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Piano nazionale per le scuole. Il ruolo di GARR

Ultrabroadband plan for schools: the role of GARR

In a meeting held on 5 may 2020 and chaired by the Minister for Technology Innovation, Ms. Paola Pisano, the national UltraBroadband Committee (CoBUL), has allocated 400 millions of euros to interconnect over 32.000 Italian schools with ultra-broadband links.

CoBUL is an interministerial committee including the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Regional Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion, the Ministry of Public Administration, and the Chair of the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces, whose objective is to expedite the implementation of the National Ultra-broadband Strategic plan.

This national plan for the ultra-broadband interconnection of Italian schools involves 32.213 school buildings (81,4% of the total) with an expected links capacity up to 1 Gbps with a guaranteed bandwidth of 100 Mbps.

The design and implementation of the project is entrusted to Infratel Italia, an in-house company of the Ministry of the Economic Development, part of the Invitalia group, and to region-owned companies specialised in e-Infrastructures. GARR was invited to take part to the works of the task force created to identify appropriate technical solutions for the plan implementation, in recognition of its competences and long-term experience in the design and operation of complex network infrastructures. Currently, GARR network interconnects not only universities and research organisations, but also about 150 schools, plus a number of others, which are indirectly connected through public regional and local network operators.

In order to help defining a technically viable model for connecting schools, GARR presented a long-term and sustainable strategic plan, describing the role that its network infrastructure could play as a high capacity backbone. By simply strenghtening its existing Points of Presence (PoP) over the national territory to interconnect the regional concentration points of the schools' last mile links the GARR National Research and Education Network would would allow to transport all school traffic at the national level.

Thus, GARR backbone could also provide schools with access to the worldwide system of the Research and Education networks. GARR network interconnects, through the European network GÉANT, to research, education and cultural organisations worldwide. Morover, similarly to what happpens to sall other connected organisations, GARR can provide schools with several enabling features: net neutrality, symmetry, low latency and very high network capacity. The proposal presented by GARR is available online for public consultation. As GARR is a non-for-profit organisation, the quotations provided for the project are only intended to cover the costs needed to strenghten the PoP equipment and the relevant technical and operational structure.

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