According to data released by the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) Council Europe, Italy represents one of the largest FTTH markets in Europe, with more than 2.5 million homes passed by fibre at end-December 2010; at the same date the country reported around 348,000 fibre subscribers.
The ongoing 'Fibre for Italy' project aims to bring fibre to 20 million people in Italy's 15 largest cities by 2015, whilst Telecom Italia has committed itself to bringing FTTH/FTTB connectivity to an additional 138 cities by 2018. Further, in November 2010 seven Italian telecoms operators agreed to join forces in order to form a new company charged with overseeing the infrastructure rollout in areas where no operator has scheduled a fibre deployment thus far. The companies involved are Telecom Italia, FastWeb, Wind, Vodafone Italia, Tiscali, BT Italia and 3 Italia. The new company will have an executive committee chaired by Industry Minister Paolo Romani, and focus on avoiding duplicate installations and coordinating investments.
In other news, the launch of Telecom Italia's long-awaited 'Telecom 100Mega' broadband offer has been postponed once more, due to regulatory red-tape. The delay reportedly concerns the terms of a wholesale agreement between Telecom Italia and its rivals, including FastWeb. Telecom Italia intends to offer the high-speed package in six cities: Rome, Milan, Bari, Venice, Turin and Catania, and its rivals have requested access to a wholesale offering that permits the replication of the service. The service was originally set to be launched by the end of 2010. Local news reports suggest that telecoms regulator Autorita per le Garanzie Comunicazioni (Agcom) omitted the matter from its first board meeting of 2011.