Open Fiber and its partners let the deadline on an agreement which would have paved the way to merge fixed assets with Telecom Italia’s expire, as the country’s government indicated it was assessing the future of a long-touted single broadband network project.

In a joint statement, Open Fiber along with CDP Equity and Macquarie Asset Management noted in light of comments made this week by the Italian authorities they were letting the deadlines in a MoU struck in late May lapse.

Their announcement came a day after Italy’s minister for enterprise Adolfo Urso and undersecretary to the presidency of the council of ministers Alessio Butti unveiled plans to form a working group to discuss proposals for a single fixed network across the nation.

The initiative was a long-term policy pursued by the previous administration which had been subject to much debate, speculation and disagreement.

In the government statement, Urso and Butti highlighted “extensive and dutiful in-depth analyses and discussions” with the main parties involved in the single network plan and trade union representatives.

Moving forward, they noted, a working group would be created to “contribute to the definition of the best market solutions that can be implemented to maximize the interests of the country, of the companies involved and of their shareholders and stakeholders”.

It also noted a need to take into account “existing regulations at national and European level and the necessary economic, financial and employment balances”.

Open Fiber and its two associates indicated they were prepared to take part in discussions as part of the working group.