Italian operators Fastweb and Telecom Italia (TIM) have entered into a strategic partnership to deploy fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks to deliver broadband internet services at speeds of up to 1Gbps. The firms are creating a joint venture (JV) which will be owned 80% by TIM and 20% by Fastweb. The JV will be responsible for the fibre rollout in the secondary network (between street cabinets and customer premises), with the two firms acting as retail service providers on the new infrastructure. The pair plan to connect three million households and businesses in 29 major cities already covered by fibre-to-the cabinet (FTTC) equipment over the next four years, with a total investment of EUR1.2 billion (USD1.36 billion). The JV is being financed by debt and equity. As part of the deal, over the next 18 months TIM will buy from Fastweb FTTH infrastructure covering some 650,000 premises.
Fastweb already has two million homes covered by FTTH infrastructure and says the JV will increase this to five million by 2020, which is equivalent to 20% of the population. It expects to have FTTC equipment passing a further eight million premises by the same date, giving it overall fibre network coverage of around half the population. The Italian utility firm Enel is planning its own FTTH rollout under its Enel Open Fiber (EOF) unit and is looking to secure a tie-up with another Italian fibre provider, Metroweb.