The Italian government is urging Telecom Italia (TIM) and the owners of wholesale network operator Open Fiber to reach an agreement on the combination of their respective fixed broadband infrastructure. The two telcos have been discussing a tie-up since last year with a view to creating a single national fibre network, something the government sees as a strategic national asset, but negotiations appear to have stalled. Italy’s Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri is cited by Reuters as saying: ‘The government encourages constructive discussions among parties to set conditions to integrate existing assets’.
TIM is looking for investment partners to provide funding to help it acquire a 50% stake in Open Fiber from utility group Enel, though reports suggest that Enel’s CEO Francesco Starace is keen to hang onto the unit. The remainder of Open Fiber is owned by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), which also has a stake in TIM. US investment firm KKR has been named as a potential funding partner for TIM.