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
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
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.”