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TIM likely to control 45% of Italy’s cloud hub

TIM and a handful of partners have presented a proposal for the establishment of Italy’s proposed cloud hub to the government.

Should they prove successful – and final confirmation of that could be a few months away – the Italian telecoms incumbent will hold a 45% stake in a new company, a public-private partnership, set up to build cloud platforms and infrastructure, and provide related services, as part of the country’s bid for cloud autonomy.

Italian Technological Innovation and Digital Transition Minister Vittorio Colao formally presented the Italian Cloud Strategy earlier this month. It is an initiative that governs the digitisation of the public administration in Italy and the implementation of cloud services, and forms part of the country’s EU-funded post-pandemic National Recovery and Resilience Plan. A key part of the strategy is the creation of the aforementioned cloud hub, or National Strategic Hub, to give it its full title, which as the name suggests is a national infrastructure for the provision of cloud services to be managed and controlled by providers from inside the EU.

The publication of the call for tenders to implement the hub forms phase one of the cloud strategy and is due before the end of the year.

We already knew that TIM was interested in tendering for the project. The telco’s chief executive Luigi Gubitosi said as much to the national press. But now it has formally shared its proposal for the creation of the hub.

On a practical note, the timeline is a little confusing, given that TIM has presented its proposal ahead of the call for tenders. But in its announcement the telco explained that if the Public Administration deems its proposal to be of interest – and it has three months to examine it – and if it views it in a positive light, it will then launch the tender. At that stage, all interested parties may participate.

All of which suggests that TIM and its partners will be instrumental in shaping the details of the cloud hub. And that it would be unwise to bet against them getting the job.

Speaking of partners, as expected, TIM has created its proposal along with state-owned lender (and TIM shareholder) Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), defence group Leonardo, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s technology arm Sogei. Leonardo will hold a 25% stake in the new company set up to manage to project, CDP will take 20%, and Sogei 10%.

In the companies’ own words, “the project consists of providing cloud solutions and services to support the PA [public administration] with a view to ensuring the highest possible level of data efficiency, security and reliability.”

TIM’s role will be to provide infrastructure services and cloud platforms, Leonardo will take on security services, and Sogei will provide what the companies describe as business culture enablement and training services to boost the growth and expertise of the public authority. CDP, which is participating through its CDP Equity subsidiary, serves as financial partner and institutional investor.

“Together, the industrial partners will provide end-to-end migration services and support PAs with professional evolution services to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness when operating in cloud environments (re-platform and re-architect),” the companies said.

The hub will have four Tier IV data centres in two regions, offering high levels of security and energy efficiency, in addition to offering advanced services with a particular focus on cloud solutions, they said.

And that’s really all we know about the proposal at this stage. We might learn some more once the government has read it.

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