Fastweb CEO supports Italian broadband merger

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Alberto Calcagno says Enel’s OpEn Fiber should merge its network with TIM’s broadband fibre, but wants to keep Fastweb separate

The CEO of Italian broadband operator Fastweb has come out in support of an infrastructure merger of two rivals, TIM and Enel.

Alberto Calcagno, CEO if the Swisscom-owned Fastweb, said in an interview at the weekend that rolling electricity company Enel’s broadband network, OpEn Fiber, into that of the former Telecom Italia “would make sense”.

But he opposed ideas to split TIM into a network company and a service company. “Talking about splitting up the incumbent network is the way to block projects and development for at least a couple of years,” Calcagno told the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore in an interview published on Saturday.

“It would make sense” for the networks of TIM and OpEn Fiber to merge, he said, so that “OpEn Fiber was contributing to TIM with CDP [Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, part-owner of OpEn Fiber] as a shareholder to guarantee investment, quality, and network rollout.”

But Fastweb does not want to add its network to the mix, he insisted.

Fastweb “we will continue to invest” in major urban areas “as we have done so far”, he added. “If we talk about a larger project, we cannot but consider that we are starting to think about the 5G that is halfway between mobile and fixed, given the need for fibre. I think that operational synergies would be needed.”

In rural areas “we will be customers” of TIM and OpEn Fiber, he said. But “we will continue to compete with our network and our services in the major cities”.