UPDATE As previously reported by Inside Towers, the new government in Italy is moving forward with plans to address broadband on a national scale. The latest development, reported by Telecom.com, proposes establishing a consortium of all of Italy’s telecom operators in an attempt to speed up rollout and delivery of service.
Under the leadership of Mario Draghi, industry insiders project that the government will spend close to 7 billion euros [$8.40 billion USD] garnered from the European Union’s Recovery Fund. Speculation is that the funds will be invested in ultra-fast networks. Analysts see this as part of a six-year-long project.
Earlier discussions have suggested that a merger between TIM (Telecom Italia) and rival provider Open Fiber would be at the heart of Italian broadband development. However, a consortium approach would cut through many regulatory issues and open up other possibilities for broadband deployment. Different options under consideration could leave TIM as a freestanding entity, with Open Fiber teaming up with FiberCop instead. Though FiberCop operates under the TIM umbrella, it is a separate entity whose focus is connecting street lines to residential homes.
Concerns about “grey areas” (regions currently serviced by only one provider), jockeying amongst the various providers, political pressures within Italy, and dealing with antitrust laws outside of their borders means that there is much left to resolve before national broadband delivery will come to fruition.