Fast delivery of a single ultra-fast broadband network is the recommendation of Italian coalition leader Beppo Grillo. According to TelecomNews, Grillo has called for the government to revive the economy by backing state lender CDP as the main investor in a single network project.
Under Grillo’s plan, big telecom players Telecom Italia (TIM), state-backed rival Open Fiber, Enel and CDP would merge to create one entity focused on broadband delivery. While this would represent an enviable pooling of resources, internal disagreements keep the project from moving forward, according to the account.
CDP would “be the leading investor while the shareholder base should be generally widespread” in Grillo’s model. However, this seems to conflict with TIM’s interests. TIM, reportedly, would like to remain the majority stockholder. TIM is on the verge of selling a minority stake in its secondary grid to KKR, a U.S. investment firm. The Italian government has asked TIM to postpone the sale in favor of working with the other Italian agencies to create a single national network.
Grillo has said he would like to see TIM regroup its data centers, mobile towers, and CDP also has multiple irons in the fire as it controls regulated gas and power grid companies Snam and Terna. Though Grillo does hold an official role in the current government, he is recognized as a respected leader. Grillo has urged the state to get behind the single network project, noting, “[Italy] needs a project that is able to unblock huge direct and indirect investments in a short time, [including those of] Europe’s Recovery Fund.”