Creation/strengthening of connectivity infrastructures across the region, through public/private actions, in turn establishing a self-sustainable process.
Creation/strengthening of connectivity infrastructures across the region, through actions involving both public and private stakeholders, for widespread & sustainable access to networks, thus achieving economic development/competitiveness & social inclusion (within broader framework of Digital Agenda).
In some cases, purely private actions are favoured, such as strengthening of mobile networks along regional motorways or provision of optical fibre in areas of commercial interest. Other cases benefit from direct public intervention: the public stakeholder does not replace the private one but allocates investments, where necessary, to foster development of public infrastructure which is then licensed to private operators for management & maintenance. Public intervention takes place, only where necessary, in initial phase of development. Private stakeholders supply service and maintain network.
The case of the deployment of Wi-Fi access networks provides a relevant example: the Liguria Region (through ICT in house company), offers free-of-charge access points to local municipalities (together with a maintenance service) and a user authentication system, integrated at regional level (connected to national network) allowing for the creation of federations with other Wi-Fi networks, public and private alike.
The focus is on the implementation of a “self-sustainable” process, able to continue to develop further without additional costs for public authority.
The initiative has been carried out in different steps. The main one ended in 2016 with a total amount of about 22 million Euro of regional funding. Today, thanks to the positive experience, a new project is ongoing with an estimated budget of about 35 million Euro, mainly of regional funding.
Evidence of success
Development of infrastructures at local level for telecommunications networks, with an integrated public-private contribution. The first main initiative has worked out about 300 Km of fiber optic (mainly along the coast) and 300 radio repeaters (mainly in the inner territory). The WIFI initiative has covered about 83% of all the Ligurian municipalities.
Potential for learning or transfer
The model is simple and, in some cases, stabilized. It involves phases that can be easily transferred to other territories (and to other projects). In the first place, the public authority needs to acquire proper knowledge of infrastructure conditions (existing & planned ones alike) in the territory through surveys with main private stakeholders and dialogue with local administrations. Secondly, it is expected to intervene in those areas where private sector has shown no interest. Thirdly, the public authority needs to put in place the right infrastructures (and market conditions) to attract long-lasting private investments. Public intervention needs to be implemented by taking into account long-term self-sustainability. The process is supported by public/private funds. The model can be transferred to other sectors and contexts as it allows public & private actions to coexist: public investments to attract private investments, which autonomously support the continuation of the service.