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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ROME1534 2003-04-10 10:56:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

ITALY -- WIRELESS INTERNET SURVEY

Tags:   ECPS ECON ETRD IT 
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1. WI-FI HAS BEEN SLOW TO GET OFF THE GROUND IN ITALY,
COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY OFFICIALS ACKNOWLEDGED DURING THE
MARCH 6-7TH U.S/ITALY BILATERAL DISCUSSIONS ON
TELECOMMUNICATIONS. MINISTRY OFFICIALS HAVE PUBLICLY
CRITICIZED THE COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY (ITALY'S FCC
EQUIVALENT) FOR THE DELAY IN THE ISSUANCE OF WI-FI RELATED
REGULATIONS. AUTHORITY OFFICIALS TOLD US ON APRIL 7 THAT THEY
WILL SOON ISSUE REGULATIONS FOR PUBLIC USE OF R-LAN -- RADIO
LOCAL AREA NETWORKS -- EQUIPMENT.



2. DURING THE MARCH 6-7TH BILATERAL DISCUSSIONS, BOTH
MINISTRY AND AUTHORITY OFFICIALS RAISED CONCERNS ABOUT THE
INTERFERENCE OF WI-FI SYSTEMS WITH 2G AND 3G MOBILE SYSTEMS
(REFTEL B). THE U.S. DELEGATION, WHICH WAS HEADED BY
AMBASSADOR DAVID GROSS OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT, REPLIED THAT,
WHILE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND U.S. INDUSTRY INITIALLY HAD
THOSE CONCERNS, NOW BOTH PARTIES SEE SYSTEMS AS
COMPLEMENTARY. TELECOM COMPANIES, U.S. DELEGATES NOTED, SEE
WI-FI AS PART OF A BUNDLE OF SERVICES THAT INCLUDES 2G AND 3G
CAPABILITIES. NOTING THAT THE 2.4 MHZ BAND IS USED MORE IN
ITALY THAN IN THE U.S., MINISTRY OFFICIALS UNDERSCORED THAT
SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT AND ALLOCATION OF FREQUENCIES WILL BE
EVEN MORE CRITICAL TO AVOID INTERFERENCE.



3. ITALY HAS ALLOCATED UNLICENSED RADIO-FREQUENCY SPECTRUM
FOR USE BY WI-FI AND SIMILAR WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES BOTH FOR
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC USE. UNDER ITALY'S FREQUENCY ALLOCATION
SCHEME (PNRF - PIANO NAZIONALE DI RIPARTIZIONE DELLE
FREQUENZE), THE USE OF R-LAN SYSTEMS FOR WI-FI IS ALLOWED, IN
THESE FREQUENCY BANDS: 2,400.0 - 2,483.5 MHZ (2.4 GHZ BAND),
5,150 - 5,350 MHZ, 5,470 - 5,725 MHZ (5 GHZ BAND). FOR
PRIVATE USE, SYSTEMS AT 2.4 GHZ CAN BE FREELY USED WITHOUT
ANY FORM OF AUTHORIZATION IN INDOOR PREMISES; AUTHORIZATION
IS NEEDED FOR OUTDOOR USAGE. OPERATORS DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR
AUTHORIZATION.



4. TELECOM ITALIA OFFERS INDOOR WI-FI SERVICES TO CUSTOMERS.
SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE OFFERING OUTSIDE WI-FI SERVICES IN
ITALY. MEGABEAM, WHICH WAS RECENTLY PURCHASED BY TELECOM
ITALIA FOR ABOUT 11.5 MILLION EUROS, HAS CREATED HOT SPOTS IN
THE ROME AND MILAN AIRPORTS, AS WELL AS VARIOUS MEETING ROOMS
IN HOTELS IN ROME AND MILAN. WITH FAIRLY HIGH PRICES (115
EUROS PER MONTH), THE SERVICE IS FOCUSED ON BUSINESS
TRAVELERS. TELECOM ITALIA PLANS A RAPID EXPANSION FOR WI-FI,
AT FIRST PRIMARILY IN TRAIN STATIONS, AIRPORTS, CONFERENCE
CENTERS, AND HOTELS. AIRGATE, AN ITALIAN COMPANY, IS
PLANNING TO BUILD A NATIONAL WI-FI NETWORK CALLED "SPAGHETTI
WIRELESS", BASED ON SEATTLE'S "SEATTLE WIRELESS." THE CITY
OF PADUA IS IN THE PROCESS OF CREATING A CITY-WIDE WI-FI
NETWORK. IT HAS EIGHT NODES, OF WHICH SIX ARE OPERATIONAL,
AND IS PLANNING ON TWELVE MORE THROUGHOUT THE CITY.



5. POST WILL REPORT ON REGULATIONS FOR PUBLIC USE OF R-LAN
UPON THEIR PUBLICATION.
SEMBLER



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2003ROME01534 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED