Italy gets fiber back on track
Fiber deployment in Italy could be back on track after carriers agreed a technical model for upgrading copper lines.
An agreement, unveiled by deputy communications minister Paolo Romani on Friday, will allow several different broadband technologies to be deployed in the country, and will help Italy bridge the gap to European neighbors in terms of fiber deployment, WSJ.com reported.
The deal came at the end of a turbulent week for Italy’s fiber rollout plans, as alternative carriers quit the nation’s Next Generation Broadband committee, claiming it was biased in favor of incumbent Telecom Italia.
Three of the carriers who left the committee – FastWeb, Wind and Vodafone – are pressing ahead with a €2.5 billion investment in their own fiber network, however Telecom Italia has refused to team up with the trio, instead pressing ahead with its own fiber deployment plans.
Italy is keen to kick-start its fiber rollout as it lags behind European neighbors in terms of penetration, and risks falling short of European Union targets for broadband availability.
With the technical framework in place, carriers will now be asked to discuss a public-private partnership to fund the build out, Romani said.
The funding meeting will take place within a fortnight, WSJ reported.