Wind Tre has extended a partnership with Open Fiber that will see it offer fibre to the home (FTTH) to 60 percent of the Italian population.

Open Fiber, a partnership between energy company Enel and the Italian government, currently offers FTTH in 12 cities, with the service also being rolled out in Florence.

Launched in 2015, Open Fiber provides FTTH by installing fibre through the electricity network of owner Enel, which reaches the homes and businesses of 32 million Italians.

It has not disclosed customer figures since launch, although it hopes to reach 10 million users by 2020.

Open Fiber offers FTTH wholesale to third party suppliers, including Wind Tre, the VEON and Hutchinson Whampoa joint venture that launched in November 2016.

The new deal, which will last until 2024, enables Wind Tre to provide FTTH to a further 10 million premises in 258 cities, taking coverage to 60 percent of the Italian population.

Wind Tre currently has 2.4 million broadband customers, although it does not break down the number of fibre subscribers.

Jeffrey Hedberg, CEO at Wind Tre, said the deal would strengthen Wind Tre’s position in the market as a large integrated operator, as well as help it meet government targets to expand ultrafast broadband services.

Tommaso Pompei, CEO at Open Fiber, added: “The agreement with Wind Tre, one of the key players in the sector, allows us to accelerate the creation of a future-proof communication network in 271 cities that are situated in Italy’s most densely populated areas and to reduce digital divide in our Country compared to the rest of Europe.”

Last week, Wind Tre rival TIM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UTILITALIA, a federation of 500 of the country’s electricity, gas and water companies, enabling it to use their pipes, ducts and public lighting networks.

The incumbent plans to reach 85 percent fibre coverage by the end of 2017 and 99 percent by the end of 2019.

This week, TIM issued a denial after reports surfaced that it was planning to sell or spin off its network.

“Network is a strategic asset for TIM and its industrial plan: any speculation is therefore completely groundless,” a spokesperson said.

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