Antitrust-Agicom survey on broadband: It’s necessary to digitalize PA

Antitrust survey – AgCom draft three scenarios for broadband and alerts government

SOURCE: ITespresso – 10 november 2014

The survey on broadband, conducted by Antitrust and AgCom in order to verify competition status, established that Italy needs a strategic plan to overcome the digital spread, the gap and delay on the digitalization of the Country. In the ultra-broadband Italy, Cipro and Greece are the group of countries where less than 1% of population has a broadband subscription, while the European average is 21%. Anyway, this gap increased during the 3-years period 2011-2014, after the crisis of sovereign debts.

Antitrust and AgCom sustain that it is necessary to digitalize PA. Antitrust Agcom advocate public and private investments, but the focus must be on competition considering the big amount of telephone operators in Italy. The perfect scenario, under the competition and regulatory profile, provide for a “pure operator”, not integrated with services supply. The scenario provide for a spin-off of Telecom network on the Snam Rete Gas or Terna model, even if it is considered to be difficult to realize, because Telecom Italia is a private society which cannot be deprived of an asset such as the network.

The second alternative scenario is one where the market structure if “it would be re-organized on the figure of the leader operator, vertically integrated, it should imply a particular attention both on antitrust profile and regulatory discipline”.

Third scenario focuses on networks development depending on co-investment models among more operators also by joint venture: “If this option would be realized, so that it shouldn’t unduly narrowed the competitive spaces, it should be the second best solution for competition and at the same time it should accelerate investment processes on the new generation networks”.

“The realization of broadband networks is essential to realize the objectives of European Digital Agenda, in order to give a boost to economic development. But, while in some areas of the Country we see a competitive dynamism among private operators encouraged by regulation, in other areas there is a substantial absence of infrastructural investments. For this reason it is necessary a national strategic plan for the development of new generation networks, also providing for public policies to support investments; it is necessary to accelerate Public Administration digitalization and, more in general, it is necessary to promote public participation supporting ultra-broadband services demand and supply; it is necessary to support joint-ventures among private operators in order to accelerate investments in new generation networks”. These are the main guidelines came to light from the survey on new generation telecommunication networks conducted last January by Agcm (Competition and Market Authority) and Agcom (Communication Authority).

NetIndex shows that Greece is above Italy for download speed. As regards broadband Italy is the last among G8 Countries, second to last in Europe and one of the last 34 in OCSE.

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