TIM to launch new company for high speed fibre rollout

TIM is set to launch a new company aimed at rolling out high speed fibre broadband to under-served areas of Italy.

The board of Telecom Italia approved the plan, which was presented by CEO Flavio Cattaneo alongside its annual financial results for 2016.

TIM will now seek a financial partner as majority shareholder over the coming months, as it looks to establish an ultrabroadband fixed network in the “white” areas – rural areas of Italy.

TIM said the partnership will help it meet its target of covering the country with ultrabroadband almost two years of schedule, reaching 95% coverage in mid-2018, and 99% coverage in 2019.

The new company will be able to offer speeds of up to 300Mbps across 6,000 municipalities. It will also offer all operators wholesale connection services, including a guarantee of equal treatment.

This means it will be competing directly with utilities provider Enel’s wholesale fibre venture, OpEn Fiber, which was established in December 2015. 

In January, Italy delayed the awarding of its €1.6 billion rural broadband tender, according to Capacity sources, eventually granting the contract in March.

TIM has already ruled itself out of a second tender announced by state-owned Infratel to build a national high-speed network.

The announcement was made alongside TIM’s annual financial results, which saw consolidated EBIT grow by 25.6% year-on-year to €3.7 billion. Revenues fell by 3.5% to €19 billion, compared with 2015.

International wholesale arm Telecom Italia Sparkle saw revenues increase by 2.8% to €1.3 billion, driven by an increase in revenues from voice services, which were up 3.7%.