Open Fiber: what it is and how it works

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
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Preliminary information

Before getting to the heart of this guide, it seems only right to give you some preliminary information. As mentioned at the beginning, although the Internet is now usable practically everywhere and despite the many efforts made to "wire the city", the optical fiber network, that is the fixed network capable of guaranteeing the best performance in terms of speed and stability, is not yet available to the entire population. But thanks to the commitment of Enel e Cdp (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, a company controlled by the Ministry of Economy and Finance) and the launch of Open Fiber things are changing - for the better - and are set to improve further over time.



Open Fiber is precisely the company through which the Enel Group, together with Cdp, began operating in the in your languagen optical fiber market. It does not provide offers to consumers directly. It is, in fact, an operator Wholesale, that is to say that it operates in the wholesale market by offering its infrastructure to authorized providers. Operators can therefore rent stretches of the Open Fiber network to offer ultra-broadband services to end consumers.

Thanks to the Open Fiber network, which is based entirely on technology FTTH (so with fiber optic cables that arrive directly in homes), for example, it becomes possible to watch a movie in streaming in 4K on platforms such as Netflix, listen to high-quality music on services such as Spotify and upload huge amounts of data to services such as Dropbox. simultaneously, quickly and smoothly for any of the connected users.

But it doesn't stop there. Fiber optic connections also allow for the implementation of systems related to home automation, allowing for a better quality of life. Clearly, private customers aside, the advantages of the Open Fiber network are also available to professionals, companies and PAs. Smart working, remote training, efficient energy management and so on and so forth become all "things" that can be used more easily.



This is possible because fiber optic connections are more stable and productive, as they are less subject to interruptions and technical problems than copper cabling, 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.

What is Open Fiber

Let us now try to deepen the discussion relating to what is OpenFiber. As I told you, this is a project launched by the Enel Group and Cdp which does not directly provide fiber optic plans but offers (or rather, rents) its infrastructure to in your languagen providers, allowing them to reach an even larger number of customers without loss of special time and without huge investments.

Thanks to the Open Fiber infrastructure, in your languagen operators therefore have the opportunity to benefit from ultra-fast Internet connections and to offer customers new and more advantageous fiber rates. This is because, being Open Fiber a “creature” of the Enel group as well as of the CDP group, it can use the infrastructures where the electricity cables currently pass.

This, as can be easily deduced, limits the persistence of the now known inconveniences dictated by the need to carry out excavation and laying procedures of the optical fiber which more and more often create disservices and chaos being carried out, for obvious reasons, in urban areas (I bet that even it happened to you to get stuck in traffic at least once because of the workers intent on drilling the concrete to complete their task ...), not to mention that the operation is decidedly less expensive on a structural level.


More precisely, in the first place Enel and Cdp sign one convention 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 times of work, compliance with technical standards and those relating to safety for contractors in order to reduce the inconvenience for the citizen during the works.


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 reduced mini-trench (also include the aspiration 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 no-dig (without resorting to open pit excavations) or that of the laying of the aerial network.

After having carried 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 your interest.

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 to take advantage of the infrastructure created. Further details are available in the FAQ section of the Open Fiber website.

In the summer of 2020, an agreement was announced for the construction of a single network by merging with TIM and the consequent birth of a single network company: AccessCo. This will have the purpose of optimizing investments to bring fiber throughout the national territory (thus avoiding TIM and Open Fiber working separately to bring two different networks to the same areas), but the methods and times in which this will happen, nor have the technical details of the matter been clarified (at least until the moment I am writing this post).


TIM will also have to give birth to FiberCop, a company in which its secondary network will converge (the one that covers the distance from the cabinet in the street to the customer's house, which is in copper and not in optical fiber like that of Open Fiber). For more details, however, you can consult the press release on the TIM website.


How Open Fiber works

Ma how Open Fiber works? Well, technology is actually exploited Fiber To The Home, otherwise known by the abbreviation of FTTH. Currently it is the fastest available on the square, as it is made up of fiber cables throughout the route, including the stretch that goes from the control unit to the customer's home. An infrastructure of this type makes it possible to reach, both as regards download and upload, a maximum speed equal to 10 or 1 Gigabit per second, depending on the coverage.

In the case of ADSL, on the other hand, 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.

Precisely for the reasons, ADSL is able to offer maximum speeds equal to 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 of 200 Mbit / s if a maximum upload speed of 30 Mbit / s.

How to check coverage

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

To do this, go to the web page to check the coverage of Open Fiber, type the name of your city in the text field City, your address in the text field Address and its house number in the text field N, selecting the relevant suggestions from time to time, then click the button Search which is located at the bottom.

On the Web page that will subsequently be shown to you, if your address is covered by the optical fiber of Open Fiber, you will see the message Your address is covered by the ultra-broadband network and you will be offered a list with the commercial offers of the various partners that you can decide to subscribe to.

If fiber optic coverage is not yet available for your area, you will see the message Your address is not yet reached by the fiber. If you want, you can also decide to be notified directly by Open Fiber in the event of changes, by filling in the required data (name, surname, email address, etc.) in the form fields you find in the section stay in contact present little più in basso.

You can also make sure that coverage is available by searching by city. To do this, select the link Search by city located at the bottom of the main page to check coverage, then decide whether to display only the cities already covered, Those in coverage or both, selecting the option you prefer. You can also carry out a targeted search by typing the name of your city in the field City and then clicking on the button Search adjacent.

How to take out an Internet subscription

Have you checked the coverage following the instructions I gave you in the previous step and your home is reached by the Open Fiber network? Fantastic! I would say then that you can begin to seriously consider the idea of take out an Internet subscription to use the optical fiber in your home.

Considering that, as already mentioned, Open Fiber does not offer a direct service to customers but makes its infrastructure available to other providers, to access the fiber optic network you must necessarily refer to the "classic" operators for the fixed line, whose list complete is available on this web page.

To choose which provider to subscribe with, after verifying coverage, scroll through the list of offers at the bottom of the page, each of which is marked with the operator logo of reference. When you find the offer you are interested in, click on the relevant button Select and proceed via the manager's website to consult in detail the characteristics of the selected plan and to activate it if necessary.

The timing for activation varies based on whether the current migration is a migration from one operator to another or whether it is the activation of a new line. In any case, if everything goes right, it should take a maximum of ten days. For more details on this, you can refer to my guide on how to change telephone operator.

Article written in collaboration with Open Fiber

Open Fiber: what it is and how it works


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