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We introduce a simple procedure - based on passive optical elements - to produce pure three-mode Gaussian states with arbitrary entanglement structure (upon availability of an initial single-mode squeezed state). We analyze in detail the properties of distributed entanglement, showing that the promiscuity of entanglement sharing is a feature peculiar to symmetric Gaussian states that survives even in the presence of significant degrees of mixedness and decoherence. Next, we discuss the suitability of the considered tripartite entangled states to the implementation of quantum information and communication protocols with continuous variables. This will lead to a feasible experimental proposal to test the promiscuous sharing of continuous-variable entanglement, in terms of the optimal fidelity of teleportation networks with Gaussian resources. As a byproduct, optimal resource states for various communication protocols (among which asymmetric telecloning) will be exactly determined.