Current developments of DAE (digital agenda for Europe) emphasize investments in NGA broadband networks as a main step to promote public and private eServices and transform public administrations. We focus on Northern Italy, where fast diffusion of NGAN is currently perceived as a fundamental ingredient for increasing competitiveness and curb the economy’s decline. In particular, this work investigates the widespread market failures characterizing Italian NGAN roll-out, the possible solutions and the technical and financial feasibility of the proposed plans - both private and public. Together, it connects the issue of NGAN financing with the current debate on the efficient and effective usage of EU structural funds in Italy. The most likely predicted scenario is that many semi-urban and rural areas of Northern Italy currently affected by the broadband digital divide will be lacking fast and ultrafast digital connections for a long period: unfortunately, a large part of these areas hosts crucial and export-intensive aggregations of SME and industrial districts. As a results, most of the targets of DAE will be unachievable for Italy. The need of a more courageous and timely public investment agenda emerges.
Keywords: Next generation access networks (NGAN), digital divide, digital agenda for Europe (DAE), EU structural funds, Northern Italy
Jel Code: H54, L44, L52, L96, O33, R53