Disconnected Italy


Tronchetti has written to 85,000 employees. His letter begins like this:
Dear colleagues, for some time now an editorial group has been demonstrating a persistent attack against our company, accusing it of presumed illegal activity, namely intercepts, creation of “dossiers” and keeping documents on clients.”
The editorial group for those who don’t know is “L’espresso” and for those who don’t know, a Milan judge has signed an order saying that Telecom illegally uses data about its former clients. But this is a long story that I’ll come back to.
For now Tronchetti, should get pen and paper and write, not just to his “colleagues” but also to his “clients” (a diminishing number of them) to give responses to letters like this.
“I’m writing to point out the umpteenth example of how in Italy the concept of competition and liberalisation of services is merely utopian.
I live in a small town in the Province of Ravenna and since I habitually use the Web, I’ve requested Broadband. But my town (like so many others) is not covered by the service. Following numerous requests from citizens and private companies, the local authorities have taken action. They have collected signatures to present to Telecom. Telecom “took note” of the signatures but refused to provide Broadband without offering any explanation.

Then, mainly thanks to 2 companies in the town that operate at an international level, it has been possible to get a meeting with a Telecom representative. At that meeting, the administrators of the 2 companies expressed their willingness to accept the entire cost of constructing the required signal repeating installation that was indicated as the unit needed to supply Broadband.

When presented with this offer, the Telecom representative revealed the incredible background to the situation. As many people know, the Broadband signal, travels together with the analogue signal using the same cables, but at different frequencies. Thus on a single cable, 2 bands of signals are available. One is used by normal telephone traffic and the other is reserved for Broadband connections.

What only few people know is that each “band” on each cable covers up to 700 telephone numbers. What the Telecom representative said was that in my town, once the limit of 700 telephone numbers had been reached, Telecom took action to save money. Instead of installing a second cable, they preferred to code the extra numbers at a higher frequency, so that they could travel along the same cable.

Thus in simple words, there’s no Broadband (and there cannot be Broadband) for the simple fact that Telecom has used both the “bands” for normal telephone traffic. Obviously, this means that the other companies, (Tiscali, Infostrada, etc), cannot in turn offer the service, for the simple reason that Telecom cannot rent out the “band” that should be available for Broadband. The same situation also exists in many other towns in the Province.

To conclude, I find it ridiculous (and also offensive) that in 2006, when in most of Italy, the use of fibre optics is becoming more widespread, whole towns are forced to travel at 56K (or no higher than 128K with ISDN) because of a shameful “technical choice” (that’s how it was referred to by the aforementioned Telecom representative). This choice was made by our blessed formerly national telephone company that occupies (I suppose unfortunately that this is legal) both the “bands” of the telephone cables. This prevents any rival companies from offering their services, in the face of any law on the freedom of competition, but above all going against the needs of the citizens and of the companies.” R.C.

PS I’m asking the 2 companies that helped the local authorities in the town in the Province of Ravenna to get in touch with me so that they can offer, through this blog, the free construction of the signal repeating installations to all the other small towns in Italy.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:46 AM in | Comments (10)
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Italy is underdeveloped country and that is the fact. It's closer to a North African countries than to a Europe. And a mentality is definitely of a northern Africa. Sorry. :-(

Posted by: Jimmy Page | December 18, 2007 11:16 PM

Hello to all
I did enjoy all the articles I am Italian born but
I live in Cleveland Ohio USA SINCE 1959
I love Italy but I became American citizen on
1977 because I have two children so I will be
like them I was in Italy on 2006 I love it.

Posted by: RomanaSalvati | February 19, 2007 02:55 AM

Eva, Customer Support in Italy is non-existent.
3 weeks ago I had to fly to Italy for my job and I had to rent a car for a week, an Alfa 166 because the president of the company I work for, and I, had to take various customers to the factory that builds the machines that we import in USA.
Well, as I enter the car the lower side of the dashboard falls on my legs (it was a new car with 8000km on it) and I ask for a prompt replacement: all I got it was an answer about not having any replacement cars of the same class and before leaving, one of the people that were working there "fixed" this problem with duct tape.
The duct tape held for about 5 hours and then the cover fell on my legs again, risking an accident on the tollway.
The following day I called 3 different offices and nobody gave a shit and nobody called me back and I had to keep the car the way it was, while the customers that I was transporting were seeing this and commenting on "Third World Italy".
At the end I had to pay $1,100 and I didn't have any discount for this inconvenience (1 week of rent).
I wrote 2 emails to the renting company last week and I still did not have any answer about it.
This is just a renting experience but from this you guys can see that a lot of businesses and services in Italy just don't give a rat's ass about customers or citizens if a problem arises.
It's just the mentality.
And this pisses me off because as an Italian living abroad I can witness the effect that has on people going to Italy and commenting it afterwards.
And all because of a small percentage of stupid people that doesn't care, which are shedding this shadow on all of us.
I expect that one day everybody wakes up and start to notice those people and do something about it.
Otherwise we will always be the country of Mafia, Spaghetti and Mandolino.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | June 4, 2006 07:21 PM

