Italian and European cloud?

As for the cloud industry developmentthe subject of the second part of the conference, Antonio Baldassarra, managing director of Seeweb and head of the AIIP cloud working group, he assessed the entry of new players on the market as necessary, overcoming the cultural problems that, in Europe, hinder the emergence of new realities. Robert Loro, CTO of Dedagroup, underlined the importance of valuing local suppliers in the sector, thus promoting their participation and collaboration in the market. «If the government allocates large sums of money, such as the 100 billion provided for by the PNRR, without considering the ability of Italian industry to absorb such funds, it is inevitable that these end up mainly in the hands of the few big players who can do so.or – he commented Alexander Talotta, president of MIX; – the size of our country is not able to support such huge sums, and this leads to the concentration of funding among a few well-known players in the sector». To sum up the debate, the vice president of AIIP, Julian Peritore: «We hope that the next government will be able to relate to consultants capable of conveying not only the strategic aspects for the country, such as autonomy and digital resilience, but also the necessary proportionality between the size of the tenders and that of Italian SMEs. Public demand is at the basis of the development of many Italian skills which, if adequately valued, can have their say not only on the Italian market but also on the international one».

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