Power company offers to bail out Italian Broadband

marconiItaly’s cash strapped telecos have been thrown a lifeline by the Italian power company Enel but they are under pressure from the Italian status quo to say no.

For years Italy’s broadband has fallen behind the rest of the EU because none of the telcos wanted to invest money in expensive infrastructure and the Italian government is too busy trying to work out how it can hold onto power long enough its MPs to collect a life long pension.

Enel has written to the Italian communications regulator offering to help with building a nationwide ultrafast broadband telecoms network.

Enel, which is controlled by the Italian government, wrote a letter to the regulator on April 14 saying its domestic network could be used to help install fibre optic cables more cheaply.

“Enel believes it can help develop a key infrastructure for the future of the country,” Enel’s head of Italy Carlo Tamburi said in the letter to AGCOM.

Enel said its contribution would be done “in a synergistic way with what the telecom operators have done and planned”, bringing clear benefits to less populated and industrial areas.

However the move will set the power company against established interests within Italy. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi $13.35 billion project aimed at getting 85 percent of the population connected up to a fibre optic network within six years, using Metroweb, a company partly owned by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

That plan is already in trouble because Telecom Italia has been moaning that it is unfair. It owns a lot of the gear and it wants to buy into Metroweb to make sure its archaic monopoly, er interests were protected. However for some reason the government was not particularly interested.

La Repubblica newspaper said in a front-page article that Rome wanted to use Enel to bring the new fibre optic network under public control.

Enel, which is focusing much of its domestic strategy on developing its power distribution grid and smart digital technology, has about 1.2 million km of power lines and 450,000 power distribution cabinets across Italy.

This is not the first time that Enel has become involved in the Telecoms market. It set up Wind, the third biggest of Italy’s four mobile network operators, which is now owned by Vimpelcom.`