The Italian voucher case: stimulating the digitalization of Italy through business by deploying gigabit services in a pay-as-you-grow model

Let's examine how the Italian government is using incentives to improve connectivity across the country.
Stefano Fogli

Adtran discusses how Italy’s digitization investment project alongside its connectivity voucher scheme fits in with the open disaggregated model of invest-as-you-grow which will allow operators of all sizes to launch gigabit services in any part of Italy, be it rural or cities, without overinvesting.

The ultimate goal is to create an interconnected and digitized country in which private users can take advantage of essential and innovative services. Businesses can improve their sustainable productivity and have the opportunity to innovate continuously. Society itself can also benefit from tools to improve the well-being of all its components.

To achieve this vision, it’s necessary to create the conditions for adapting infrastructures throughout the national territory, promoting, in particular, the laying of fiber as close as possible to fixed and mobile users. But it’s also necessary to continuously stimulate demand for digital goods and services (market pull) among citizens and businesses.

The latest initiative of the Ministero dello Svillupo Economico (Ministry for Economic Development), managed by Infratel Italia and active since March 1 last year, fits into this context: the connectivity voucher for businesses, dedicated to encouraging the digitization of the production sector throughout the national territory.

This is an economic contribution for businesses (micro, small and medium-sized) ranging from €300 to €2,500, depending on the characteristics of the internet connection chosen. The contribution can be requested and paid directly by operators through their commercial channels. There are two essential prerequisites to be able to request it:

  1. The company must make a step change, that is, it must choose connectivity with higher performance than the current one
  2. The company must choose connectivity with the best performance available at its premises

The emphasis is therefore on connectivity performance; this becomes clearer when we look at what the value of the bonus paid depends on. Two parameters determine it: maximum download speed and minimum guaranteed bandwidth. The bonus is paid according to the scheme below.

table diagram

The parameters of the new contract determine the amount of the voucher, in particular, if the company enters into a contract with a maximum speed exceeding 1Gbit/s, the value of the contribution increases significantly, going from €500 to €2,000.

The emphasis is therefore on connectivity going beyond 1Gbit/s, seen as a future-proof enabler of a virtuous path towards full digitalization of the entire production sector.

This approach is similar to the one used by the Ministry for Economic Development for the recent tender about the ultra-broadband plan in gray areas (in that case we are talking about speeds greater than or equal to 1Gbit/s). Moreover, Italy is not alone in this area: we are witnessing in various European countries (for example in Germany and the United Kingdom) a transition towards fiber-to-the-home architectures, and in this context upwards of 1Gbit/s is already available both to the end-user and to enterprises, for example by using the XGS-PON technology.

The road is long and in the coming months we’ll discover the effectiveness of this provision; from the very first feedback just a few days after its launch (Dashboard Voucher Imprese - Banda Ultra Larga), we see that the majority of bookings are for the contribution of €2,000, which gives us hope for the success of this initiative and above all for how it will help contribute towards the complete digitization of our country.

At Adtran, we have the right solution for operators who want the ability to scale and go beyond 1Gbit/s seamlessly – this includes energy bills.

For more information on this solution, you can visit Telcos

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