Italy: Sky in broadband talks with Open Fiber

Pay-TV group Sky is in talks with Italian wholesale network operator Open Fiber as part of its plans to offer a high-speed broadband service in Italy.

A deal could be reached in October and Sky could start offering the new service as early as the first quarter of 2018, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

For its part, Reuters, citing its own sources, reported that talks are at a very early stage and that “there is still a very long way to go”.

Asked whether talks had been held with Sky, Open Fiber CEO Tommaso Pompei said “contacts are under way with everyone”.

The launch of the broadband service would see Sky challenging Telecom Italia’s dominance in the sector. The telecommunications operator is in negotiations with Vivendi’s Canal+ unit on the setting up of a pay-TV unit.

Rome-based Open Fiber is a joint venture between electricity utility Enel and Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

Its FTTH network provides speeds of up to 1 Gbps both in download and upload in Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Catania, Naples, Milan, Padua, Palermo, Perugia, Turin and Venice. Work is underway to bring the network to other cities, including Florence and Genoa.

The project will be developed over 6 years in more than 270 Italian cities with about 9.5 million real estate units served.

Meanwhile, Open Fiber has just signed a deal to use the infrastructure of local utility Acea to roll-out its fibre network to 1.3 million homes in Rome within 5 years, as part of an investment estimated at €400 million.

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