The Italian wholesale network operator Open Fiber has inaugurated its rollout of fibre broadband infrastructure in so-called ‘white areas’, with a ceremony in the earthquake-hit town of Campli in the region of Abruzzo. Open Fiber has so far won two of the government’s three tenders offering subsidies to deploy networks in rural areas, with Abruzzo and five other regions covered under the first phase of contracts. A further ten regions were included in the second phase tender, while a third tender for the remaining regions is still at the consultation stage. In total, the contracts won so far by Open Fiber cover more than nine million households in 6,753 towns and villages.
Separately, the CEO of Telecom Italia (TIM) has played down speculation that TIM could merge with Open Fiber. Il Sole 24 Ore cites Amos Genish as saying that Italy ‘is big enough to have two competing networks’, and that while TIM would consider the opportunity to partner with Open Fiber on rollout projects, a full merger was not on the cards.