The European Commission has adopted a policy providing more than €573 million in funding to deliver fast broadband for Italy.
Funding from the EU will cover around 60 per cent of the project, aimed at providing access to high speed internet for 12.5 million Italians and just under a million businesses across 7,000 municipalities. The project forms part of the “Italian Digital Plan – Ultra-broadband” initiative, which aims to deliver fast, reliable broadband connections to at least 85 per cent of homes and all public buildings in Italy; with particular focus on schools, hospitals and “white areas” where the necessary infrastructure for high-speed connectivity is not supported by market forces. It is expected to be completed by 2020.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “This EU-funded broadband project, which covers 20 per cent of the Italian population, means unprecedented business opportunities, better public services and better quality of life for the Italian people. It shows what the EU is really about: working to improve everyday life for citizens, very concretely.”
Italy is the EU’s second largest recipient of European Structural Investment Funds, with €44.7 billion reserved by the Commission for investment in Italian development projects between 2014 and 2020; of which €1.9 billion will go to fund broadband, digital and connectivity developments. The Commission has proposed an increase in funds allocated to Italy for the next budget period, 2021 to 2027; in order to promote “lasting economic recovery” in the country.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “A high quality broadband infrastructure is essential in today’s economy and society. Citizens will benefit fully from the Digital Single Market once they have unrestricted access to the best performing networks, which enable the widespread access to new products, services and applications. Such projects lay the foundations for an inclusive and competitive digital Europe.”