Italy approves 900-million-euro Internet plan

Measure to extend broadband to seven million Italians

Italy approves 900-million-euro Internet plan

Rome, February 15 - The Italian government has approved a 900-million-euro plan that it hopes will breach the digital divide by bringing Internet access to almost seven million Italians. The ultra-broadband program would target as many as four million citizens in Italy's underserved south alone, particularly in the regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and Sicily. Government-issued tenders from the industry ministry suggest the plan, long discussed by officials, is becoming close to fruition. The broadband plan was born in 2008 with the aim of reaching eight million Italians living outside major service centres. But funding has been spotty and technical problems blamed when the goal was not reached. Still, the government hopes to now reach 3,600 new locations scattered throughout the country. Funding for the latest part of the project will come from various levels of government as well as private investments. The industry ministry believes the project will also breathe new life into businesses in the South. "Today we take a step forward that is fundamental to the development of the country, contributing to reset the digital divide and equip the south with ultra-broadband," said a statement issued by Corrado Passera, industry minister, and Fabrizio Barca, minister for territorial cohesion.

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