TIM and Open Fiber trade blows over roll-out speed and competition

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Telecom Italia (TIM) and Open Fiber have crossed swords amid ongoing talks about them joining forces to create a single fibre network for Italy.

According to a report by Reuters, TIM’s CEO, Luigi Gubitosi, backed the single network plan which the Italian government is pushing for, saying during a conference speech that Open Fiber is proceeding too slowly and building “fibre to nowhere”.

The latter comment was sparked by a recent parliamentary hearing which he said suggested that Open Fiber was laying its fibre an average of 17 metres from homes.

'Non-viable' contracts

Open Fiber rejected his comments, noting it has delivered fibre to 8 million customers, including 2 million in areas which have previously been neglected due to being economically ‘non viable’. The company, which launched three years ago, said a single network approach is “neither favoured by other players nor consistent with competition principles.”

Open Fiber is co-owned by the Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and utility group Enel, and sells wholesale capacity to telcos. The company has won all three contracts to roll out fibre in economically ‘non-viable’ areas in Italy.