Open Fiber granted 3.5 billion euro project financing for Italian fiber optic network

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Open Fiber said on Friday banks, state lender CDP and the European Investment Bank had signed off on a 3.5 billion euro project finance package to help fund the ultrafast broadband network it is rolling out across the country.

The funding, the biggest-ever project finance deal for an optic fiber network in the EMEA region, is led by UniCredit, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas.

Open Fiber, jointly owned by CDP and utility Enel, also said its two shareholders would grant a maximum further 950 million euros.

Open Fiber is building a wholesale-only fast internet network across Italy which will rival the network of former phone monopolist Telecom Italia.

Italian politicians have called for closer ties between the two companies to avoid duplication and allow the companies to speed up investments.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes