The head of Italian telco Fastweb has said a plan for Telecom Italia (TIM) to maintain control of its last-mile networks business is ‘sound’. TIM is looking to sell a 37.5% stake in the copper and fibre-optic business – dubbed FiberCop – to investment firm KKR for EUR1.8 billion (USD2.1 billion). Reuters cites Fastweb CEO Alberto Calcagno as saying that KKR’s interest in TIM’s last-mile network proved that ‘this is a sound project that takes us on a one-way path towards the definitive upgrade of the copper network’.
He added that having TIM as majority shareholder would not mean that the business is skewed in the incumbent’s favour, since the network would be managed as a separate operation and would offer wholesale access to all service providers on an equal basis, including TIM itself. As a minority partner in the Flash Fiber joint venture with TIM, Fastweb would be entitled to a stake of around 4.4% in FiberCop.
Meanwhile, Italian politician Beppe Grillo, founder of senior coalition party the 5-Star Movement, has called on state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to assume control of a national infrastructure business which combines TIM’s networks with those of wholesale operator Open Fiber. CDP is a shareholder in both TIM and Open Fiber. He said: ‘(Italy) needs a project that is able to unblock huge direct and indirect investments in a short time, (including those of) Europe’s Recovery Fund.’