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

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