Fibre and wireless combine to reduce Italy’s digital divide
Italian tower operator, INWIT and FTTH operator, Open Fiber have signed a strategic agreement to provide fixed wireless access technology coverage to more than 600 municipalities across the country.
The companies say that the partnership will make a major contribution to reducing the digital divide in Italy, a gap that is not only technological but also social and industrial. The agreement is for the design and construction of up to a maximum of 500 new sites by INWIT, with construction starting this year, and the related hospitality and infrastructure maintenance services. Open Fiber will provide the sites with fixed wireless access equipment and fibre optic connections, with the intention of facilitating access to the ultrabroadband network in areas of the country where it is still limited or absent.
Under the agreement, Open Fiber aims to accelerate coverage in small municipalities and inland areas, particularly those areas that are difficult to reach with FTTH connectivity. The company has reached more than 14 million homes, companies and government offices with its infrastructure to-date. For INWIT, the agreement provides an opportunity to expand its infrastructure with sites equipped with technological and structural features particularly suited to fulfilling the growing demand from fixed wireless access operators, with a return profile in line with its business model.
Mario Rossetti, CEO at Open Fiber explains: ‘We are working each day to build the network that will enable the country to keep pace with the ongoing digital revolution. The INWIT agreement is one more step that confirms our commitment to providing the areas that are still not reached by adequate connectivity with next generation network infrastructure. Given the powerful social value of our work, the acceleration and completion of the network in white areas is a top priority for Open Fiber.’
Adds INWIT CEO Giovanni Ferigo: ‘This agreement is intended as a further step towards reducing the digital divide, i.e. reducing the digital social marginalisation that unfortunately still exists in many areas of our country. If we really want to build an inclusive and sustainable society, we must think of digitalisation as an ally, as an enabling tool for a more sustainable future for all.’