Italy's antitrust watchdog launches investigation into TIM over rural broadband

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Telecom Italia has denied the regulator's claims that it may have abused its market position in the deployment of broadband across rural Italy

Telecom ItaliaItalian regulators have launched an antitrust investigation into Telecom Italia over claims it abused its market position in the roll out of broadband in rural areas, a claim the Italian operator denies.

Italy’s Antitrust Authority will look into whether TIM has tried to obstruct the process of deploying superfast broadband in so-called non-economically viable areas, after the incumbent clashed with the government over its broadband plans.

The watchdog said it will review whether TIM tried to obstruct state tenders for rural broadband deployments, by changing its own investment plans in the areas and appealing against other tenders.

By slowing down the tenders "TIM could obstruct the development of infrastructure competition and the entry of new rivals", the regulator said in a statement.

TIM has denied this in a statement, saying it acted in compliance with the rules. “TIM highlights that today’s inspection by the Antitrust Authority is the consequence of the submission over the last weeks and in a short period of time, of several claims from the parties holding an interest to hinder TIM’s investment.

“TIM, as already proven in the past, is certain to have acted in compliance with the rules and will demonstrate it in the appropriate venues. TIM is confident that, already when the case is under investigation, the rightness of the Company's operations will emerge.”

TIM had originally taken part in a Rome tender which will see subsidies given to operators deploying fibre in rural areas, but later withdrew, saying it would invest its own money.

In June, a cabinet minister said the government will seek damages from TIM, as it had originally said it would not invest in rural areas, according to reports in Italy.