User-Centric Services Repository

BOOSTER - Broadband Observatory Overview Shared with TERritorial authorities - Emilia Romagna

City / Region

Emilia Romagna (Italy)

In a nutshell

Emila-Romagna's Digital Agenda regional structure promoted a co-designing process with local public administrators to create the first regional Observatory on ultra-broadband in Italy (

The Observatory allows institutions, citizens and entreprises to consult data on the actual state of connectivity in every civic number of the Region. The data represented come from official sources, both governmental and main private telecommunications (TLC) operators.

The Observatory's main idea is to use available data and information as a key to understanding the connectivity gap in regional areas.

The Observatory uses data and cartography to show what is really happening in the region with respect to the issue of connectivity.

The Observatory uses data and cartography to show what is really happening in the region with respect to the issue of connectivity.

The actions to be carried out with the Observatory are the identification of good practices to be disseminated, gaps to be filled and priority areas to be worked on with customised interventions. Consequently, it is an auxiliary tool to support the decisions of policy makers.

Local administrators were involved in the co-design phase thanks to the Thematic Communities system set up by the Emilia-Romagna Region, for greater involvement in the design of the service. In order to intercept the right administrators, it was necessary to make use of the Thematic Community system. Thematic Communities are sites for digital transformation, promoted by the Emilia-Romagna’s Digital Agenda. They operate in a structured way in the institutional dimension through a particular declination of the communities of practice models, with co-learning and co-construction activities at the basis of the process.

We are currently planning workshops with citizens to disseminate knowledge on the topic of connectivity, with dedicated activities on the use of the tool

What makes the service user-centric?
With respect to the principles of the Tallinn Declaration, Regional Observatory for Ultra Broadband is consistent with the principle of digital integration. It is possible to interact with the regional public administration by filling a easy form to report lack or missing information. Furthermore, the tool meets the accessibility requirements for visually impaired and visually impaired users, as indicated by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
The Observatory is an accessible, secure tool, available and usable by all in a non-discriminatory way, with a dedicated user manual. It is an inclusive digital public service, co-designed with local political administrators who have played a key role in structuring the service to meet the needs of communities.
The user can autonomously search for any address number and explore the data and information on connectivity. In case found to be wrong, can send a report in order to optimise the service.
The service is also optimised by collecting reports of malfunctions or missing information. The only data the user has to enter are related to the reporting process and all data are protected by the EU privacy policy.
What impact has the service had?
In the last decade, there have been many national and regional interventions to make the offer of fast connectivity ubiquitous and constant in Italy. These actions have been realised thanks to significant public and private investments but, despite this, the digital divide in our territory is still too wide. In fact, our digital divide continues to accentuate social, investment and market territorial problems, especially in remote and peripheral areas, the so-called 'white areas'. This produces negative effects and externalities such as depopulation of mountainous and peripheral areas and a general decline in the desired sustainable and efficient growth, especially for productive areas. The current disparities in internet connectivity in our territory are worsening for population groups and industrial and commercial areas, in fact, the connection of housing units with ultra-broadband is not adequately available according to regional standards. Ultra- broadband is now an essential requirement for citizens to stay connected and for businesses to be competitive on the market.
Within the framework of the Thematic Communities system available for the Emilia-Romagna Region, there was a perceived need on the part of Local Administrators to provide information related to ultra- broadband in order to understand present and future opportunities in our territory. This has proved to be an important process innovation in the regional public administration.
Almost all the Administrators-testers (94.2%) expressed the importance of having and being able to use a simple and informative tool such as the Observatory. Above all, Local Administrators considered it crucial to have a complete tool, able to manage the numerous punctual warnings that the Local Administrators themselves receive from their citizens, for examle to find out the progress of the works relating to the laying of the optical fibre and the consequent connection in the property units.
The Observatory was released on 22nd July and has already counted more than 2,000 access and more than 100 reports.
We have started two procedures of Implementing Agreements as a formal precondition for using the Observatory. The two Unions of Municipalities in our Region are starting to draw up their own Local Digital Agendas and will use the Observatory to better coordinate the actions and activities of the Municipalities, the Region, and the TLC operators. In these cases, the Observatory represents a fundamental analysis and monitoring asset for the definition of Digital Agendas.
Emilia-Romagna's Digital Agenda is undertaking to make available and update the data within the Observatory.
The working team was encouraged by the regional and national importance and relevance of the project. The publication of this tool was one of the most important objectives of the 'Data Valley Common Good' strategy, as a strong political commitment.
Another relevant aspect was the synergy and collaboration with different actors throughout the process, starting with private TLC operators with different business interests than the Region.
With our project, we want to make decision-makers understand the importance of the tool and its usefulness, which is not always easily understood.
The opportunity to have had the time and willingness to implement a co-design process is undoubtedly an added value.
In conclusion, it is a decision-support tool for decision-makers and an information tool for citizens and enterprises.
How was the service co-created?
The co-design phase of the Observatory ended in May 2022 after 4 meetings of 3 hours each. The co-design phase involved around 20 key stakeholders among Mayors, Deputy Mayors and operational technicians from 12 municipalities and 2 Unions of Municipalities of the Region.
The technical-operational component was (45%) compared to the political component (55%).
The participants represented a large part of the regional area, 8 of 9 provinces of the Emilia-Romagna Region, for a total of 476,485 citizens represented in the co-design process.
The testers came from heterogeneous territories, both in terms of morphology and population size: both municipalities with less than 5,000 inhabitants and municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants were represented, as well as intermediate territories.
The participatory process was structured with the objective of optimising the usability and quality of the Observatory thanks to the feedbacks from testers. Targeted moments were organised to allow a discussion aimed at producing and returning a useful and well-made tool. The suggestions were collected through the holding of 4 plenary meetings and the successful completion of a questionnaire structured in different sections: Data Quality, Data Representation, Tool Usability, Main Functionality, User Experience.
Subsequently, an improvement plan for the tool was produced, classifying the interventions by priority (high, medium, low).
After sharing the results with the Administrator-testers, the changes were implemented incrementally until the result, which is now visible, was achieved.
Delegated Local Authorities are the first users to orientate infrastructure policies and interventions in their areas. Citizens can use the tool to consult data on ultra-broadband coverage in their homes.
Emilia-Romagna Region is already using the tool to monitor the progress of works and to orient regional policies and reflect national ones. Private sector and companies use the tool because it allows them to influence market and investment choices from area covered vs. area not covered by fibre optics.
Additional Documents


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