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The Net: evolution and future

11/07/2016 - 00:30 PM

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Digital Smart City
The updating of the infrastructure is a long and ongoing process. While the technologies of the moment are disseminated, new ones are being created and developed. In this cycle timing is important: our aim is to quickly disseminate ultrabroadband in Italy. By the end of 2015 the new generation network (NGAN) had reached 42% of homes and today, October 2016, fiber coverage reaches 56%, passing more than 13.6 million households; a rate of over 7,320 kilometres of fibre laid every day. 4G on the other hand is active in 6,530 municipalities and covers 95% of the population. We are ahead of our schedule and aim at closing 2016 with about 60% of cabled houses and over 96% of the population reached with 4G. We will close 2017 with the following numbers: around 80% of houses cabled, 98% of the population reached with 4G. To reach this goal we are investing over 4.5 billion euros in the 2016 to 2018 timeframe.
In December 2013 Varese was one of the first cities in Italy where our new generation infrastructures for both fixed and mobile ultrabroadband networks became operational.
Today Perugia is another important step in our plans because here, in May 2016, TIM launched 1000 MB ultrabroadband services by cabling households on a FTTH (Fiber To The Home) network. After Perugia, Milan, Catania, Turin, Bari, Messina, Salerno, Monza were reached by this technology and other main cities will follow.  
FTTH technology, where fibre optics come directly into the buildings, guarantees a connection speed of up to 1000 Megabit/s, improving the performance reached by the fibre optics on FTTCab (Fiber To The Cabinet) networks, which provide connections of up to 100 MB.   
Fibre significantly improves the browsing experience and offers new services. From home, for example, you can enjoy HD video, high quality, multiplayer online gaming and multimedia content simultaneously available on smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.  Moreover, optical fibre also brings applications such as telepresence, cloud computing services for businesses and is a step towards the smart city model for local administrations, with systems for security and monitoring the territory, infomobility and sensor networks for environmental tele-monitoring.
Existing infrastructures are exploited to lay the cables or, where digging is necessary, innovative techniques with low environmental impact are used, shortening work time and presence of the work site; these techniques also result in less material being removed from the ground and, as a consequence, less deterioration of the road surface and need for road restoration.
The mobile new generation network is called 4G or LTE (Long Term Evolution) and its further evolution: LTE Advanced or 4G Plus.
LTE technology allows data transmission speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s in download and 50 Mbit/s in upload; the upload speed is 8 times faster than that of the HSPA network (5.6 Mbit/s) and more than double in download (HSPA: 42.2 Mbit/s). LTE Advanced technology makes it possible to achieve real transmission speeds roughly double those available on Italian mobile networks: up to 225 Mb per second.
All this means better performance, levels of service and Internet browsing for those using LTE mobile phones, smartphones, USB keys and tablets, allowing the user to enjoy high definition innovative multimedia contents even whilst on the move.
In the meantime we have already started working on 4G evolution towards ... 5G!

The partnership with Fastweb

In this scenario, the recent strategic partnership with Fastweb gives a new boost. The goal is to speed up the creation of the fibre network (FTTH) in 29 cities with an investment of 1.2 billion euros, through the establishment of a joint venture with 80% of the capital held by TIM and 20% by Fastweb.
The new company will handle the creation, on behalf of TIM and Fastweb, and the subsequent rental to them, of a secondary network and the vertical segments up to user homes. The new company's business plan envisages connecting around 3 million homes with FTTH technology within 2020 which will allow connection speeds of 1 Gigabit per second.
Moreover TIM will buy from Fastweb over the next 18 months the infrastructure with FTTH technology that will allow around 650 thousand homes in 6 cities to connect to TIM's network one year earlier than envisaged in the Business Plan.

Public-private collaboration

A third route for TIM to support the diffusion of fibre in Italy is represented by calls for tenders issued by the Ministry of Economic Development through Infratel Italia. Infratel is a company owned by the Ministry appointed to implement the national Broadband Plan, now completed, and the Ultrabroadband Digital Plan. TIM won the seven calls for tenders issued for the regions of Central and South Italy:  Molise, Lazio, Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicily. This will bring fibre to around 10 million residents in over 760 municipalities and 5,200 local government offices, including over 400 hospitals and healthcare facilities and almost 2,000 schools. The overall investment is over 750 million euros, of which around 358 million euros come from public funding and 394 million euros from TIM. While the works in the seven regions are completed or being completed, other calls for tenders are underway with the issue of a new funding arrangement.