European Court of Justice rejects TIM's Open Fiber appeal

12 July 2019 | Laurence Doe

Cover

An appeal by Telecom Italia (TIM) to the European Court of Justice against the decision to award Open Fiber with a tender to build a national broadband network has been dismissed.

The tender, launched by state-owned infrastructure firm Infratel, will be allowed to continue with Open Fiber, which, according to the EUCJ, maintained its “legal and material identity” as an economic operator during the pre-qualification phase.

TIM argued that the tender was awarded to Open Fiber after Enel's activities were merged with those of CDP-owned operator Metroweb and that this should have disqualified it for the tender.

The failure to block the agreement has followed a successful board meeting between the former Telecom Italia group, which seemed to bring a merger between TIM’s wholesale fibre network in Italy with that of Open Fiber closer. However, the plans of the Open Fiber wholesale-only venture of Italian utility Enel and state lender CDP to create a national high-speed broadband network will be allowed to progress.

Open Fiber has won all three national broadband auctions covering 20 Italian regions. 

EllaLink, the subsea cable project connecting Latin America to Europe, recently positioned Alessandra Talotta, former CEO of Sparkle, the wholesale division of TIM, in its board of directors.

Talotta, who left Sparkle in April 2018, told Capacity at that time that he was looking for a global role after leaving the TIM international subsidiary.