RealTime IT News

Cybernet Teams with US and NATO Military

One of the largest Internet service providers in southern Italy, the Naples-based Cybernet s.r.l. has joined forces with the US and NATO military, expanding both its infrastructure and customer base.

"We currently have nearly 1,000 individual military customers," explained Alessandro Citarella, one of the company founders. "But the numbers grow daily."

Naples hosts two primary military installations, the Allied Forces Southern Europe Command and the US Naval Support Activity. The combined personnel of these bases, including family members and Department of Defense civilian employees, are nearly 8,000 US and British citizens--many with a need for e-mail and Internet service.

"Because our nodes in Pozzuoli and Naples are close to both bases, we saw the military as an excellent target market," said Citarella. "And, in fact, with very limited advertising, we soon had a regular flow of non-Italian clients."

Cybernet's efforts to increase its share of the English-language market, however, did not stop there. Everything on its Web site was translated from Italian to allow military clients to keep updated. They next established a node in Lago Patria, 20 miles west of Naples, where many Americans live. This month, when the US Navy opened the doors to its new facility in Gricignano, 15 miles north of Naples, Cybernet followed with a nearby service node.

"We now offer 70 lines and cover every zone where local US and NATO military live and work," Citarella said.

Service members receive a discounted subscription to Cybernet's Internet access, as well as a free web page. The ISP currently hosts almost 100 Web pages for military members, as well as a site for the US military-affiliated Naples Computer Users Group.

"As an ISP, Cybernet provides many opportunities to NCUG," said Phil Orlowsky, vice president. "For example, varied-contract lengths (required because service members often leave at short notice), nodes in areas mainly inhabited by multi-national armed forces, and World Wide Web access on a local phone call, which does not damage the savings of users.

"Originally, they offered a 33k6 analog back bone with 28k8 connection speed. Once they found out the needs of Americans, they increased their backbone speed to 768k via fiber optic cable. This gave them the flexibility to upgrade speed as needed. They also added lines and try to maintain a 15:1 (user:phone) ratio."