ciao beppe,here in australia if you do not have any computer the libraries around the country offer free use of computer and internet with veryu very fast broadband, and if somebody live outside the city or in the contry or bush the government offer free satellite and installation, we have to paid just for the montly use,by the way,by the way I like to let you know as well that here in australia we do not pay any tax or canone on televison or radio or stereo in the car, we do not pay yearly tax on passaport or drive licence we do pay one off when we apply for document my passaport was $120 for I think 10 years,and I also like to let you know that they are soo kind here that they send you a letter or remind when the drive licence is for renew ,I am from italy and when I get homesick I wacht the italian news and I feel better after, it just rimand me of the reason why I left in the fist place, good luck to all of you letf there you got all my moral support

Posted by: eva kulnura | June 4, 2006 12:35 AM

.....special tunnel?
Now I get it.
Blisco, you are right.
Democracy in the Italian way!
Probably one day there will be electricity and running water for every italian and this will be no longer considered a luxury for few elected people.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | May 30, 2006 04:45 PM

We are so underdeveloped in the wireless tecnology, while in the other european contries it's now normality. A german friend of mine came visiting me with his laptop, and was surprised to see that there was no wireless connection in my apartment, and I don't live in a small town but in the Eternal City!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | May 30, 2006 01:48 PM

I'm living in Vienna, Austria. I'm living here since the last month and I'll live at least for one year. As soon as I'll have time I'll write a good comment about the differences between Austria and Italy (I love Vienna...).

BTW: about this post: here in Vienna there's the funkfeuer, what's this? I paste here the description of their website:

FunkFeuer is a free, experimental network in Vienna and meanwhile in parts of Weinviertel (NÖ) and some nodes in Graz. It is build and maintained by computer enthusiasts. This project is non commercial.

FunkFeuer is open for everybody interested and willing to contribute. One of the goals is to built a unregulated network which has the potential to bridge the digital valley between the social layers and deliver the infrastructure and the knowledge for it.

To be able to participate in FunkFeuer you need a WLAN router (starting at 60 EUR) or a PC, the OLSR program, an IP from FunkFeuer, some patience and motivation. You can see on our map where reception of FunkFeuer should be possible (keep in mind that there might be buildings in your path, so reception is then only possible circuitous). One third of Vienna should be covered in principle. In Graz are some nodes around the Kunsthaus.

We build our network on our own!


This is the future, goodbye Mr. Tronchetti! :-)


Posted by: Antonio Terreno | May 30, 2006 09:53 AM

Prince, I think that this is the democracy in the italian way:-) Recently in the high Friul they refused hardly to import electricity from Austria because the line was too dangerous for the inhabitants. The real fact is that the cables were planed to be buried in a special tunnel...

Posted by: blisco jaio | May 30, 2006 06:08 AM

Last week I was in Western Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere (by the famous "Chmney Rock") and, because I was there for my company, I had to bring my laptop to keep in touch with the rest of the world.
The hotel where I was staying offered FREE WIRELESS web access with BROADBAND.
Just imagine the kilometers of cable that had to be laid down to give me , the other guests in that hotel and the rest of the inhabitants of that region, this service that today is almost everywhere.
And I'm talking about Nebraska, not Manhattan or Chicago!
And near Ravenna there are still Mickey Mouse stories told to paying customers?
What a BS!
As always only in Italy!

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | May 29, 2006 11:42 PM

Wow !!!
I await posts on this particular topic with great interest ...
Down here, our government is well on the way to SELLING its remaining interest in our national carrier (also once called "Telecom", but now "Telstra"); presumably, so that it can wash its hands in true Pontius Pilate fashion on anything that occurs along the lines of what you have just exposed.
Isn't industry wonderful ??? Not.

Posted by: Margaret-Rose STRINGER | May 29, 2006 01:06 PM

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