Italy’s government to approve €6 billion plan to build network

02 March 2015 |

Italy’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday to approve a €6 billion plan to build a nationwide fibre optic network, Reuters reports.

The government is pushing to accelerate the roll-out of ultrafast broadband networks, sparking speculation that Telecom Italia, the country’s largest mobile company, could be forced to overhaul its infrastructure.

Rumours have been rife that there has been little agreement between the government and telcos. The country’s prime minister Matteo Renzi has viewed investment in broadband as necessary to boost the country’s economy. However, issues such as regulation and the costs of investment have been stumbling blocks.

Tensions were heightened over the weekend when newspapers reported the government planned to force Telecom Italia to replace all its copper wires by 2030 with fibre optic cables, writing off assets worth billions of euros.

The government, however, has denied that it has imposed such a deadline. 

"The measures to be adopted will be limited to applying the ultra broadband plan to stimulate investment by all the operators: there will be no decree on Telecom Italia or to impose any arbitrary switch off of the copper network," junior minister Antonello Giacomelli said in a statement.

Last month, Telecom Italia said it would invest approximately €10 billion on faster broadband in Italy under a three-year investment programme.