Free broadband access

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09/03/2011 - 12:05

We have just completed the eleventh year of renting out our house for the summer. As I think I said before in previous posts, in all this time we have only had two vacant weeks. We have always used the same Italian agent (established for forty years) and apart from very basic enquires have never seen any real interest from the UK. Its pretty much all been Italian families throughout this time. That said, the big difference this year (and to a lesser extent last year) has been that free broadband Internet access is now being seen as the norm. Whether for business or social, the one question now being asked is "have you a fast Internet connection?"


To have an Internet connection is becoming very important. I think that, within a few years, it will become a normal feature in any house, just as having a washer or a microwave oven. When we rented an apartment in Rome in May, it had Internet and I think that it is becoming increasingly popular. It is a feature that I always take into account when renting a property.

If you provide free internet to Guests or Visitors at your home the law holds the registered person of that IP address accountable to ensure that no illegal hacking or visits to illegal sites take place. That is why you have to provide ID at internet cafes. You need to be absolutely sure that you can either block access to certain sites or that the user can be trusted. The last thing you need is the Carabinieri at your door hauling you off for accessing Child Pornography Sites or worse, hacking into Government sites.

I think that the problems mentioned by Flip can be avoided if your property is duly registered as a rental one. We had to fill up special forms and show our passports when we rented the unit in Rome, so the Police can trace culprits very easily if they do anything wrong. Your letting agent should be able to inform you accordingly.

  That’s very strange.  We used internet cafes regularly before we had our own internet access. We have never ever been asked for ID.  To be honest, I would be very reluctant to let anyone make a copy of my passport! The only time we are ever asked for our passport details is when we check into Italian or Spanish hotels.  When we were in Venice last November the hotel receptionist asked us for our passports but we politely refused and said that the information on our credit card should be sufficient.  She spoke to the Duty Manager and he said fine.  Same when we were in Madrid. We must have honest faces…wink

You had to provide ID/passport at internet cafe's for the law on terrorism.  That law is now being rescinded and it will not be necessary any more.  The idea was that if someone went on internet writing 'hot words' like bomb, parliament, kill everyone etc - the services could pick them up and find out who they were.   Letting your home you are obliged to photocopy passports and present them to the police anyway.   Whether you have to block your internet access is unlikely - you are providing a service, if that service is abused it is not your fault. What is important is that you can prove it wasnt you trying to find out how to make a fertiliser bomb on Friday afternoon at 4! 

Further to Ram's post, I think that identity controls are going to become tougher not only in Italy but throughout the world. Everyone should become aware of the need to have all your documents with you when you travel. By the way, the forms that we had to fill up with our document details were provided by the Rome Chamber of Commerce.

  @ ram- if you type any of those words from anywhere in the world into a search engine, it will alert the authorities and the IP address will be logged automatically. There are several hundred key words that internet providers & search engines have in their memory banks which will trigger a reaction. I’ve never heard of holiday lets and B&B’s in Italy asking for copies of passports. We’ve been holidaying in Italy for over 15 years and we have never been asked, only by hotels in major cities. I’m convinced that our friends who rent out their properties and other friends who run B&B’s have never done that either. There is a European Data Protection Act or has Italy opted out cheeky @ Gala – It goes without saying that I have ID with me when I’m travelling (airports etc) but certainly not when I am sightseeing!  Or has Italy also opted out of ‘democracy’ and adopted a ‘stop & search’ policycheeky  Surely you should only be asked to identify yourself if you are suspected of committing a crime otherwise it would be seen as a breach of a very fundamental human right surprise I would have thought that forms from the Rome Chamber of Commerce are used for research purposes e.g. where tourists are coming from, what type of accommodation they are staying in etc. Again what about the Data Protection Act? Or where they anonymous? When did Italy become so paranoidsad

ID carry is not compulsory in Italy, but is likely to be made so when the new Electronic card is fully used. This will carry all info for Health cover, Residency Status and Online ID capability, so I believe. In this paranoid World we live in I'm firmly in favour of any measure that is likely to give better security to Law abiding citizens.

"It goes without saying that I have ID with me when I’m travelling (airports etc) but certainly not when I am sightseeing!  ..... " Lets hope you never become unconscious when sightseeing.   I'm sure most people have some 'informal' ID on them most of the time- Bank Cards, Travel passes, office passes, Driving License etc - so why should they be concerned about having to carry formal ID such as a passport?.  I'd be the first to admit that I don't carry formal ID when in the UK - but have absolutely no concerns about doing so when abroad. I was 'stopped and searched' once in the UK [walking through a town at 6 in the morning with a holdall, and apparently there had been some burglaries that night] - wasn't bothered at all - nothing to hide.  Rather 50 innocuous 'stop and searches' than one 'missed miscreant'

AFAIK it is obligatory (whether Italian or a visitor) to carry acceptable ID with you at all times while in Italy.   I have always interpreted 'acceptable' as an (Italian or other EU ex UK) ID card, any passport, an Italian driving license (maybe also a UK photo driving licence would suffice.) A credit card or a health card (which do not have a photo) would not pass my test in any way. For internet access - I agree that people are starting to enquire about it for holiday rentals - and I suppose it depends on how many weeks you have 'booked in'. I'd be very reluctant to supply a landline ADSL (min €20 per month, and as far as I know there are no 'part time' deals) - so I'd look at a 'dongle hire' solution. If the guests need it, it's - what - an extra €5 a week? Some plan without a Gb limit of course. (Maybe get the guests to sign something so that they are responsible for any access to porn sites while they are renting! Same as the car hire people do, if, indeed, this is an issue.)

A friend in Umbria has just been fined for not providing passport details of a paying guest staying in her holiday home. I reckon this is just one of the many ruses being dreamt up to replace monies lost through austerity measures.  The old passport rules date back the time of the Fascists when government definitely wanted to keep tabs on everyone.  Maybe now they're being revived as a money-making measure. Plus in Umbria holiday home owners are required to obtain a Certificato di agibilita if renting out.  At about E2,000 that's another little earner

Casa Monal, the said forms - that the owner asked me to complete by myself while she was showing my husband how to control the air conditioning, etc - were from the Rome Chamber of Commerce and asked for full details about the occupants of the apartment during the rental period, including full names, passport or ID numbers, overseas address, phone numbers, email, etc. My Italian is good enough to fully understand that the forms were not a mere survey but a full record of occupancy of the premises. I have no problems regarding passports and ID cards, on the contrary, I wish that everyone could prove their identity anytime, anywhere. Nothing to do with a police state, just proving who you are and that should not present any problems to law abiding citizens. I know that this concept worries certain nationalities who are not used to ID cards (using a driver's licence to identify themselves.... which is another kind of ID control, although less effective). Have we become paranoid about security? Well, although security has been strengthened, many of these procedures were already in place a long time ago, the only difference is that they were not followed. And as long as terrorism is a worldwide threat, these measures will continue. In my opinion, it is always a good idea to carry some form of ID at all times. Even a photocopy could be of assistance.