Telecom Italia ‘gets fibre access to 1m homes’ via Infratel

TIM ‘gets fibre access to 1m homes’ via deal with state wholesale company Infratel

01 August 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Italian state-owned wholesale carrier Infratel has signed an agreement with TIM to give it access to a million homes in 600 towns.

Infratel Italia, which is owned by the Ministry of Economic Development (Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, MiSE), is designed to provide ultra-broadband networks in rural areas where no operator is interested in building commercial networks.

“The intervention, which covers more than a million residents in the 600 municipalities, resolves a long-standing situation,” said Marco Bellezza, legal advisor for communications and digital innovation to the government minister, Luigi Di Maio (pictured).

The deal comes despite the fact that earlier this month TIM – formerly Telecom Italia – lost an appeal to the European Court of Justice over Infratel’s decision to award Open Fiber a contract to build its rural broadband network.

The new deal gives TIM access to Infratel’s fibre to connect customers in the 600 communities in the regions of Abruzzo, Calabria, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Puglia, Sardinia and Tuscany. These towns are what the MiSE calls “areas of market failure”.

MiSE pointed out that the agreement does not exclude other operators from Infratel’s fibre, but said TIM and Infratel will work together on the activation schedule.

Infratel will work with TIM after the fibre is delivered to activate services to citizens, public administration and companies in those territories, said the ministry.

Infratel said the 15-year agreement “represents a virtuous synergy between public and private sectors to overcome the digital divide” in Italy. It “provides for a significant purchase” by TIM of Infratel’s dark fibre infrastructure.

TIM said it will use the fibre to provide both fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services in those areas.

Bellezza said: “MiSE expresses satisfaction with the signing of an agreement that allows the activation of ultra-broadband services by an operator, where the public fibre entirely financed by the state has been placed.”

The project is due to be completed in 2020 or 2021, said the ministry.