Virgin Fibra bundles fast internet with video streaming in Italy


MILAN, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Virgin Fibra, a start-up backed by the group founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, will add video streaming services to its newly launched Fast Fibra offering in Italy expand, his boss said on Tuesday.

Led by telecom and media industry veteran Tom Mockridge, Virgin Fibra, which began marketing its services in August, is now offering ultra-fast connectivity services at a reduced monthly price of €26 ($25.66).

“We will work with the streaming hubs, but we are not a company that creates our own content. There’s a fantastic range of streaming apps out there,” Mockridge said during a press conference in Milan to introduce the new company.

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The company has seed capital of EUR 25 million.

“The investors are one third Virgin, one third me and my partners and one third some Italian investors,” said the managing director.

No goals were specified during the presentation.

The entry of the Virgin brand increases competition in an increasingly crowded high-speed residential fiber market, where former monopoly Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) is struggling to fend off new entrants.

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

Asked about a project to create a single national network company that would combine Telecom Italia’s network with that of smaller competitor Open Fiber, Branson said a government’s main job is to encourage competition.

“If you do something like that, you have to be 100% sure that it won’t hurt the competition,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the press conference. ($1 = 1.0133 euros)

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Reporting by Elisa Anzolin and Elvira Pollina Editing by Keith Weir

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