Italian state-owned utility firm Enel has said it is close to finalising a fibre-optic broadband venture with local telcos Wind Telecomunicazioni and Vodafone Italy. According to a report from Reuters, Enel CEO Francesco Starace told a government industry committee yesterday (Wednesday): ‘On March 22 I will propose to the board an agreement with Vodafone and Wind regarding 250 cities.’ He added: ‘The objective is to create, manage and maintain fibre infrastructure … both in (profitable) areas and the disadvantaged ones.’
Enel is proposing to use its electricity grid to help speed up the deployment of high speed connections to Italian homes and businesses. It says using existing conduits for the fibre rollout would save between 30%-40% on the cost of deploying a new network from scratch. Under its plan, Enel will create a new unit – Enel Open Fibre – which will be owned by Enel and one or two financial investors. Telcos will lease capacity on its fibre infrastructure, with other operators such as Telecom Italia, Fastweb and Metroweb also free to utilise the network. Enel’s proposed rollout comes as part of the Italian 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.