The LoRa Alliance is thrilled by the recent decision of the Italian government to turbocharge the advancement of IoT in Italy by opening commercial LoRaWAN® deployments and enabling large variety of new IoT applications. With this new ruling on September 15, 2020, Italy enabled business where LoRaWAN is concerned. After years of strong effort by the LoRa Alliance alongside member companies A2A Smart City, Everynet, and Unidata, Italy recently removed constraints on the full deployment of LoRaWAN networks.
The three LoRa Alliance member companies driving this effort in Italy expressed great satisfaction for the passage into law of the “Decreto Semplificazioni,” which contains the amendment presented in the Italian Senate by Senator Mantovani. The amendment removes the temporal restrictions to LoRaWAN and allows the transition to a permanent authorization model, finally unblocking investments in the IoT.
A bit of history is informative
Although part of the European Union (EU) greenlighted use of the EU868 frequency for LoRaWAN back in 2018, Italy put limitations in place while it examined potential issues around interference with defense and other existing networks using the same spectrum. While LoRaWAN networks were permitted, they were subject to regulations imposed by the Ministry of Defense, which wanted to understand whether there were any potential interference issues before allowing unlimited use. All licenses were restricted to 6-months, making risky major investments in infrastructure and slowing down deployment of LoRaWAN in the country. The experiments and studies carried out since 2016 have demonstrated the coexistence of low power wide area network (LPWAN) technologies with other systems (including military/defense, public/private uses) in the 863-870 MHz frequency band.
Accelerating the IoT in Italy
As A2A Smart City, Unidata, and Everynet explain, this change in regulation definitively provides administrative simplification in the IoT sector and opens the market for the massive adoption of IoT LPWAN applications. The new law will accelerate the investments in innovation and the implementations of new IoT solutions. Before multinational companies had looked at the Italian IoT market with trepidation. Now, they can focus on business IoT services for manufacturing, tourism, healthcare, agriculture, and, above all, the energy, gas, and water supply service sector. These markets are expected to be the first markets for LoRaWAN, with billions of Euro ready to be invested. Proven global success stories, such as asset tracking and gas and water metering implemented in Brazil, electricity metering in Indonesia, and smart waste management in Iceland, can be replicated cost-effectively across the whole country.
"The legal green light is finally also in Italy,” underscored Patrizio Pisani, Head of R&D at Unidata. “It introduces a fundamental administrative simplification in the IoT sector for LPWAN technology solutions that require the frequency ranges 863-870 and 915-921 MHz. The simplification removes the six-month time limit and its related regulatory uncertainty. It enables investments in LoRaWAN technology in strategic sectors such as smart metering by water utilities, a potential driving force for economic recovery and development of the country, as well as smart cities and smart agriculture.”
"The build-out and management of a LoRaWAN network on a national level enable a consistent number of services and solutions to be provided by national and international companies, which will help to overcome the digital divide that still relegates Italy below the European average,” explained Antonio Terlizzi, Senior Vice President of Everynet BV. "With the ‘Decreto Legge Semplificazioni’ law, the Italian government is enabling a system for international innovation that we already support in seven countries worldwide with our national networks. That ranges from smart meters for water, electricity, and gas, to smart city and smart building solutions, tracking of goods and people, and even to the latest social distancing and sanitization solutions related to the recent Covid-19 pandemic."
“Having achieved the end of such an important path after four intense years of work with these Institutions gives us renewed strength to meet market requirements here. We have the opportunity to address the business challenges that LoRaWAN solutions can unlock for our customers all over the country,” said Marco Turchini, CEO A2A Smart City. “It is an amazing time to invest in IoT and provide LoRaWAN solutions to help advance the Italian market.”
With LoRaWAN now supported by the appropriate regulatory framework, Italy provides a secure environment for LoRaWAN investments and offers a new great market for LoRaWAN. Users can deploy LoRaWAN knowing their investments are safe, which has greatly strengthened its prospects here.
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