Jan 25, 2017
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Delay in Italy rural broadband decision

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Italy’s OpEn Fiber appears set to win tenders
from the government to build ultra-fast broadband in five
poorly served regions of the country.
But Infratel, the government body due to make the award, is
taking a second look at the bids and has delayed its decision,
according to people familiar with the project, speaking to
Global Telecoms Business.
Rumours in the Italian telecoms industry say that OpEn Fiber,
which was founded by electricity company Enel and merged with
Metroweb in December 2016, won all tenders
for the projects, expected to serve 6.5 million people at a
cost of €1.6 billion.
"But there were anomalies in the offer from a sustainability
point of view and because of economic matters," one observer,
an executive in the industry, told Global Telecoms Business.
"Infratel is going to make a final decision in the coming
weeks. Everyone has to be sure of the sustainability."
Meanwhile TIM – the consumer brand adopted by Telecom
Italia – said that it was speeding up its own coverage
of ultra-broadband in the so-called market failure areas.
The company acknowledged that "at present better offers than
its own are thought to have been received" by the Infratel
commission.
It added that "this tender competition concerned the creation
of a public network with public investments in 'market
failure’ areas, such as rural or sparsely
populated areas", and pointed out that these are "areas in
which TIM owns a network and where in any case the company will
intervene selectively with its own fixed and mobile
ultra-broadband coverage, offering its customers maximum
quality in the shortest time possible".
TIM added: "The results of the tender competition do not have
any impact from an operational or strategic perspective or on
the market positioning of the company which confirms its
targets and will speed up its investment plan to cover the
entire country in a very short time."
According to Italian sources, rival bids for the market failure
areas came from energy company Estra; a consortium of telecoms
carrier Retelit along with Eolo and EDS Infrastrutture; TIM;
and OpEn Fiber, which completed its €714 million
acquisition of the entire share capital of Metroweb in December
2016.
Neither the Italian Ministry of Economic Development nor OpEn Fiber have commented on the
delay.

Read on: GlobalTelecomsBusiness

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