Telecom Italia has announced that it has commenced the implementation of its fibre network in Catania, the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy. The telco aims to connect around 34,000 properties to fibre in the Borgo and Ognina districts of Catania by the end of 2011, with the figure rising to 46,000 by the end of 2012, and 63,000 by 2013. Telecom Italia has stressed that the mooted 100Mbps broadband service will not be offered commercially until the network has been trialled, and regulator Autorita per le Garanzie Comunicazioni (Agcom) has verified the product.
As part of a large-scale EUR9 billion (USD12.5 billion) overhaul of its existing infrastructure, the Italian operator plans to make fibre-optic broadband available in six Italian cities by the end of this year and 13 cities by 2012, eventually reaching 50% of the population (138 cities) by 2018. The rollout in Catania will be followed by deployments in Milan and Rome, with Bari, Turin and Venice earmarked for connectivity before the end of 2010. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, broadband household penetration in Italy languishes at 53.5%, giving it one of the smallest penetration figures in Western Europe.