Prato is an urban community in Tuscany totalling 250,000 inhabitants including its Province. The population of the province area is mainly concentrated in the Prato City area that counts around 180.000 inhabitants. The statute of the City of Prato confirms its representative function for its community, promoting civic duties and solidarity among its citizens and co-operation and agreements with the other local authorities. This happens in order to allow better levels of effectiveness and efficiency in offering a full range of services, and to improve the development process of the community of Prato. Prato is, in Tuscany as well as in Italy, a leading municipality in decentralisation of procedures.
Prato has been and continues to be very active in Information Technology since many years. Since 1989, it has been providing certification and information services to text-based kiosks. Since 1996, the City of Prato started to provide information to the public through the Internet, involving other municipalities and other parts of the public sector. This activity, called Civic Network, yielded the promotion of the PO-NET project, signed by the public sector in Prato province, aiming at: a) improving the employment of telematics among local entities to provide information to the public, b) integrating ITC resource through the implementation of a jointly managed Civic Network, c) Management of the Civic Network, d) Promoting the use of electronic data and document exchange, and e) Stimulating participation and democracy through telematic tools.
Paolo Boscolo has a Master degree in Electronics Engineering in 1986. He worked for ALCATEL Italia in Florence, where he took part in some research projects funded by the European Community (among them: Race/TELE.MED, Race/EPIN) and was nominated head of the IT department for the Florence premises of ALCATEL Italia. In 1992 he joined the Comune di Prato as head of the Telecommunications group, which deals with. During that time he took part in some EU-funded projects with Prato. Currently he is involved in the Regio-Net project (TAP, UR 1023) and SPES project(eTen, C28034). It is also in charge of the implementation of the Italian Identity Card project in the City of Prato and participated successfully in the first call of the Italian e-government initiative for which it coordinates the A-MINOSSE infrastructural project that involves all the municipality administrations of the Prato Province.