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Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

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Open Fiber: what it is and how it works: If until some time ago the diffusion and use of the Internet in Italian homes was still the preserve of many, but not all, today things have radically changed. In fact, almost all the villages in the Bel Paese have the opportunity to subscribe to a subscription with this or that other provider in order to surf the net to consult their favorite websites, listen to music, watch videos and so on.

However, it should be borne in mind that, although on paper it is feasible, in reality it is not so. To be able to perform all these operations, and above all to be able to do it simultaneously – with other users, in the same home – and without any kind of problem, you need a good Internet connection, stable and fast enough as only the optical fiber can to be.

Unfortunately, despite the great efforts made to “wire Italy”, the fiber optic network is not yet available for the entire population. Luckily though, thanks to the commitment of Enel and Cdp and the relatively recent launch of Open Fiber things are changing (for the better) and are destined to improve even more over the next few months.

In fact, Open Fiber is the company through which the Enel Group together with Cdp began operating in the Italian fiber optic market. As the name implies, it does not provide offers to consumers directly. It is in fact a wholesale operator, that is to say, it operates in the wholesale market by offering its infrastructure to authorized providers. Operators – the usual, don’t worry, be happy! – are therefore able to make their offers available to a greater number of potential customers and, far from trivial, at an enviable speed, being all based on FTTH (Fiber To The Home) technology, the fastest in circulation.

At this point you will certainly be asking yourself: but what is so much innovative and above all what are the advantages of Open Fiber? The answer is quickly given: the company can take advantage of the infrastructures where the electricity cables currently pass, thus managing to increase the fiber network without particularly expensive and structurally invasive operations. Then? Did I intrigue you at least a little? Yup? Very well! So I would say not to waste any more precious time and to immediately try to understand, in detail, what Open Fiber is and how it works . I wish you, as usual, a good read.

What is Open Fiber

Let’s start by looking into the discussion about what OpenFiber is. As I anticipated at the beginning, this is a project launched by the Enel Group and Cdp that does not directly supply fiber optic plans but offers (or rather, rents) its infrastructure to Italian providers allowing it to reach an even larger number of customers without particular waste of time and without huge investments.

Thanks to the Open Fiber infrastructure, Italian operators therefore have the opportunity to benefit from ultra-fast Internet connections and to offer customers new and more advantageous fiber rates.

All this happens because – as I anticipated – since Open Fiber is a “creature” of the Enel group as well as of the Cdp group, it can exploit the infrastructures where the cables for electricity currently pass . This, as can easily be deduced, limits the continuation of the now well-known inconveniences dictated by the need to carry out excavation and laying of the optical fiber which increasingly create disruptions and chaos, being carried out, for obvious reasons, in urban areas (I bet that also you happened to get stuck in traffic at least once because of the workers intent on drilling the concrete to complete their task …).

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

More precisely, in the first place Enel and Cdp sign an agreement with the Municipality concerned for the construction, management and maintenance of a latest generation ultra broadband fiber optic network infrastructure. The agreement signed with the municipality also defines the methods and working times, compliance with technical standards and those relating to safety for contractors so as to reduce the inconvenience to the citizen during the work.

The agreement also defines the excavation method for laying the optical fiber. Excavations can be carried out with one of the following techniques: that of the reduced mini-trench (also include the suction of the waste material), that of the traditional mini -trench (involves the creation of trenches 5 cm wide and has a very low environmental impact), that of the no-dig (without resorting to open-air excavations) or that of the laying of the aerial network .

After carrying out all the works and after a first temporary filling of the excavation to allow the ground to settle, the entire road surface is restored according to the timing dictated by the Municipality of reference.

Afterwards, after obtaining all the permits and administrative authorizations, it is finally possible to proceed with the activities that will bring the optical fiber to the house. It is then up to the providers to apply for the infrastructure created. Further details are available in the Fiber home section of the Open Fiber website.

With regard to excavations and infrastructures, it is undoubtedly appropriate to report the recent agreement with Acea for the creation of an ultra-broadband electronic communications network in the territory of the Municipality of Rome . More precisely, Acea is expected to grant the use of the proprietary infrastructure to Open Fiber by providing the map data and support for identifying the infrastructures for the construction of the network. Acea may also contribute to the physical construction of the network.

How Open Fiber works

Specifically, then, the Open Fiber network uses Fiber To The Home technology , otherwise known with the abbreviation of FTTH . At the moment it is the fastest in circulation because it is made up of fiber cables during the entire route, including the section that goes from the control unit to the customer’s home. An infrastructure of this type, as also explained in detail in the dedicated section of the Open Fiber website, allows to reach, both as regards download and upload, a maximum speed of 1 Gigabit per second .

In the case of ADSL, however, the cables used to connect the customer’s home to the control unit are entirely in copper, while in the case of FTTC technology, the two connections are one in copper and the other in optical fiber.

