Bridging the digital divide and development of ultrabroadband in Emilia-Romagna: new Agreement (Memorandum of Understanding - MoU) signed by the Region of Emilia-Romagna, Telecom Italia and Lepida SpA

03/22/2012 - 11:50 AM

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Bologna - Continued efforts to bridge the digital divide and develop ultrabroadband in Emilia-Romagna. These, in brief, are the undertakings foreseen by the new Agreement (Memorandum of Understanding - MoU) signed by the Regional Authority (by Lorenzo Broccoli, Head of Information Systems), Telecom Italia (Oscar Cicchetti, Director of Strategy) and Lepida SpA (Gabriele Falciasecca, Chairman). It represents the next step forward following the expiry at the end of March of the first two-year agreement signed in 2010. Under the new MoU Telecom Italia will progressively equip around 70 exchanges with optic fibre through public works, with a view to significantly reducing the digital divide and improving access to information technologies for a potential population of around 120,000 people. The new three-year agreement will further this commitment in Emilia-Romagna over the coming years, by exploiting existing optic fibre lines in the region, and where necessary by laying new lines with the support of funding from the Region, the local authorities, the Ministry of Economic Development and the technician and operative supervision of Lepida SpA. The operation could potentially connect the remaining sections of the population who are still without broadband at the conclusion of the first agreement.

The Agreement also foresees the identification of further areas of collaboration involving new mobile network technologies, such as LTE (Long Term Evolution), the possible uses of existing fibre optic across the region, optimising synergies between the public and private sectors. Finally, under the Memorandum of Understanding, Telecom Italia will make available coverage data to give Lepida SpA an accurate picture of the present situation and allow them to continue monitoring and plan new services that respond to the needs of the area and the general public.

“With today's agreement our commitment to narrow the digital divide continues," remarked Alfredo Peri, Regional Commissioner for Tangible and Intangible Infrastructure, present at the signing. "It lays the basis for the introduction and diffusion of network infrastructure and connectivity to the whole community of Emilia-Romagna, both citizens and firms. This is not an accessory service, but a vital factor for the competitiveness and socio-economic development of the region. We are working to lay the basis for the advent of the new frontier, ultrabroadband, through a synergy between the public and private sectors.” 

“This second memorandum demonstrates that with the commitment of local government it is possible to bridge the digital divide," said Oscar Cicchetti, Director of Strategy Telecom Italia. "This represents the first goal of the European Digital Agenda, bringing broadband networks to the whole territory to meet the needs of citizens. The operation will be carried out as always with maximum transparency and in full compliance with the rules.”