Telecom Italia has notified Italian regulator, AGCom, that it has officially started the legal separation of its fixed access network.
The new company, which will be known as NetCo, will be 100% controlled by TIM though it will now be in a similar reporting structure as Openreach in the UK. While the profits will flow back into the TIM bank account, the network, business and personnel will theoretically be independent of the TIM business.
“The model will guarantee full equality of treatment , thanks to a single access point; a ‘one-stop shop’ for regulated and unregulated wholesale services for all operators, including TIM,” TIM has said in a statement.
Timelines are yet to be set, though if the Openreach example is anything to go by, this is likely to be a long (and relatively uneventful) process, with complaints being fired in from every angle. While this is seemingly a move to keep the Italian government out of the TIM business, we imagine the busy-body bureaucrats will certainly have a thing or two to say over the next couple of months.
The move itself seems to be a reaction to government intervention into the operations of TIM since Vivendi has been playing a more influential role. The concern from the government is the fixed infrastructure, deemed an asset of national importance, would not get the attention required as Vivendi paints more of a media flavour onto the TIM business model. Separating the two functions keeps the government happy, while also offering TIM/Vivendi the freedom to explore the opportunities presented in the content/media world.