Italy awards 25 million Euro communications contract

The Italian Ministry of Defence has awarded Alcatel and FastWeb a 25 million Euro contract to develop its new integrated joint-forces telecommunications network.

The two companies, in a temporary tender group, will provide a broadband network, from network design and installation to infrastructure management and maintenance. The contract was awarded on the basis of a European Union Design Contest.

The initial phase will entail the deployment of an optical ring of approximately 1,500 Km linking the military district headquarters along the two trunk lines of Florence-Ferrara-Padua-Milan and Rome-Grosseto-Leghorn-La Spezia. The project will be completed by the end of 2004.

According to Alcatel, the Italian armed forces’ proprietary and secure network will be implemented using the most advanced technological platforms enabling the delivery of multiple services including voice, data and video applications.

The network, which is referred to as RIFON, the Italian acronym for National Joint Forces Optical Fibre Network, will be based entirely on optical technology supplied by Alcatel and broadband telecommunications services supplied by FastWeb.

‘The deciding factor in this project was Alcatel’s ability to provide across the board, end-to-end communications solutions that ensure maximum security and flexibility together with easy network management’, said Frederic Rose, President of Alcatel’s integration and services activities.

Rose added: ‘The best technological platforms and service capabilities have enabled us to develop a system that will put the Italian Armed Forces at the forefront in Europe.’