Regulation and Technology: Reducing the Digital Divide as a Legal Tool to Protect National Interests and Support Economic Growth

In the last years, several European and non-European governments implemented policies aimed at reducing the digital divide between their inner geographic areas. Digital divide is indeed a relevant source of social and economic inequalities between individuals and companies. Even if different in their own features, all these public programs aspire to facilitate economic growth, level the aforesaid gap between wealthy and underdeveloped zones and encourage private investments. Moreover, eliminating the digital divide could represent a peculiar and indirect instrument to protect National interests through a strong support to domestic businesses operating in foreign markets. This paper analyzes the competition’s ability to guarantee a uniform technologic development and tries to understand if these plans may be considered as a form of economic protectionism. For this purpose, it debates Italian “Piano BUL”, a State program aimed at building and maintaining a public broadband network.