February 2014 can be remembered as a month that laid the basis for an intense Italian and European  political dialogue for the development of a modern economy with efficient broadband networks.

In fact, on February 13, 2014, the Senate of the Italian Republic started the analysis and discussion for the conversion into Law of Law Decree  23 December 2013, no. 145, which implemented and integrated the “Destinazione Italia” Plan.

This Plan, adopted by the Council of Ministers on 19 September 2013, establishes a set of 50 measures to foster inward investment in a cohesive and structural manner and increase Italian companies competitiveness.

We hope that the Italian Parliament may finally adopt some specific measures to re-launch the Italian Digital Agenda, and to address many issues related to the development and implementation of broadband networks, such as the networks and infrastructures national database, which should guarantee broadband costs reduction.

However, at the end of February  2014, this issue was discussed also at European level.

In this regard, Vice President Neelie Kroes welcomed Member States’ endorsement the draft EU Directive on broadband cost reduction on February 28, 2014.

The political agreement onEU rules aims to slash broadband installation costs, addressing four main problem areas:ensuring that new or majorly renovated buildings are high-speed-broadband-ready; opening access on fair and reasonable terms and conditions, including price, to infrastructure such as existing ducts, conduits, manholes, cabinets, poles, masts, antennae installations, towers and other supporting constructions; ending insufficient coordination of civil works, by enabling any network operator to negotiate agreements with other infrastructure providers; and simplifying complex and time-consuming permit granting, especially for masts and antennas, by granting or refusing permits within six months by default.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission said: “Broadband networks are the backbone of modern economies. I am pleased to see that the co-legislators agreed on rules which will help reduce the cost of broadband deployment. Such measures will bring high-speed broadband closer to European citizens, not least those living in the most remote areas where deployment is very expensive. It will also mean less digging as the rules enable synergies across the sectors, between telecom operators and utilities.

So now, which are the next steps for 2014?

A 10% increase in broadband penetration would increase GDP by 1-1.5%.

We have just to hope that all EC and italian measures will be issue quickly to re-launch the economy.