Respecting the fibre and 5G coverage objectives announced by the previous government will be “complicated and very demanding,” according to Italy’s new Undersecretary for Technological Innovation Alessio Butti. In a statement released to news agency Ansa ahead of the Asstel Telecommunications Forum, Butti described the objectives of the ‘Italia a 1 Giga’ project to bring 1Gbps connections to nearly 7 million addresses in grey areas all over the country as “wrong”, while the ‘BUL’ high-speed broadband infrastructure plan “is not in better shape” and facing “macroscopic delays”.

More generally, the minister said the Italian telecommunications industry found itself in a “very difficult situation”, adding that “a more ambitious strategy” as well as “a new vision for the sector and a different way of working” was required. He concluded by announcing plans to convene a meeting of the CEOs of the main Italian operators as soon as possible.

Last year the previous government of Mario Draghi said it would bring gigabit broadband connections to the whole country by 2026 through an acceleration of fibre and 5G coverage plans financed by the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund. It subsequently signed contracts in August to begin work on the ‘Italia a 1 Giga’ and ‘Italia 5G’ tenders, using public funds from the post-pandemic National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).

Separately, Italy’s new industry minister Adolfo Urso reiterated government plans to bring Telecom Italia’s (TIM) network under state control with a view to accelerating the country’s digitalisation. “We need the network to be under public control,” said Urso at a business conference in Rome, according to Reuters, describing the privatisation of Italy’s former incumbent in 1997 as a “mistake”. 

However, economy minister Giancarlo Giorgetti last week sounded a more cautious note on the so-called Minerva plan to create a single Italian fixed broadband network controlled by state lender CDP, saying many ministers were involved and that it still required extensive discussion.

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