Virgin Fibra will combine 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 new fast fiber offering in Italy, its director said on Tuesday.

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

“We will partner with streaming hubs, but we are not a company that creates its own content. There are fantastic choices of streaming apps out there,” Mockridge said during a press briefing in Milan to present the new business.

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The company was endowed with an initial capital of 25 million euros.

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

No objective was provided during the presentation.

The Virgin brand’s entry adds competition in an increasingly crowded fast fiber residential market, where former monopoly Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) is struggling to compete with new entrants.

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

Asked about a plan to create a single national network company combining Telecom Italia’s network with those of its smaller rival Open Fiber, Branson said the essential task of a government was to encourage competition.

“If they were to do something like that, they have to be 100% sure that it doesn’t take anything away from 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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