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Telecom Italia CEO does not consider single network plan shelved

Telecom Italia does not believe the idea of combining its fixed network assets with those of state-backed rival Open Fiber has been shelved, Chief Executive Luigi Gubitosi said on Saturday.

“I don’t believe anything has been shelved,” Gubitosi told reporters on the sidelines of an annual business conference in Cernobbio, on Lake Como.

The previous government of Giuseppe Conte tried to broker a plan to create a national network by merging Open Fiber with the whole of TIM’s fixed access network assets to speed up fibre rollout across the country and close its digital gap with the rest of Europe.

It remains unclear whether the current coalition government of Mario Draghi will support it after some ministers publicly cast doubt over the project.

Italy’s Innovation Minister Vittorio Colao said on Saturday his target was to make sure the whole of Italy had access to high-speed fibre network by the end of 2026, adding any plan had to be market driven.

“I’ll leave the passionate debate on the single network to others,” Colao told reporters in Cernobbio.

Gubitosi warned of the risk of duplicating the costs of cabling Italy if different telecom operators rolled out competing networks.

“When I see two holes in the ground, one parallel to the other, it’s something that pains me because of the waste of resources,” he said, adding he would discuss options over the idea of a unified network with Italian state lender CDP which is a core investor of Open Fiber.

CDP is also TIM’s second largest shareholder, behind France’s Vivendi. Reuters

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