Enel, Italy’s largest utility firm, plans to invest around EUR2.5 billion (USD2.8 billion) in the deployment of a nationwide fibre-optic broadband network, Bloomberg reports. Enel aims to cover 224 cities via a phased rollout, before selling wholesale capacity on the network to local telecoms carriers. The utility will use its existing infrastructure, including transmission towers and electricity cabinets, to host fibre-optic cables, people familiar with the matter told the news agency. The company owns and operates about 450,000 electricity cabinets, roughly three times the number of Telecom Italia’s phone cabinets, the sources noted.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last week Enel confirmed that it had staged preliminary discussions with Wind Telecomunicazioni (Wind Italy) and Vodafone Italy, but remains open to working with any retail carrier. Under its plan, Enel is expected to create a new unit – Enel Open Fibre (EOF) – which will be owned by Enel and one or two financial investors. EOF is expected to deploy the wholesale fibre network in stages, with around 7.5 million homes expected to be covered within the first few years.