(Updates with Telecom Italia saying it behaved correctly)
ROME Feb 9 Italy's antitrust authority opened
an investigation into a broadband joint venture between Telecom
Italia and Swisscom unit Fastweb for possible
violations of competition rules, it said in a statement on
The two companies agreed in July to invest 1.2 billion euros
($1.28 billion) in a joint venture to speed up the roll-out of
an ultrafast broadband network in 29 cities across Italy.
The authority said it had sent finance police to both
companies on Thursday to acquire "elements needed for the
The joint venture "could reduce the intensity of
competition" in the broadband and ultrafast broadband sectors,
the statement said.
Telecom Italia and Fastweb both stood by the project and
said they had behaved correctly. Fastweb said the joint venture
was running fibre optic cables to 20,000 new homes each week.
Fastweb "is convinced both in the validity of the industrial
project and in the correctness of its operations," the company
said in a statement.
($1 = 0.9379 euros)
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Gavin Jones, editing by Isla
Binnie and Adrian Croft)