Let’s start with a confession: the writer of these lines is writing in a painful mood. Because, having lived for years in a decentralized area of one of the two major islands, he periodically picks up the handset to call his landline telephone operator and find out when the fiber will ever reach his home area. And he punctually receives vague answers, which refer to an unspecified future.
Well, the words of Giancarlo Giorgetti, Minister of Economic Development, have frozen anyone in a similar situation. In a nutshell, Giorgetti declared that the plan that would have allowed the implementation of optical fiber throughout Italy by 2026 is destined to fail. In short, a procrastination will be needed, now without any doubt.
Let’s find out what Minister Giorgetti said, and under what circumstances. And what are the reasons for the unbridgeable delay.
Optical fiber throughout Italy by 2026? Impossible
The words of the Minister of Economic Development arrived on Thursday 21 April, during a videoconference intervention at the Fim-Cisl congress at the Lingotto in Turin.
The minister said: “We are feeding a huge market in reaching all Italian families and businesses with high-speed fiber. It is one of the most ambitious targets of the digital revolution, but we know perfectly well that we do not have the production capacity to be able to lay all the fiber we have imagined to lay on schedule, even in the PNRR, by 2026 “.
Giorgetti then explained the reasons why optical fiber throughout Italy by 2026 is now a vanished dream. The minister pointed to the “lack of workers and production capacity” as responsible. Explaining that “for many years there has been a lot of attention to demand, today, however, we have a problem of misalignment, of a bottleneck, of supply versus demand, so everyone for their role I think should reflect on restructuring of the production offer “.
Colao’s plan needs to be remodeled
By declaring impossible the extension of optical fiber throughout Italy by 2026, Giancarlo Giorgetti has somehow called into question Vittorio Colao, minister for technological innovation and digital transition.
Colao who in October 2021 had drawn the road map of optical fiber in Italy. The minister had stated that within four years all Italian families and businesses would be reached by a 1 Gbps ultra-broadband connection.
In reality, Colao’s words are inspired by a joint document, signed by the two ministers in May 2021, which is called “Italian Strategy for Ultra Broadband – Towards the Gigabit Society.”
One of the seven points of the document, which is part of the larger “Italia Digitale” project, takes the name of “Italia a 1 Giga”. The time schedule of which starts in the second quarter of 2021 and ends (or should have ended) in the second of 2026.
In addition, with regard to the objectives and the funds allocated, it is stated that the plan “aims to provide connectivity at 1 Gbit / s in download and 200 Mbit / s in upload in the gray and black NGA market failure areas, for a total of 8.5 million real estate units, in compliance with the principle of technological neutrality.
Specifically the measure, with one allocation of approximately 3.8 billion eurosaims to cover the real estate units that, following the mapping in progress, will not be covered (currently and in the next few years) by networks capable of reliably providing at least 100 Mbit / s in download “.
Giorgetti’s words follow several extensions relating to the Gigabit Society project. One concerned the “Italia a 1 Giga” plan: the operators should initially have submitted an application by March 15th, a deadline then moved to the 31st of the same month. Two, however, were the extensions for as many points of the Gigabit society, namely “Connected Health” and “Connected Schools”.
The plan of 2.02 million euros to complete the coverage of 5G, which has attracted so much criticism (often for very irrational reasons), is also late.
The position of the trade unions
If Giancarlo Giorgetti spoke at the Fim-Cisl congress, it is from the CGIL that the first criticisms arrive.
Emilio Miceli and Barbara Apuzzo, respectively confederal secretary and national head of integrated telecommunication policies and systems of the union, said that “if we do not recover quickly, the risk is to jeopardize the achievement of the objectives linked to development by the end of June. ultra-fast connections, as foreseen by the commitment made with the EU Commission.
Having thought of fragmenting what we consider the largest infrastructure project in the country does not help. And perhaps some problems also lie in the way in which the calls were structured “.