MsE advised on broadband plans

20 May 2009

Reuters reports that a non-binding report by governmental consultant Francesco Caio advising the Ministero Sviluppo dello Economico (MsE) on its plans to boost the Italian broadband market has been leaked, fuelling speculation that Telecom Italia (TI) may be forced to spin-off its network infrastructure into a separate business. The report does not directly suggest a network spin-off but does put forward a plan to build an integrated fibre-optic and copper national network capable of providing broadband to 50% of Italian households, which would involve building on TI’s existing infrastructure. The company has repeatedly denied it will spin off its network and Chief Executive Franco Bernabe has said any government intervention to force it to do so would be illegitimate. The report claims that public investment needs to be increased if the country is to fulfil its ambitions of becoming an international broadband leader. The proposed plan of expanding the network’s capacity would reportedly involve an investment of EUR10 billion (USD13.6 billion) over five years.