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

Precisely for the above reasons, ADSL is able to offer maximum speeds of 20 Mbit / s in download and 1 Mbit / s in upload, the fiber based on FTTC technology allows instead to reach a maximum download speed equal to 200 Mbit / s and a maximum upload speed of 30 Mbit / s.

Optical fiber services and advantages

It is therefore not difficult to deduce that the advantages deriving from using a network entirely in FTTH are not few, in terms of speed.

Thanks to a network based on FTTH technology, it becomes possible, for example, to watch a streaming and HD movie on Netflix, listen to music on Spotify, upload photos to Dropbox as well as chat on your favorite messaging services and surf the net in search of interesting news, all simultaneously, running smoothly for any of the connected users.

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

But it does not end there, the fiber optic connections also allow the implementation of systems related to demotics allowing to obtain a better quality of life. To get an even more precise idea about it, you can take a look at the page dedicated to the services of the official Open Fiber website.

Clearly, private customers aside, the advantages of the Open Fiber network can also be used by professionals, companies and PAs. Smart working, distance learning, efficient energy management and whoever has the most, therefore become all “things” usable with greater ease.

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

All this is possible because, as mentioned at the beginning, the fiber optic connections are more stable and productive as they are less subject to interruptions and technical problems than copper wiring and are able to guarantee high performance. Fiber optic networks are also the future of telecommunications networks (Next Generation Network – NGN) and in the years to come they will be able to reach even higher speeds than current ones. For further details you can consult the Web page on the subject attached to the Open Fiber website.

Check the Open Fiber coverage

Once you understand what Open Fiber is and how it works, you will surely be wondering how to check coverage in order to possibly evaluate the signing of a contract for the use of optical fiber.

Assuming that for the moment the Open Fiber network is available only in Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Catania, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Padua, Palermo, Perugia, Turin, Venice and that it is under construction in Florence, in order to check the degree of coverage in your area, all you have to do is connect to a specific web page, enter your address and wait for the response.

More precisely, you must connect to the home page of the Open Fiber website, after which you must scroll down slightly the page displayed and select your city from the list on the left. Then make sure that in the first and second drop-down menu displayed on the screen your region and your city are selected (and if not, make the necessary changes) then type your address separated by a comma from the house number in the appropriate field blank and click Go .

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

Subsequently, if your home is reached by the Open Fiber network, you will see the message Your address is reached by our Optical Fiber on the left. If, on the other hand, your home is not yet covered by the Open Fiber network, a warning will appear indicating that at the moment there is no coverage but that Open Fiber is working to make sure that the service is made available to the most popular in the area of reference.

If you want, you can also fill out the form below by entering your name , surname and e-mail address , tick the box to consent to the processing of personal data and the one that proves that you are not a robot and press Send to be notified as soon as your home is reached by the Open Fiber network.

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

In addition to what I have just indicated, you can check the degree of coverage by using the map attached to the right side of the Web page. The areas covered in blue are those for which coverage is available, all the others, however, are those for which the Open Fiber service is not yet available.

To view a given area in more detail, you can click on the point you are interested in or you can use the + button (plus symbol) located at the top right of the map.

Subscribe to a subscription with Open Fiber

Have you checked the coverage by following the instructions I have provided you with in the previous lines and is your home covered by the Open Fiber network? Fantastic! So I would say that you can begin to seriously consider the idea of ​​subscribing to a subscription to use the fiber optic network in your home.

Considering that, as mentioned in the previous lines, Open Fiber does not offer a direct service to customers but makes its infrastructure accessible to other providers, in order to take advantage of the fiber optic network you must, necessarily, refer to the “classic” operators for the fixed line.

More precisely, the TLC operators that have decided to use Open Fiber’s 100% optical fiber network are: Connesi , Go Internet , Tecnoadsl , Tiscali , Vodafone and Wind Tre . For more information you can consult the dedicated Web page on the Open Fiber website.

Understanding which, among all those listed, operates in your area and can therefore allow you to use the Open Fiber network, is quite simple: just look on the left side of the page dedicated to coverage after entering your address and after viewing the service availability message. Then click on the operator logo you are interested in and you will immediately be redirected to its offers page for optical fiber.

Once this is done, signing the contract is quite simple, just select the offer that best suits you and that best meets your needs (not only in terms of connectivity but also in economic terms), type again the data relating to your home , provide your general information and follow the wizard proposed on the screen until the operation is completed.

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

Subsequently, forms will be sent to your home which you must fill in, sign and send by fax or registered letter based on the indications received from the manager and to which you must also attach a copy of your identity document.

The activation times vary according to whether the work in progress is a migration from one operator to another or if it is the activation of a new line. However, if everything goes the right way it should take a maximum of ten days.

Article written in collaboration with Open Fiber