Mapping Broadband Coverage in Italy
Updated: Jun 21
National coverage by broadband technology
At the end of June 2020, nearly all (99.6%) of Italian households were coverage by at least one fixed broadband network. At a rural level, fixed broadband was available to 98.2% of rural households. In terms of NGA broadband, high speed broadband services based on NGA technologies were available to 92.7% of Italian households, and to 76.2% of rural Italian households. Since mid-2019, NGA coverage improved both at a national level (by 3.8 percentage points) as well as a rural level, increasing by 7.8 percentage points. In both categories (fixed broadband and NGA), Italy recorded coverage levels above the EU average. Combined FTTP & DOCSIS 3.1 networks passed 33.7% of Italian households at a national level, and 8.4% of rural households. In the absence of cable networks in Italy, this coverage equals FTTP coverage.
Looking at individual technologies, DSL remained the most widespread broadband technology in Italy, with an almost-universal coverage level (99.6% of households passed). Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) was available to 72.3% of households.
In terms of NGA broadband technologies, the Italian market remained largely dominated by VDSL, which was available to 92.7% of households, up by 3.8 percentage points since mid-2019. Whilst VDSL2 Vectoring has not yet been deployed in Italy, the nature of the legacy copper network grid, with large number of cabinets positioned close to customer premises means that the VDSL network is capable of reaching speeds higher than 100Mbps. In order to not skew the results unfavourably the research team has decided to classify those households close enough to the cabinet to receive at least 100Mbps coverage as passed by VDSL2 Vectoring. At the end of June 2019, these services were available to 59.9% of Italian households, recording a 4.1 percentage point increase year-on-year.
Given the absence of cable networks (DOCSIS 3.0 or DOCSIS 3.1) in Italy, FTTP remained the only other NGA technology available to Italian households. FTTP coverage increased by 3.8 percentage points over the study period, reaching 33.7% of households. Despite this increase, FTTP coverage in Italy remained below the EU average of 42.5%.
In terms of mobile broadband coverage, LTE services were available to 99.3%. When considering average coverage of all mobile network operators, 98.0% of Italians had access to LTE services. By mid-2020, the incumbent, TIM, and Vodafone Italy both launched 5G services. TIM’s 5G network was available in parts of nine cities (Rome, Turin, Naples, Matera, Bari, Milan, Bologna, Verona, and Florence), while Vodafone rolled out its 5G network in Rome, Turin, Naples, Milan, and Bologna.
Taking a closer look at rural regions of Italy, DSL remained the key technology providing fixed access to rural areas. At the end of June 2020, DSL was available to 98.2% of rural households. FWA was accessible to 57.9% of rural households.
In terms of rural NGA coverage, VDSL was the only significant NGA technology increasing by 8.5 percentage points, to reach 76.9% of rural households at the end of June 2020. This considerable increase in coverage is a result of Italian operators focus on upgrading legacy copper lines in rural regions. VDSL2 Vectoring was available to 16.7% of rural households. Rural FTTP coverage increased by 6.2 percentage points over the study period. Yet, despite this increase rural FTTP coverage remained limited, with only 8.4% of rural Italian homes passed.
Rural LTE coverage reached 97.4% of rural homes. Since 5G networks rollout has been focused on cities and urban areas, 5G services were not available in rural areas at the end of June 2020.
Regional coverage by broadband technology
As was the case in previous iterations of this study, no Italian region recorded fixed broadband coverage below 90%. This year, coverage ranged between 92.7% in Isernia and universal coverage (100.0%) in twenty Italian regions.
As is the case in most countries of this study, NGA coverage disparities across regions were higher than fixed broadband coverage variations. At the end of June 2020, NGA coverage across Italian regions ranged from 55.3% in Nuoro and universal coverage (100.0%) in the Lombardy province of Monza and Brianza, and the Tuscany province of Prato.
Data tables for Italy
Note: The 2020 figures represent the state of broadband coverage at the end of June 2020. The 2019 (end of June) and 2018 (end of June) figures are drawn from the previous studies conducted by IHS Markit, Omdia, and Point Topic.
All restatements are highlighted in italics.