Richard Branson launches his Internet service: 'Pure fiber, no more copper'

After gyms, radio and cruises, the histrionic billionaire lands with a new wi-fi service: clear and forever rates, no hidden costs and cancel whenever you want

 Virgin: Branson, first satellite from Europe in 6 weeks Richard Branson (centre) and Tom Mockridge (right) during the presentation at the Teatro Gerolamo in Milan

The Italian market appeals to many. That of telephony (already in the past) and that of fast internet. The confirmation comes from the stage of a jewel-theater in the center of Milan that Sir Richard Branson chooses to launch Virgin Fibra, the fiber optic connectivity offer that aims to annoy – perhaps very annoy – traditional operators, but also newcomers like Iliad or Sky WiFi. The starting assumption of the eclectic English billionaire is that, despite the strong demand, the Italian wi-fi is characterized by 'slow and unstable connections' due to the prevalence of the copper pair. “Copper is the past. In the true spirit of Virgin – announces Branson -, Virgin Fibra has arrived to do things differently”. This is thanks to the alliance with OpenFiber and its so-called 'pure fiber' with direct connection from the transmission center to homes ( fibre to the home ). The promise is fast and reliable connections, transparent and easy to understand offers, which can be activated online in 'just five minutes'. Yes, because the other anomaly (let's call it that) identified by Branson and Tom Mockridge, the CEO of the new company, not by chance the former dominus of Sky Italia, is the forest of offers and subscription plans.

Elodie and Andrea Iannone, elopement by bicycle Elodie and Andrea Iannone, elopement by bicycle

TRANSPARENT - At launch, Virgin Fibra is available at 26.99 euros per month forever, without deactivation costs (when fully operational, it will rise to 29.49 euros plus 20 for activation) and with a free latest-generation modem. “Netflix Model” is the touchstone. The rest should be done by promotions linked to the group's other activities - cruises, gyms, Virgin Radio -, starting with the three months of free access to Virgin Active Revolution's online workouts, as well as a powerful advertising campaign planned entirely on the web and social media. “One third of the shareholders are the Virgin group – explained Mockridge – one third of me and my partners and the remaining third of Italian investors who believed in us”. Among which certain names are those of Luca Bombassei and Gerardo Braggiotti. The initial capital is 25 million euros and an initial staff of about forty people works on the company. The approach is aggressive, starting with the slogan: 'Enough with this copper cable'. We'll see if that's easier said than done.