Enel greenlighted the offer by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Equity (CDPE) on a 10% stake in Open Fiber, after having previously approved the sale of the other 40% stake to Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA), kicking off the transfer of the stake it held in this major nationwide Fiber to the Home (FTTH) infrastructural project, which has created enormous value for Italy, the fiber optics company’s shareholders and its overall stakeholders.
Francesco Starace, Enel Group CEO, stated: “We are extremely pleased about these five terrific years in Open Fiber. In such a limited amount of time, thanks to Open Fiber’s relentless work and the passion and dedication of all its employees, Italy has gone from near the back of the pack to become a frontrunner in the EU in terms of FTTH cabling. This growth also allowed the development of an overall industrial value chain in the country, while Open Fiber established itself as a large player in the industry, with beneficial impacts for Enel as well as CDP. And it is to CDP, and Macquarie, that we leave the honor to continue this infrastructure project, which is essential for the recovery and growth of the country. We treasure the experience acquired through Open Fiber and are looking forward to applying it to other countries worldwide, in line with our stewardship model Strategy. I would like to express my gratitude to all current and previous managers and employees with whom I had the privilege of working in these five successful years, with a special acknowledgment to CEO Elisabetta Ripa and Chairman Franco Bassanini for their priceless expertise and vision.”
According to the FTTH Council Europe, Italy increased FTTH household coverage by over 30 percentage points in the last four years, going from 15% in 2016 to around 45% estimated in 2020. At the end of 2020, Italy ranked second behind France in terms of FTTH coverage growth, with the addition of approximately 3.8 million households over the last fifteen months. Those results were mainly achieved thanks to Open Fiber, which in just a few years grew as the third FTTH infrastructure player in the EU-28.
As of today, Open Fiber has already connected via fiber infrastructure around 11.5 million households in Italy. Since the entry of Open Fiber into the Italian fixed ultra-broadband (UBB) market, until today, the number of cities with FTTH service available increased, in the competitive market areas, from fewer than 30 in 2016 to more than 180. In addition, Open Fiber covered, in rural areas, around 2,000 small and medium-sized municipalities throughout Italy.
At the end of these five successful years, during which Enel started from scratch and contributed to build a solid, thriving FTTH operator, with determination and a visionary approach, the company now hands over the baton to CDP and MIRA to further this mission and the expansion of fiber optics throughout Italy. Abandoning copper cables in favor of fiber optics entails huge environmental, social and economic benefits for the entire country.