Italy presents the worst digital divide in Europe, but one every 10 euros of the EU funds for the connection of the country are invested in video cameras and security
SOURCE: WIRED.IT – 22 OCTOBER 2014 – RICCARDO SAPORITI
The people of Telese Terme, near Benevento – seven thousand inhabitants – feel safer: they have a new video surveillance system to guarantee their security. The same is true for people of Toritto (Bari) and Naro (Agrigento). What do video cameras of these villages have in common to each other? The origin of the moneys needed to install it. The mayors of these cities, together with many others and the presidents of four regions of south Italy financed these purchases with the funds of the Digital Agenda, as can be seen on the dataset of MISE Department of Development and Economic Cohesion, published in September. These moneys come from European Funds and Department for State Cohesion. They may also be state of art cameras but…
What does that have to do with innovation?
This is a legitimate question, especially if we thing that the money spent to buy these video cameras is double what they have spent to guarantee broadband or wi-fi internet connections, that are the most important goals of Digital Agenda.
Of the EUR 2,2 billion EUR allocated for this item costs this is the situation:
207 milion euros, about one every 10 euros, was spent to install video cameras. The four most important projects regarded Sicily, Puglia, Campania and Calabria, which spent respectively 49, 46, 45 and 43 million euros. In these regions there is the biggest number of mayors who thinks that innovation comes from video surveillance. Only two exceptions, from Tuscan: Fucecchio (Florence) “invested” 95 thousands euro, and Barga (Lucca), where video cameras cost 79 thousands euros. For the rest the cost goes from 54 thousand euro spent in Castelvetrano (Trapani) to a million and 300 thousands euros spent in Casal di Principe and Castel Volturno, well-known for mafia.
116 milions euro have been spent for Fse and Fsc in order to enhance internet access. Most of the moneys, about 103, have been spent to install broadband, and the remaining 12,7 for the wi-fi installation in squares and schools. The outcome is that every time they spent 1 euro for internet connection of the country, it has been spent 2 euros in order to make it safer with video surveillance systems.
Therefore, Riccardo Luna, the new digital champion of the Govern has a lot of work to do in order to explain what Digital Agenda means.
As if that were not enough, for the Digital Agenda it has been spent also 4,8 millions euros in order to finances the passage to digital terrestrial of some local broadcasting stations. Thus, the digital divide in Italy is not only infrastructural but also cultural.