RIM, Jan. 13 () – An Italian broadband provider or consortium of operators plans to limit the number of lots it can win in public tenders to expand ultra-fast connectivity across the country, three sources close to the matter said.
The government is preparing to divide the bidding areas into 15 lots and wants to prevent one bidder from winning more than eight, sources warn that the conditions and conditions have not yet been finalized.
Rome will direct 3.8 billion euros ($ 4.36 billion) from the European Union to provide 1 gigabyte of fixed Internet access per second by 2026 across the country.
The program is part of the government’s efforts to develop Italy’s digital economy, which lags behind its larger peers in Europe.
As reported in November, EU officials have unofficially demanded that Italy set a 50% limit on the broadband network that can be given to single firms or consortiums to keep it competitive.
The idea of the cover is in line with the direction approved by the Minister of Innovation, former CEO of Vodafone Vittorio Kolao, who said that protecting competition is the best way to distribute ultra-fast fiber.
The Colao office said it plans to announce a call for tenders by the end of January, and sources said they could be announced as early as Friday. Rome plans to hand over the contracts by June.
The funding scheme aims to cover nearly 7 million homes that no broadband operator offers or plans to offer at least 300 Megabit load connections per second.
The tender process comes at a time when the Italian telecommunications sector is changing due to a bid by U.S. private equity giant KKR to acquire Telecom Italia (TIM).
$ 1 = € 0.8724 Reports by Giuseppe Fonte and Elvira Pollina, edited by Gavin Jones, Kirsten Donovan