Fastweb was founded in Milan in 1999 with a truly innovative project from a technological perspective and from the point of view of the industry: the construction of a fibre-optic network and the adoption of IP protocol for voice, data and video transmission.
18 years on, Fastweb is one of the top operators on the telecommunications market in Italy and its network now extends all over Italian territory.
In September 1999, in Milan, e.Biscom is founded with a business project to develop and promote a new generation of transmission networks as an alternative to the traditional telephone networks.
The company focuses on the creation of a widespread fibre optic network in the metropolitan area of Milan. e.Biscom is the parent company to which other companies report, including Fastweb, wholly owned by e.Biscom, which provides telecommunications services.
In March 2000 e.Biscom is listed on the Italian New Market Stock Exchange in order to expand and finance the growth of the fibre optic network in the main Italian cities.
e.Biscom is the first operator in the world to use full IP technology and to take optical fibre to the cities. The first home services are launched.
The innovative Video-on-Demand service is introduced to the market. From July 2001. e.Biscom voice, data and Internet also begins to be supplied through xDSL technology.
Cabling in fiber optic is completed in Milan and Fastweb consolidates its presence in Rome, Genoa, Turin, Naples and Bologna. Over the course of the year, the range of television services is extended, combining Video-on-Demand with widespread programming and video communication services.
Over the course of 2003 e.Biscom completes its range of television services for residential clients with the transmission of live soccer matches. Provision of Video-on-Demand service and the entire range of television services broadcast over-the-air or by satellite begins by means of ADSL to customers not directly reached by the fibre optic network.
Hence Triple Play takes shape, in other words, the convergence between telecommunications, Internet and television.
In December 2004, the merger of Fastweb into e.Biscom is completed, decided on in the preceding April by the respective BoDs. With the merger, the group focuses on its core business: broadband telecommunications on the Italian landline network. The company takes on the name of Fastweb.
On 14 January 2005, the BoD approves the 2005-2013 business plan, which launches a new expansion phase, bringing forward to 2006 the extension of the Fastweb broadband network to around half of the population of Italy. On 18 February, the general meeting approves an issue of shares for cash or other consideration amounting to EUR 800 million to part finance acceleration in growth. Fastweb establishes itself increasingly as a sound and reliable national telecommunications operator, chosen by residential and business customers throughout Italy owing to the quality and reliability of its service.
Fastweb wins both the Consip and the Cnipa tender for the Public Connectivity System (SPC) becoming a top supplier for the Public Authorities. For the residential market, the company launches certified 6Mbit/s for all customers and the option to benefit from connections of up to 20 Mbit/s with ADSL2+ technology.
A further dimension is added to the range of TV services with Replay TV, the service that allows viewers to view the programmes again up to three days before the generalist TV (Rai, Mediaset, TI Media), and with the Multiplatform Unique Decoder. The Fastweb network reaches 45% of the population.
In March, Swisscom, former Swiss telecommunications monopoly operator, launches a full public tender offer on Fastweb. The transaction is concluded in May. Swisscom buys 82.1% of the corporate capital, which is described as "a masterpiece of Italian enterprise". Over the course of the year a network expansion plan is approved in order to achieve 50% coverage of the population and an agreement is signed with 3 Italia to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) for mobile services.
For the first time in Italy, Fastweb launches connections of up to 100 Mega per for small and medium enterprises in areas served by its fibre optic network. Furthermore, the company launches mobile telephony and data services for homes, the self-employed and small and medium enterprises. Fastweb, which has always been a leader in convergence thanks to Triple Play, becomes to all effects a 4P operator.
Over the course of the year, a business agreement is signed with Telecom Italy to promote the development of fibre-optic next-generation networks (NGN) by means of sharing infrastructures.
Growth continues in the markets in which Fastweb operates: homes, Pmi, large corporations, public authorities and SMEs. For the large corporations Fastweb develops advanced Unified Communication solutions, the next generation service that allows the integration of communication channels and various terminals. The story of ten years of Fastweb is told by Valerio Castronovo and Giovanni Paoloni in a book published by Laterza, entitled: Fastweb 1999 – 2009, The story of an innovative company.
The provision of up to 100 Mega for residential customers begins: in September, Fastweb makes Fibra 100 (Fibre 100) available to the residential market. Two million homes and businesses are thus able to use the Internet at 100 Mbps for the first time in Italy. In autumn, Swisscom launches a voluntary tender offer on the Fastweb shares (17.918% of the capital) not yet held by Swisscom. At the end of the tender offer (November 2010) Swisscom held 94.83% of Fastweb's capital and launched the procedure for delisting of the shares from the Milan Stock Exchange.
Fastweb is a recognised partner of large corporations and the public authorities, with a market share of 20% and over the course of the year Consip confirms the company as a certified provider for the public authorities as regards landline and data connectivity. To complete the range of business services, at the end of the year Fastweb launches FASTcloud cloud computing, the first range of cloud computing services created and designed for large companies.
For families and the self-employed, Fastweb signs a strategic agreement with SKY, allowing them to bring together Sky's satellite television services with Fastweb's broadband Internet and landline telephone services.
Fastweb launches a major network expansion plan to take optical fibre with a connection speed of up to 100 megabits per second to twenty cities by 2014 with Fibre to the Street Cabinet (FttCab) technology to more than 5.5 million homes and businesses, achieving domestic coverage of more than 20%.Furthermore, for the first time, Fastweb solutions for unified communication, cloud computing and security designed for large companies are also offered to SMEs, with the same level of quality and reliability.
The FttCab network expansion plan announced in 2012 continues to extend ultrafast fibre-optic broadband Internet to more than 20% of the Italian population.
In the Corporate segment, Fastweb further strengthens its position as co-leader with an overall market share of 23%. Specifically, value-added ICT services (Cloud Computing, Security and Housing/Co-location, Managed services and Unified communication) add further dimensions to the portfolio of services Fastweb offers to the large corporations and public authorities.
With around 500K private ultra-broadband customers (connections up to 100 Mbps), at the end of 2014 Fastweb was the Italian leader in ultra-broadband connections, with a market share of 70%. Over the course of the year, Fastweb announces the new infrastructure expansion plan to reach 7.5 million households and businesses with ultra broadband by 2016 (in other words, 30% of the population of Italy). The quota of two million customers is achieved.
In 2015, Fastweb's investments in landline and mobile infrastructure continue. An agreement is signed with Telecom Italia to become a Full Mobile Virtual Network Operator (Full MVNO) in order to ensure greater quality, greater network coverage and access to 4G and 4G-plus mobile services for its customers.
Over the course of 2015 Fastweb launches a national coverage plan with the WOW FI service, the most widespread wi-fi solution in which every Fastweb modem becomes an access point available to the customer community. In Milan, the firm's cutting-edge data centre is inaugurated, certified as Tier IV by the New York Uptime Institute.
As the European leader, Fastweb doubles its Internet speed to 200 Megabit through FttCab (Fibre to the Cabinet) by means of Vplus technology and announces further expansion of the ultra-broadband plan for 2020, with an aim to reach 13 million households and businesses with ultra-broadband FttH and FttCab technology.
Three million new FttH connections will be created in 29 cities by Flash Fiber, the joint venture between Fastweb and TIM, set up in August 2016. At the end of the year the WOW FI national coverage plan was completed. The service is active in 800 Italian cities with 1.5 million authorised customers.