Fastweb and Linkem today announced a long-term agreement to accelerate the deployment of their respective 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks and the reciprocal provision of wholesale services to deliver fiber-like services with speed up to 1 Gbps.
Last April Fastweb, a pioneer in the deployment of FTTH and FTTC networks announced a plan to double its proprietary ultrabroadband infrastructure by 2024 from current 8.0 million of Italian households and business sites covered through FTTx to 16.0 million by deploying a state of the art 5G FWA network. The company has an overall plan to invest 3 billion euros over the next 5 years, also for the deployment of 5G FWA and 5G mobile networks. For this plan Fastweb builds on the competencies of its subsidiary Fastweb Air which already operates an LTE FWA network in digital divide areas.
Leading operator in the Italian FWA market, Linkem has built Europe's largest fixed wireless proprietary access network that already serves over 650,000 household and business customers and covers 70% of the Country. Thanks to the vision of utilizing LTE FWA technology as an ultrabroadband alternative in Italy, Linkem has been able to attract over half a billion euros of foreign investments and is implementing an industrial plan to upgrade its network to 5G which will enable not only the best performance for end customers, but also a whole ecosystem of innovative services.
The agreement signed today will leverage the existing assets of both companies – such as radio planning capabilities, existing and new sites - enabling a faster and more efficient roll out of two independent 5G Radio Access Networks enhancing both coverage and performance. At the same time, it will ensure a strict separation of assets, services and commercial offers.
Linkem and Fastweb will provide each other wholesale access to their respective their respective 5G Radio Access Network, thus enabling the provision of the highest performing ultrabroadband connectivity to their customers, thanks to the specific peculiarity of the network that each operator will deploy.
The overall footprint of 8 million households in small and medium cities in so called "grey areas" – I.e. 30% of the country - will be completed by 2023.
Fastweb and Linkem will significantly enhance their customer experience by delivering fiber-like connection speed up to 1 Gbps at costs and time that are only a fraction of FTTH.
Fastweb measured speed up to 1 Gbps downstream and up to 200 Mbps upstream in several field trials conducted in recent months, confirming 5G FWA as a powerful alternative to FTTH infrastructure, with the added benefit of reduced costs and time of deployment compared to traditional Fiber networks.