With pressure once again mounting for incumbent operator Telecom Italia to spin off its network assets in support of the rollout of a national next generation network (NGN), company CEO Franco Bernabe has appeared on Italian television to reject speculation, Reuters reports. Bernabe said: ‘All the pressure on me for a spinoff, for extraordinary financial operations, are pressures that I reject, because I believe that they would be serious and devastating for the company’s potential and future… I do not agree with extravagant financial operations, because the company needs normality, needs to return to a focus on clients, its market and the quality of its services, and this takes time.’ As reported by CommsUpdate on 12 October 2009, the CEO has previously refuted calls for a spinoff, saying: ‘A spinoff is an option that has been shelved and it is not on the table right now.’ However, at the same time the operator did state that it would be willing to discuss with rival operators the possibility of collaboration to build up new broadband infrastructure, an idea which has also attracted the support of rivals Vodafone, FastWeb and Wind. On 11 December FastWeb CEO Stefano Parisi revealed that the telco would be willing to invest its existing fibre-optic infrastructure in a new joint network, which would be controlled by TI. The operation could be financed by other investors, Parisi added, suggesting that Chinese investors as well as state-run lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti could inject fresh capital in the new company.
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