In the last decades of the XX Century the expansion in telecommunications urged the development of an innovative satellite network infrastructure. Satellite telecommunication-a network technology-presents public-good characteristic and high-cost and technological-risks. The case of the design of the Italian satellite telecommunication system consists in a peculiar case of public-private partnership (PPP). This paper compares the Sirio and Italsat satellites systems to highlight the differences in the partnership agreements between the public buyer and the firms involved. In both cases the government provided clear signals of market demand to spur innovative activity, however, contractual obligation proved decisive. In the latter case, the public financial support took the form of a purchase agreement of a service with specific requirements at a specific time in the future, creating incentives for innovation and on-time and on-budget implementation. A public agency then was created to coordinate the research efforts of different firms reducing cost and opportunistic threats.
Landoni, M., The Public-Private partnership in the Italian satellite telecommunication system design: SIRIO and Italsat (1969-1996), Contributed paper, in XI Milan European Economy Workshop “The History of European Infrastructure Finance”, (Milano, 12-July 13-June 2012), Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano 2012: 1-13 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/57444]