MILAN, April 13 Telecom Italia has
signed an agreement with Italy's biggest regional utility A2A
to help it roll out its ultrafast broadband network, two
sources said on Thursday, as it squares up to rival Enel
Telecom Italia will rent Milan-based A2A's existing pipe
infrastructure to help cut the costs of laying fibre, the
"Telecom Italia is keen to develop the business model and
extend it to other local utilities," one of the sources said,
adding the company had also held talks with Rome-based utility
Acea and Bologna's Hera.
The utilities declined to comment.
The move comes as power utility Enel steps up plans to
develop its own nationwide fibre network using the pipes and
pylons of its distribution grid.
Last year Enel set up OpEn Fiber which includes state lender
Cassa Depositi e Prestiti as a shareholder.
The Italian government sees the development of an ultrafast
internet network as a top priority to modernise the country's
phone infrastructure and to support business.
It enlisted the help of state-controlled Enel to speed up
the roll-out after accusing Telecom Italia of dragging its feet.
Telecom Italia, whose biggest shareholder is French media
group Vivendi, has pledged to spend 5 billion euros
($5.3 billion) over the next three years to speed up its
It recently said it was looking for a partner to help it
fund development of the network in economically non-viable areas
of the country.
($1 = 0.9398 euros)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Jason Neely)