Italian telcos Vodafone and Wind have extended the non-binding letter of intent they signed with fibre network operator Metroweb for two months from its current expiry date of 31 December. The parties are discussing plans to jointly invest in the rollout of ultra-high speed broadband infrastructure, with Metroweb being seen as a key part of the government’s plan to pump EUR12 billion (USD13.6 billion) of public and private funds into the development of fibre networks across the country to meet EU digital agenda targets. Metroweb is 87.7% owned by Metroweb Holding, which is in turn owned by infrastructure investment fund F2i (53.8%) and state-backed holding company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) through its investment fund Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI, 46.2%). Incumbent operator Telecom Italia is also interested in creating a tie-up with Metroweb.
Separately, Wind’s CEO Maximo Ibarra has told local newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that any deal with Metroweb would not jeopardise a separate partnership with Italian utility firm Enel, which is looking to use its nationwide grid to ease the deployment of fibre networks. He says that Metroweb and Enel’s fibre plans are complementary rather than competitive.