An Italian government minister has expressed concern at delays with Open Fiber’s state-subsidised rollouts in underserved rural areas. A series of rollout contracts were awarded to Open Fiber between 2017 and 2019 covering so-called ‘white’ areas, where fibre network rollout was not expected to take place without government financial support. Open Fiber initially suggested it would complete the work by April 2022, but subsequently pushed back the completion date several times. Under its latest schedule, it expects EU-funded projects to be finished by the middle of this year, while the remaining rollouts will run on until September 2024.
Minister of Economic Development Adolfo Urso has attributed the delays to ‘an initial underestimation of the issue of permits, erroneous industrial policies and political responsibilities’. He is quoted by StartMag as saying: ‘To ensure compliance with the timetable, a reinforced monitoring of the activities has been activated to detect progress and manage anomalies and implementation delays … and define the corrective actions to be undertaken.’
Open Fiber, which is 60%-owned by state investment fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), claims to have deployed fibre infrastructure which passes more than 14.5 million premises across Italy.