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RealTime IT News

Italy to Launch Incentives for Internet Development

In an unprecedented move, Italy's political leader, Massino D'Alema, announced that the government has prepared a proposal to offer financial incentives to small and large businesses that invest in the Internet.

The proposed package, which will be discussed in Congress next week, would provide roughly US$550 million in incentives over a three year ($110 million in 2000 and $220 million in 2001 and 2002).

The incentive program will launch at the beginning of the new millenium.

"The government intends to initiate a series of economic maneuvers starting in 2000 to promote the expansion and utilization of computers, and the vast potential of the Internet," D'Alema explained.

While nearly $200 million of the financial aid will go towards business-to-business Internet commerce, there are also provisions for $44 million for small, independent development as well as $38 million for the enhancement of computer and Internet use in public schools.

The announcement of the financial package for computer expansion and Internet development came during the introduction of the Italian governments new web site Palazzo Chigi. During his discussion, D'Alema also pointed out those businesses contributing to the education of computer use and electronic communications in public schools will receive substantial tax breaks over the next three years.

Not everyone, however, feels that the government's proposal goes far enough. Guido Rey, president of the Authority of Electronic Information, for example, told the Italian daily newspaper, La Repubblica, that an additional $550 million is needed for 2000.

"Otherwise," explained Rey, "We will be in a situation of disservice towards citizens."