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Telecom Italia board gears up proposal for national cloud hub -sources

09/23/2021 | 04:02pm

MILAN, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia's board on Thursday geared up a proposal to set up a national cloud hub that would safely store public administration data, two sources close to the matter said.

The plan - which will also involve state lender CDP, defence group Leonardo and Italian government IT agency Sogei - is due to be presented to Italy's Innovation minister in the coming weeks.

The board of Leonardo is expected to discuss the proposal on Sept. 30, a third source added.

The cloud hub, one of the projects funded by the European Union to help Italy's economy recover from the pandemic, reflects European efforts to make the 27-member bloc less dependent on large overseas tech companies for cloud services.

In its national Recovery Plan sent to Brussels in April to access EU funds, Rome earmarked 900 million euros ($1.06 billion) for it.

Earlier this month, Telecom Italia (TIM) Chief Executive Luigi Gubitosi said the group would submit a proposal by the end of September.

The four partners will likely create a new company to work on the project which is championed by CDP, he added.

The project represents an interesting option for TIM to finance investments in the data-centre business and generate recurring revenue that can support more ambitious targets for its cloud business, broker Equita said in a report.

U.S. tech giants such as Alphabet Inc's Google, Microsoft Corp and Inc, which dominate the data storage industry, could provide their technology to the national cloud hub, if licensed to the hub project, officials have said.

Such a structure would be aimed at soothing concerns over the risk of U.S. surveillance in the wake of the adoption of the U.S. CLOUD Act of 2018 - which can require U.S.-based tech firms to provide data to Washington even if it is stored abroad.

Italy plans to award a tender for the creation of the national hub, which would will implement a country-wide cloud strategy for public administration data, by the end of 2022. ($1 = 0.8514 euro) (Reporting by Elvira Pollina in Milan Editing by Matthew Lewis)

© Reuters 2021
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