February 6, 2018 / 2:03 PM / 10 months ago

Italian telco networks should be put into separate company - Berlusconi's party

MILAN, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Italian communications networks, including those owned by Telecom Italia (TIM) and Open Fiber, should be put into one company to boost investments and guarantee equal access to all operators, a representative of Forza Italia party said.

Forza Italia (Go Italy!), the party of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, is part of a centre-right coalition that is leading the polls ahead of national elections in March.

TIM has come under pressure from Italian politicians, regulators and rivals to separate and upgrade its network, an asset analysts value at up to 15 billion euros ($18.6 billion).

That pressure has increased since the creation of Open Fiber, a joint venture between state-owned utility Enel and state lender CDP, which began rolling out a fiber optic network across Italy in direct competition to TIM.

"It doesn't make any sense to have two motorways from Milan to Rome, so it doesn't make any sense to have two telecom networks competing against each other," Maurizio Gasparri, a former communications minister and a senior figure in Forza Italia, told Reuters.

TIM and Open Fiber declined to comment. (Reporting by Stefano Rebaudo; editing by Francesca Landini)

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