Open Fiber backed by billions to broaden fibre's reach across Italy

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Italian fixed line provider Open Fiber has banked €3.5 billion of funding as it looks to follow through on its plans for full fibre across the country.

A total of 13 banks were involved in the financing, which will last for seven years, as well as Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the European Investment Bank.

The money will go towards Open Fiber's €6.5 billion project to bring Fibre to the Home speeds of 1GBps to 19.5 million buildings across Italy.

The vendor said the investment amounted to the largest structured finance product to back fibre development across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Elisabetta Ripa, CEO of Open Fiber, said: "This is an important sign of confidence in the project, in the wholesale only model and especially in the Open Fiber people who have done a fantastic job in recent months."

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Franco Bassanini, President of Open Fiber, added that the breadth of financial backers, which included France's BNP Paribas and Société Générale, as well as Spain's Banco Santander, showed confidence in Italy's economy amid "nervousness" in the markets.

He added: "The operation is also a new demonstration of the growing attention of the markets for the validity of the business model adopted by Open Fiber and other innovative European companies, the most suitable to meet the need to realise, with long-term investments, the infrastructure's new generation network for the Gigabit Society."

On Friday, Italian operator Wind Tre announced it had connected citizens of Prato with Fibre to the Home technology in partnership with Open Fiber.

Also on Friday, UK vendor Hyperoptic announced it had secured £250 million of funding to back its expansion of its fibre network to 50 towns and cities next year.