History and Innovation

Throughout its history it has been a ground-breaking company, making many important strides on the road to innovation, and it continues to take further strides today

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.

20 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.


By December 31st 2017, approximately 45% of Fastweb wireline customers - a unique figure in Europe - switched to an ultra-broadband service with download speed up to 1 Gb/s, indicating a growth in the demand for high-performance connectivity and Fastweb commitment in promoting the digital transformation of Italian families and companies. Exceptional growth of the mobile segment with customers increasing by 58%, thanks to the launch of the "Niente Come Prima" strategy and its portfolio of mobile offers, able to strengthen the long-term relationship with customers based on trust, clarity and fairness. During the year, Fastweb launched 5G trials in several cities (Bari, Matera, Roma), with the goal of leveraging existing infrastructures to rapidly deploy a national 5G network and position itself as the leading convergent operator in the country.


Fastweb confirms its key role in delivering innovation and digitalisation in Italy with the aim of offering the most performing indoor and outdoor connectivity to its customers. The acquisition from Tiscali of 40 Mhz spectrum in 3.5 Ghz band license and Tiscali Fixed Wireless branch, which includes 836 towers, as well as the acquisition of one of the allotment in 26 Ghz band through the public auction for 5G frequencies allows Fastweb to enter the planning and deployment phase of a 5G network. The aim is to implement the new infrastructure by 2020. 2018 was an excellent year for the mobile segment. At December 31st Fastweb has 1.432.000 mobile customers, up 34% on the previous year. Fastweb also confirms its focus on fixed-mobile convergence - increasing to 30% the percentage of customers adopting both fixed and mobile services (+7pp in 12 months) - as well as on customer experience, thanks to the launch of the new chapters of the "Niente Come Prima" strategy. Filippo Tortu, the Italian sprinter who broke the record belonging to the sports legend Pietro Mennea, is the new face of Fastweb until 2020.


Fastweb becomes the fifth Italian mobile operator following the acquisition of the 5G frequencies and the release of the general authorization by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. The company completes the transition from mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to an infrastructure-based mobile player. Even in 2019, the company confirms its leadership in terms of investments - 600 million Euro, 27% of revenues - addressed mainly to the development of its UBB coverage through one of the widest combined deployments of fixed and mobile new generations networks (FTTX - 5G mobile - 5G FWA) in Europe. To achieve this goal Fastweb announces two important partnerships. In December, Fastweb signs an agreement with Linkem, that will allow the rapid deployment of 5G Fixed Wireless Access network to cover 8 million of families by the end of 2023. As per the 5G mobile network, in June the company signs an agreement with WindTre leveraging on the co-investment for the deployment of a national 5G network. During the year Fastweb inaugurates NEXXT, the new headquarter in Milan, which is part of the plan started by the company years ago to make the workspaces for its employees even more modern and comfortable, thanks to innovative solutions and the use of technology. Lastly, "le Farfalle", the Italian rhythmic gymnastics national team join Filippo Tortu as testimonial of Fastweb.


With the launch of the new Ultra FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) network up to 1 Gb/s in the first 50 small and medium-sized cities, the doubling of speeds from 1 to 2.5 Gb/s for 4 million households on the FTTH network and the opening of the 5G mobile network to all customers at no additional cost, Fastweb is launching NeXXt Generation 2025, the plan with which the company is committed to making gigabit connectivity available to all households and businesses over the next five years. Fastweb's positioning as an infrastructured OTT continues in 2020, both in terms of technological leadership through the acquisition of Cutaway, a company specialising in ICT projects, and 70% of 7Layers, a company leader in IT security services, and in terms of infrastructure through the extension of the agreement with Linkem to cover a further 4 million homes in white areas with Ultra FWA networks. With the introduction of a new vision (Together we simply connect the future) and new values (Care, Courage, Sustainability) Fastweb's commitment to social and environmental sustainability has grown significantly. During the year, Fastweb has obtained approval of its environmental sustainability targets from the "Science Based Targets initiative" (SBTi), the international project created from the collaboration between CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF. 2020 is also the year of the establishment of the partnership between Fastweb and CONI in support of the Italian Team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. During the year, swimmer Simona Quadarella became a testimonial for the company alongside Filippo Tortu and the Farfalle, the girls of the Italian national rhythmic gymnastics team.


Fastweb continued to strengthen its strategy in the area of environmental sustainability and technological innovation in Italy. The company established itself as a European business leader in terms of reducing its impact on the climate, coming second in the Financial Times’ “Europe Climate Leaders” rankings, and was one of Italy’s first businesses to achieve the “EE” (Strong) rating from Standard Ethics. Fastweb also launched a widespread forestation campaign in the suburbs of the main cities in which it has offices. Alongside its commitment to the environment and sustainability, the company continued to consolidate its position as one of Italy’s leading providers of integrated technology solutions, from ultra-broadband connectivity to advanced ICT services. In June Fastweb opened a new data centre in Rome to go with the next-generation data centre in Milan, and in November it signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Amazon Web Services in the cloud environment with the aim of further accelerating the digital transformation of businesses and PA. In 2021 Fastweb confirmed its reputation as an innovator, unveiling NeXXt, the first internet box on the Italian market to integrate voice commands and innovative artificial intelligence functionalities, and as a player at infrastructure level with the acquisition of a 4.5% stake in fibre optic network developers FiberCop, whose shareholders also include TIM and KKR. With the elimination of physical clocking-in, Fastweb took another step towards the creation of a company culture increasingly based on the importance of people, trust and responsibility. Jannik Sinner, the youngest ever Italian winner of an ATP Challenger tennis tournament, became part of the Fastweb team of endorsers.


In line with the “You are the Future” concept, the new strategic vision geared to making the future increasingly connected, inclusive and sustainable for all, Fastweb announced its transformation into a Benefit Corporation. With “You are the Future”, Fastweb set itself a further series of ambitious environmental sustainability and social responsibility goals for the development of infrastructure in Italy. In order to achieve Climate Neutrality by 2025, Fastweb launched fixed and mobile connections with zero CO2 emissions and, with the aim of safeguarding the environment, announced its support for Marine Biomass Regeneration, the international research project of the University of Cambridge Centre for Climate Repair, and joined the SEATY project for the protection of the biodiversity of the Mediterranean coast. Thanks meanwhile to its continuous investments in infrastructure to promote the digitisation of the country, the company aims to reach 90% of the population with its 5G mobile network and 12 million homes with its Ultra FWA network by 2025. As part of its goal of helping everyone build their future with confidence, Fastweb remained committed to spreading digital competence through the Fastweb Digital Academy and the STEP FuturAbility District, the space for connecting with the future opened in Piazza Adriano Olivetti in Milan in May, to give everyone the possibility of acquiring a greater understanding of the digital transformation taking place. Over the year Fastweb also strengthened its strategy in the wholesale market, signing an agreement for the supply of FTTH fibre optic connectivity to Iliad. Having become one of the 20 most inclusive companies in Italy according to the Diversity Brand Index, Fastweb obtained the long-awaited “EE+” sustainability rating from Standard Ethics and also remained one of the “Europe Climate Leaders” in 2022 according to the Financial Times.