Mario Marinelli <email@example.com> tells us that, in what may be a first, the Italian city of Bologna now provides free Internet access to all its citizens.
CINECA, a semi-public organization owned in part by the City of Bologna, has leased a 128K high speed link to the Internet and provides Internet access in several ways, including basic Unix shell accounts, a BBS (probably SoftArc's FirstClass) that will provide news and email, and also, for a fee of $20 per month, SLIP or PPP accounts for more advanced users who want their own Internet nodes. The project, called NetTuno ("Nettuno" is the Italian name for the Roman god of the sea and the symbol of Bologna), has been joined by the cities of Rome and Turin as well. If other Italian cities follow suit, it could lead to a significant upswell in Internet use from Italy.
The initiative apparently started as a result of the responses to a series of newspaper articles about global networking and its impact for growth in business opportunities, but perhaps more interesting, in response to articles discussing the development and implementation of a new model of participatory democracy. You can get more information about the project via email from <firstname.lastname@example.org> or via the Web (assuming you read Italian) at:
[Incidentally, I found the above information on Bologna via The Virtual Tourist, an especially interesting Web service located at the URL below. -Adam]