Enel has no plans to exit Open Fiber investment By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Enel Group manhole cover is seen in the street in Perugia

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Enel Group manhole cover is seen in the street in Perugia

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s biggest utility Enel (MI:) has no plans to sell its 50 percent stake in broadband infrastructure company Open Fiber, Enel’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

“It’s doing a great job, we’re very happy with it… we will never exit Open Fiber,” Francesco Starace said at a conference on the group’s new business plan.

Open Fiber, controlled by Enel and state lender CDP, was enlisted two years ago to build a fast fiber network after Rome accused phone incumbent Telecom Italia (MI:) (TIM) of acting too slowly to upgrade its ageing network.

The government is now set to introduce measures to help create a single broadband company that could combine the networks of TIM and Open Fiber.

“Open Fiber has a mission to cable the whole country at competitive costs and fast… anything that makes that easier, we like, anything else we don’t know,” Starace said.

The populist 5-Star Movement, which took office with ruling coalition partner the League in June, has placed the creation of a fast broadband network at the heart of its industrial policy.

CDP, which controls Italy’s gas and power grid networks, also owns just under 5 percent of TIM.

Last week TIM sacked Chief Executive Amos Genish who had said he supported the idea of a merger with Open Fiber provided TIM was in control of the combined network.

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