The two companies have been awarded the MISE call for technology development and the enabling of new services in the Tuscan municipality and in L’Aquila.
Build a “City 5G” where families and businesses can benefit from innovative services that address areas such as health, mobility, security, prevention and emergency management. With this objective, Open Fiber, a 50 percent stake in Enel and Cassa deposits and loans, and Wind Tre will carry out an experimental project on 5G technology in the cities of Prato and L’Aquila, after winning the September announcement by the Ministry of Economic Development. Specifically, pre-commercial 5G testing will cover the 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum portion in Prato and L’Aquila 2 area (through the use of frequency rights from 3.7 to 3.8 GHz) and will last up to December 31, 2021.
Experimentation, though addressed to two well-defined spatial spheres such as the cities of Prato and L’Aquila, has replicable features at national and European level. Open Fiber and Wind Tre, which have joined forces, infrastructures and investments in this initiative, are committed individually to two major BUL (Banda Ultra Large) infrastructure projects in Italy. Open Fiber is making a fibre optic network in Fiber To The Home (FTTH) mode, capable of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) both for download and upload and to support all the potential of technologies that will be developed over the next few years. Wind Tre is focusing on the largest plan currently being implemented in the integration and modernisation of a radio network, which will lead to the creation of a network with more than 21 thousand radio sites operating with 2G, 3G, 4G, 4.5G technologies throughout Italy. Both projects work in synergy with the development of 5G networks, which provide a widespread presence of radio sites in order to enable high capacity and/or very low latency services, capable of handling a very high number of devices.
The experimentation of Prato and L’Aquila involves universities (Florence, Polo di Prato, L’Aquila, Genoa, Bologna), research centres (such as the Bruno Kessler Foundation, Nextworks), companies (among others, e-distribution of Enel, ZTE, Estra). 5G technology is not a simple evolution of existing broadband networks but is a new technology with enormous potential both in terms of network and service. With its large-scale diffusion, it will be possible to improve the health care system, optimise the distribution of electricity and provide citizens with greater security through intelligent video surveillance and road-based systems.
“The evolution of telecommunications is a fundamental step in the economic and social development of today’s Italy, just as it did [sic] with the construction of the motorway network in the 1960s,” said Tommaso Pompei, Managing Director of Open Fiber. “The city of Prato inaugurates our City 5G model: a large ecosystem open to citizens, public administrations, industry, universities and research centres with a view to improving service efficiency and creating new growth opportunities. That’s why we are proud to take part in this experiment together with Wind Tre, the numerous partners and centres of excellence that participate in the project.”
“Wind Three, in partnership with Open Fiber, aims to invest and develop the 5G network and ecosystem in Prato and L’Aquila. We are proud to collaborate in this project with public and private entities, a decisive step in partnership creation that accelerates the digitisation process in Italy,” said Jeffrey Hedberg , CEO of Wind Tre. “The 5G is not just speed but is a technology that creates an ecosystem to innovate and market applications and solutions in different areas: telemedicine, education, smart homes, smart cities, and increased realities. This, Hedberg concludes, is a priority for Europe and will allow Italy, in particular, to valorise skills, people, partnership and innovation in its digital transformation path.”