Italian tower company Inwit and compatriot fibre infrastructure player Open Fiber have agreed to provide fixed wireless access to over 600 under-served locations.
When bringing connectivity to more remote areas, terms like ‘bridging the digital divide’ get chucked about and those concerned usually can’t resist framing it as an act of tear-jerking philanthropy. This case is certainly no exception, with ESG buzzwords scattered around the press release like confetti. The fact that there might be a euro or two in it for the companies concerned seems to be dismissed as vulgar and retrograde.
“This agreement is intended as further step towards reducing the digital divide, i.e. reducing the digital social marginalisation that unfortunately still exists in many areas of our country,” said Inwit CEO Giovanni Ferigo. “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.”
“We are working each day to build the network that will enable the country to keep pace with the ongoing digital revolution,” said Mario Rossetti, CEO of Open Fiber. “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.”
Bless ‘em, eh? The only surprise was the absence of an opportunistic politician hanging onto their coattails. If this was happening in the UK there would have been a stampede of them. FWA has long been considered a good option for getting broadband to places where building a proper fibre network is too expensive, so this makes good business sense.
The cunning plan is for Inwit to build ‘up to’ 500 new sites and for Open Fiber to connect them and supply the FWA gear. The press release eventually goes on to list the business rationale of the move for each partner, so they got there in the end. Ultimately this is presumably good news for rural Italians and the Italian economy on the whole, but let’s not count our polli before they’ve hatched.