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Italy agrees deal on broadband infrastructure

* Italian telcos sign MOU on infrastructure

* Another step ahead in slow-moving project

ROME, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Italian telecom operators have agreed to set up a company that will build the infrastructure for a national high-speed broadband network, the industry ministry said, in a step forward for the long-awaited project.

The memorandum of understanding between the operators will create a company that oversees infrastructure construction issues like installing fibre and cables for the proposed network, the ministry said in a statement.

The new company will be open to involvement from both public and private entities.

Still, Italian operators have yet to reach agreement over the more contentious issue of how a national fibre-optic network would be managed and who would fund the project.

Alternative telecom operators Fastweb FWB.MI, Vodafone's VOD.L Italian unit and Wind have proposed rolling out a 2.5 billion euro fibre-optic network jointly, but the plan hit a roadblock when former monopoly Telecom Italia TLIT.MI rejected the idea of a network run by multiple players. [ID:nLDE64C1JE]

Telecom Italia CEO Franco Bernabe said it would take three months to draw up the business plan for the body that would oversee the proposed broadband network in remote areas that are of limited interest to private companies. But he also warned that every operator was free to decide whether to take part in the project at the end of those three months.

Reporting by Deepa Babington and Alberto Sisto; editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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