RealTime IT News

Telecom Italia Takes on Authorities Over ADSL Approval

Former state-owned telecommunications monopoly Telecom Italia threatened to take legal action against government authorities if they continue to delay an approval related to the sale of its ADSL products.

Telecom Italia last month introduced FastInternet, through wideband ADSL technology, following successful market testing in major cities such as Rome, Milan, Turin and Bologna. The national campaign launching 24-hour access to FastInternet service for 400,000 lira (US$216) activation charge, plus a fixed 600,000 lira (US$324) annual fee was quickly challenged by telecom competitors.

Infostrada, the country's second largest carrier in fact filed a formal denunciation requesting the Italian government stop Telecom Italia's move towards high-speed Internet service, saying that the initiative violated state antitrust laws.

The Italian Telecommunications Authority, Enzo Cheli, told journalists that there was no doubt that allowing FastInternet to proceed at that time would put other carriers at a marketing disadvantage, based exclusively on Telecom Italia's continued monopoly on domestic networks. Because deregulation would allow all carriers to provide domestic as well as long-distance service as of January 1, FastInternet agreed to delay the launch until January 10.

As the date for Telecom Italia's new initiative came and went without word of approval from government authorities, company executives moved towards legal action against the state, claiming that they intended to request reimbursement for lost revenue should the matter remain unresolved.

Despite Telecom's threat, a spokesperson from the office of Enzo Cheli told the daily newspaper La Repubblica that no decision on FastInternet authorization would come before January 26.

Telecom Italia, however, sees the government's delay as a means to allow competitors like Infostrata, Wind, and Albacom to establish ASDL technology, thus taking the competitive edge out of FastInternet as an advanced service.