FiberCop goes into business with TIM, Fastweb and KKR as shareholders
Swisscom’s Fastweb and investment company KKR have both taken their stakes in FiberCop, the next stage in the long-running project to build a national Italian fibre company.
FiberCop, which will be a carrier-neutral, open-access wholesale operator, is fully operational from today, said TIM, the main shareholder in the company.
KKR Infrastructure’s acquisition of 37.5% of FiberCop from TIM has now been finalised, for an equivalent value of €1.8 billion.
Fastweb has subscribed FiberCop shares corresponding to 4.5% of the company’s capital by transferring the 20% held in FlashFiber, the former joint venture between TIM and Fastweb. FlashFiber is now incorporated into FiberCop.
There is a long-term plan to merge FiberCop with Open Fiber, a rival network, to create a single national Italian infrastructure company. Open Fiber was set up in 2015 by electricity company Enel with investment from state bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). Last December Enel agreed to sell its stake in Open Fiber billion to Australian investor Macquarie for €2.65 billion.
Until the eventual grand merger happens, FiberCop’s board of directors will be made up of nine members, five of them selected by TIM, three by KKR Infrastructure and one by Fastweb. Massimo Sarmi chairs FiberCop and Carlo Filangieri (pictured) is CEO. Filangieri is the former head of wholesale market at TIM. Sarmi, a former CEO of Telecom Italia, went on to run Siemens in Italy and then headed Poste Italiane, the Italian post office.
The new company will speed up closure of the digital divide, said TIM today, with the aim of reaching 76% of property units in the grey and black areas of the country via fibre-to-the-home (FTTH).
Grey areas are parts of the country with one company offers next-generation access; in black areas there are two or more. Unserved areas are called white in Italian terminology.
FiberCop said it already offers over 90% of the population ultra-broadband connections thanks to fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and FTTH technology. It plans to offer speeds up to 1Gbps to those 76% of grey and black area property units. That equals 56% of all homes in the country.
The new company said it will immediately offer passive access services of the secondary copper and fibre network to all market operators. FiberCop relies on the fibre infrastructure already installed by FlashFiber, without any duplication of investments and with maximum efficiency, at the same time promoting competition.