(Adds comment by minister, details of project)
ROME, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Italy plans to award a tender for the creation of a national strategic hub that will implement a country-wide cloud project by the end of 2022, Innovation Minister Vittorio Colao said on Tuesday.
The cloud hub initiative is part of European Union efforts to make the 27-member bloc less dependent on large overseas tech companies for cloud services, but is also meant to increase security for public administration data storage.
The tender for the hub will be published by the end of this year, while migration of public administration data is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, Colao told reporters as he unveiled Italy’s cloud strategy.
In its national Recovery Plan sent to Brussels in April to access EU funds, Rome earmarked 900 million euros ($1.07 billion) for the national cloud hub project.
U.S. tech giants such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, which dominate the data storage industry, could provide their technology to the national cloud hub, if licensed to companies taking part in the hub project, officials have said.
Such a structure would be aimed at soothing concerns over the risk of U.S. surveillance in the wake of the adoption of the U.S. CLOUD Act of 2018 - which can require U.S.-based tech firms to provide data to Washington even if it is stored abroad.
“We have a kind of preference for keeping state control, in a flexible way ... we need to ensure the State will be able to manage (the cloud hub),” said Colao, a former head of telecom company Vodafone. “Anyway, we don’t want to lose any external contribution.”
Last week the head of Italy’s biggest phone group, Telecom Italia, said it will submit an expression of interest for the cloud hub project, in a tie-up with State lender CDP, defence group Leonardo and Italian government IT agency Sogei. ($1 = 0.8443 euro) (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Elvira Pollina in Rome Writing by Agnieszka Flak Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Matthew Lewis)
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