Vodafone Italy has announced plans to invest EUR1 billion (USD1.39 billion) in its wireless broadband services in an effort to reach the estimated 12% of the population that still do not have ‘adequate internet access’. According to Paolo Bertoluzzo, head of Vodafone’s Italian operations, the company wants to reach the 1,800 towns that lack any form of wireless broadband access within the next four years. Vodafone aims to offer speeds of at least 2Mbps using HSPA+ technology. Vodafone Italy has stepped up its broadband ambitions in recent years, and is currently in the process of deploying a EUR2.5 billion jointly-owned fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) fibre-optic broadband access network in collaboration with FastWeb and Wind. The FTTH network aims to serve around ten million people (around 17% of the population) in Italy’s 15 largest cities within five years.
In related news, Vodafone Italy and Huawei Technologies have reportedly inked a five-year deal to collaborate on a EUR10 million deal to build a broadband research centre in Milan. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi will be present at the signing ceremony; a total of 129 Chinese companies have received permission from their government to invest in Italy.