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TI.A - Telecom Italia SpA News Story

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Last Trade - 05/07/19

Sector
Telecoms
Size
Large Cap
Market Cap £9.79bn
Enterprise Value £32.93bn
Revenue £13.65bn
Position in Universe th / 6849

FiberCop goes live as Italy strives to close digital divide

Thu 1st April, 2021 10:46am
By Maria Pia Quaglia
    MILAN, April 1 (Reuters) - FiberCop, created to manage
Telecom Italia's (TIM)  TLIT.MI  'last mile' grid and open it up
to other operators, became fully operational on Thursday, as the
country's biggest phone group leads efforts to close a digital
divide with the rest of Europe.
    In 2019, Italy ranked 24 out of 28 European Union member
states in its take-up of ultrafast internet of at least 100
megabytes, the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) found. 
    FiberCop, into which TIM transferred its copper last mile
network connecting street cabinets to people's homes and also
the fiber assets from a joint venture with Fastweb, is meant to
help facilitate a switch to fast fibre connectivity.
    It went live on Thursday after U.S. infrastructure fund KKR
 KKR.N  finalised its acquisition of 37.5% of FiberCop from TIM
for 1.8 billion euros ($2.11 billion), TIM, Fastweb and KKR said
in a joint statement. 
    In addition, Swisscom  SCMN.S  unit Fastweb underwrote
FiberCop shares worth 4.5% by transferring the 20% it held in
FlashFiber, a fibre network joint venture with TIM, into
FiberCop.
    FiberCop will not require capital injections from
shareholders, the companies said, adding it was expected to
reach earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) of 0.9 billion euros on a full-year basis.
    Massimo Sarmi, formerly a CEO at Poste Italiane  PST.MI ,
will be chairman at FiberCop and Carlo Filangieri, a long-term
TIM manager, will be CEO. 
    Its aim is to ensure connection speeds of up to 1 gigabite
for 76% of properties in the so-called grey and black areas of
Italy by 2025, the companies said. Those mainly cover large
cities and small towns and exclude non-economically viable
areas. 
    The new company is a first step towards a government plan to
create a single network by merging FiberCop into state-backed
Open Fiber.
    Open Fiber is a wholesale-only ultra-broadband jointly owned
by Italy's biggest utility Enel  ENEI.MI  and state lender Cassa
Depositi e Prestiti  CDP.UL  (CDP). urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2FX54H 
    But the plans for a single operator have yet to be
finalised, with questions around governance seen as one of the
hurdles.
    Sources told Reuters on Wednesday Italy was considering a
new scheme to win control of Open Fiber.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2LU0DX
    Under Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who took office this
year, Italy's government has put digital infrastructure at the
heart of the agenda, but some of his ministers have cast doubt
on the project for a single network.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2LN3OV
     ($1 = 0.8535 euros)

 (Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia; editing by Barbara Lewis)
 ((mariapia.quaglia@tr.com; +39 02 66129638;))
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