Italian telco TIM is reportedly putting on hold a plan to deploy fibre broadband networks in rural areas of the country after the government expressed concern that the rollout would jeopardise the viability of its own rural broadband networks. Reuters cites two unnamed sources as saying that TIM has suspended its project in order to ‘maintain good relations’ with authorities in Rome. The move is being seen as a damage limitation exercise by majority shareholder Vivendi following the row between the telco and the government. The disagreement has also cost TIM CEO Flavio Cattaneo his job, with Vivendi reportedly unhappy with his stance on the matter.
After TIM initially said that it would not be deploying fibre networks in economically unviable rural areas, the government decided to use public funds to subsidise rural rollouts, issuing regional tenders for the network construction. TIM then performed a U-turn, however, and revealed that it did now intend to begin deployments in the same regions, prompting the country’s market watchdog to begin a probe into possible anti-competitive conduct.