A few years ago, it looked like Italy might be a place where interesting broadband deployment models might emerge. In particular, a consortium of alternative operators all working together pushed a radical proposal to pool resources for the deployment of a unique national FTTH point-to-point network. The key to making that work of course was the willing participation of incumbent Telecom Italia. Having rejected FTTC as a solution, and being cash-strapped, it looking for a while like Telecom Italia might agree.
Alas, things have changed and the Italian model now looks like so many others: Telecom Italia is embracing FTTC with FTTH deployment being a reality only in Milan (using Metroweb’s infrastructure). The plans for FTTC deployment target 6.1 million homes passed end 2014 in 100 cities. Somewhere in there is the Milan FTTH and possibly one or two other cities, but that sounds like wishful thinking to me.
Meanwhile, the ambitious Lombardia FTTH project seems to have ground to a halt as well. I haven’t heard anything about it in ages, and I don’t know if that’s for financial, technical or political reasons (and probably a mix of the three).
So there you have it. For a long time, Italy was a leader in the European rankings because of the legacy of Fastweb’s deployment in Milan. But these numbers have stayed flat for years, and it’s not looking like they will be growing anytime soon.