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Italy reportedly mulling renationalisation of TIM network

The Italian Industry Minister has apparently said the privatisation of Telecom Italia was a mistake and wants to at least partially reverse it.

Reuters reports Adolfo Urso, speaking at a business conference, said “We need the network to be under public control.” He is subsequently quoted as adding “The government strategy is to have a state-controlled network.” But aside from Urso’s reported comments there don’t seem to have been any official policy statements from the Italian government.

One reason for that could be that it has only been in power for less than a month. The new Italian Prime Minister is Giorgia Meloni, who is often described as ‘far right’ by commentators disinclined to define the term. In practice she seems to combine social policies generally associated with the right with an inclination towards economic statism with a nationalist flavour. Urso is part of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, so it’s not surprising to see him support statist policies.

But the Italian government tends to be a coalition and this one is no exception. The current ruling bloc includes a couple of other parties considered to be on the right of the political spectrum, including one led by former PM and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, which may well mean there will be considerable opposition to nationalisation.

So it looks like Urso’s comments could have been designed as a trial balloon to gauge political and public response to the idea. The sage of what to do about Italy’s broadband network has been running for years. The most recent cunning plan of a merger between TIM and Open Fiber to create a single network was thought to be favoured by Meloni, but maybe she now has bigger plans.

 

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