Fastweb, one of Italy's major telecom operators, announced today a new plan of infrastructure deployment with the aim of doubling by 2024 the footprint of its existing ultra-broadband network, with an overall investment of 3 billion over the next 5 years, entirely financed through Fastweb revenues. Fastweb will start deploying, as of this year, a 5G Fixed Wireless Access thanks to which the families and businesses reached by connectivity up to 1 Gb/s on its proprietary network will go from the existing 8 million - of which 4 with FTTH (Fiber to the Home) e 4 with FTTC (Fiber to the Cabinet) - to a total 16 million.
"Once again Fastweb stands out for its capability to differentiate itself from the competition thanks to early adoption of breakthrough technologies. We are the first in Italy and among the first in Europe to understand the huge potential of 5G to deploy a fixed ultra-broadband network and we'll leverage such a technology to further strengthen our strategic positioning of infrastructure-based operator." Alberto Calcagno, Fastweb CEO, said. "A strategy thanks to which – as certified by reports by Mediobanca and Natixis earlier this year - Fastweb is the only telecom operator in Italy growing between 2012 and 2017 (+18,4%) and the operator in Europe with the best EBITDA performance in the past 5 years"
Unlike FTTH network, 5G FWA will use 5G frequencies - and specifically the 26 GHz spectrum recently acquired by Fastweb in the 5G national auction - to connect the last 200-250 meters and bring to households - equipped with small receiving antennas on the balconies or the rooftops - ultra broadband, fiber-like connectivity, as proved during the trials launched with Samsung in the past months. During the trial download speeds over 1 GBs have been reached proving how 5G, in its Fixed Wireless Access declination, represents a powerful alternative to FTTH infrastructure, with the added bonus of reduced costs and time of deployment compared to traditional Fiber networks.
5G FWA network roll-out will start from the pilot city of Bolzano, where the deployment will begin in the next months. Thanks to the expansion plan the percentage of families and business covered by Fastweb proprietary network will go from the existing 30 to 60 percent.
Furthermore, thanks to wholesale access to third party networks, specifically TIM and - following the deal announced today - Open Fiber, Fastweb will be able to offer high performing connectivity also in areas where it doesn't have its own network, therefore reaching an overall ultra-broadband footprint above 90%.