Virgin Fibra to bundle fast Internet with video streaming in Italy

MILAN (Reuters) – Virgin Fibra, a start-up firm backed by the group founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, will add video streaming services to its newly-launched fast fiber offer in Italy, its chief said on Tuesday.

Led by telecoms and media industry veteran Tom Mockridge, Virgin Fibra, which started marketing its services in August, now offers ultrafast connectivity services at a reduced monthly price of 26 euros ($25.66).

“We will partner with the streaming hubs but we are not a business that is creating our own content. There are some fantastic choices of streaming apps,” Mockridge said during a press briefing in Milan to present the new venture.

The venture has been endowed with an initial 25 million euros of capital.

“The investors are one third Virgin, one third myself and my partners and one third some Italian investors”, the executive said.

No targets were provided during the presentation.

The entry of the Virgin brand adds competition in an increasing crowded fast fiber residential market, where former monopoly Telecom Italia is struggling to fight off new entrants.

Similarly to Sky and Iliad, Virgin Fibra partnered with state-backed fiber-optic operator Open Fiber’s to launch fast-connectivity services in Italy.

Asked about a project to create a single national network company combining Telecom Italia’s grid with those of smaller rival Open Fiber, Branson said that the key job of a government is to encourage competition.

“If they were to do anything like that they have to be 100% sure that it does not take away from competition”, he told reporters on the sidelines of the news conference. ($1 = 1.0133 euros)

(Reporting by Elisa Anzolin and Elvira Pollina; Editing by Keith Weir)

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