(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s Telecom Italia SpA started the separation of its landline network, its most valuable asset, taking the first step toward realizing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s plan to create a single network company in the country, according to people familiar with the matter.

Telecom Italia approved a memorandum of understanding with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA, paving the way for the state-backed lender’s investment in the future network company, the people said, asking not to be named discussing confidential deliberations. The aim: open the grid to international investors and speed up Italy’s fiber rollout, as building a state-of-the-art national network is seen as a crucial driver to stimulate the economy and emerge from a deep recession.

At a meeting Monday afternoon, the board of Italy’s largest phone company also approved the sale to investment firm KKR & Co. of a 37.5% stake in the portion of its network that covers cables running from the street to premises -- the so-called secondary network. That caps a remarkable turnaround in relations between Rome and the ex-monopolist carrier, after the government intervened in early August to delay the deal. CDP’s board also met Monday to approve the preliminary agreement with Telecom Italia.

KKR has made a binding offer to pay 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion) for the stake, and Swisscom AG’s Italian unit Fastweb SpA is set to get a 4.5% stake in FiberCop, the company that will hold the secondary network. The new entity will have an initial enterprise value of 7.7 billion euros.

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