ROME, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Italian media group Mediaset
could join the single national broadband network the
government wants to see created, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
said on Saturday, adding that rules on telecoms ownership in
Italy might have to be revised.
"Why not?" Conte said, when asked by a journalist if
Mediaset, controlled by the family of former prime minister
Silvio Berlusconi, could also take part in the broadband
The comments came just days after an EU court ruling in a
legal tussle between Mediaset and French group Vivendi. The
decision went Vivendi's way and raised questions about an
Italian law that is designed to prevent a concentration of power
in the telecoms and media sectors.
Conte said the government would have to read the full ruling
carefully, but added: "From what has already been announced (by
the court) ... it is reasonable to say it will force us to
revise the rules regarding telecoms."
In the wake of the Sept. 3 verdict, Mediaset announced that
it might now consider investing in the single broadband network
the government is encouraging.
Rome has pushed Telecom Italia (TIM), its smaller
rival Open Fiber and state lender CDP to create a single
national ultrafast grid operator to help Italy close its digital
divide with other European countries.
Speaking at an event organised by Il Fatto Quotidiano
newspaper, Conte said he hoped such a network could be completed
within three to four years and that other companies would be
welcome to take part.
"It will be an open and inclusive network," he said. "You
talked about Mediaset. I am talking about all the companies in
the telecoms sector. We want them all to take part."
Telecom Italia Chief Executive Luigi Gubitosi said other
operators could join the project, adding that there would be no
objection in principle to content providers like Mediaset taking
part but it was still unclear whether they would want to.
"We still have to understand what interest content operators
have, what they can bring and what they can get out of it," he
told a conference in Cernobbio, outside Milan.
"If there's interest from anyone, it will be evaluated but
it's not obvious from an industrial point of view."
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer, Valentina Za in Cernobbio,
Editing by Ros Russell)