Italian government will assess whether a single network project is still feasible: Minister | WKZO | All Kalamazoo
ROME (Reuters) – Italy will review the single broadband network project planned by the previous government to make sure it is feasible, Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said, adding that any decision in favor of this plan would be conditional on the asset falling under state control.
Giorgetti’s comments, during a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday, raised doubts about a long-delayed plan pursued by Italy under former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
His government had attempted to create a nationwide all-fiber network by merging Open Fiber, a small broadband operator owned by state lender CDP and utility Enel, with the fixed network assets of Telecom Italia (TIM).
CDP also owns a stake in TIM.
The new Prime Minister Mario Draghi has placed digital infrastructures at the heart of his government’s agenda but has not yet specified whether he intends to implement the unified network project and under what conditions.
“The single network makes sense if it is under state control. We will not recreate a private monopoly on the network, ”said Giorgetti.
Under the plan supported by the previous government, the single broadband network operator could be majority owned by TIM if the value of the assets integrated in the new player justifies it, but should grant equal access to all market players. .
TIM has repeatedly stated that it will not agree to less than 50% of any network business being created from a combination with Open Fiber.
Giorgetti added that the deadlock on the project was not helpful and that urgent clarification was needed on whether it was feasible.
“This impasse must be overcome and the State as a shareholder of the companies involved has the responsibility to make a rapid proposal on the issue,” he added.
“If the single network provides a level playing field for all, that is a good thing … resources,” added Giorgetti.
(Report by Giuseppe Fonte, written by Agnieszka Flak, edited by Steve Orlofsky)