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Eurobites: Eircom Joins Vectoring Club

Ray Le Maistre

Also in today's regional roundup: Fiber network M&A activity in Spain; KPN chief gets vote of approval; BT, Unify team on unified communications.

  • Irish incumbent operator eir has upgraded the vast majority of its 3,000 street cabinets with VDSL2 vectoring technology from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , a move the operator believes will enable it to provide about 490,000 homes and businesses that are within reach of the cabinets with downstream speeds between 70 Mbit/s and 100 Mbit/s. Eircom also notes that it is working with vendors such as Huawei to "explore further hugely exciting technological developments in this area such as G.Fast, which offers the potential of future step changes in both upload and download broadband speeds by driving fibre further out into our network." (See No Easy Answers on FTTH Investment.)

  • Private equity firms are lining up to bid for the telecom infrastructure business of Spanish utility firm Gas Natural. The natural gas supplier is seeking €500 million (US$694 million) for the communications network business, according to this Bloomberg report.

  • Still in Spain, national power grid firm Red Electrica has won an auction to run part of the fiber network of state rail company ADIF for the next 20 years, reports Reuters. Red Electrica won with a bid of €462 million ($641 million) and now has the right to operate the data infrastructure that is used for wholesale transport services.

  • The supervisory board at KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) has unanimously approved the re-appointment of CEO Eelco Block during the Dutch incumbent's annual general meeting. Block told a Dutch financial newspaper Wednesday that KPN would never return to the level of dividends that were paid out pre-2012 by the carrier, which has been battling the impact of competition and regulatory changes for a number of years. It was recently downgraded by ratings agency Moody's and has been cutting its headcount in an effort to cut costs further. (See Euronews: KPN to Axe up to 2,000 Dutch Jobs.)

  • South African incumbent Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) is also looking to cut its annual operating costs by shedding jobs, reports Reuters.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has forged a partnership with unified communications specialist Unify Inc. (formerly Siemens Enterprise Communications) to deliver joint services to enterprise users in the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany. See this announcement for more details.

  • Irish mobile network performance management specialist CommProve has won a deal valued at $1.7 million to expand the deployment of its GSP Performance Management product at a major operator (more than 70 million customers) in Latin America.

  • French video access technology specialist Netgem has reported first-quarter revenues of €19.3 million ($26.8 million), noting that sales to customers outside France are up by 32% year-on-year to €16 million ($22.2 million). The company, which specializes in set-top box/home gateway hardware and cloud-based TV Anywhere service provisioning software, is aiming to rely less on domestic revenues and capture new business from mobile operators across Europe.

  • London's University of Westminster is paving the way for the introduction of SDN with the deployment of routers from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), which has pre-integrated support for OpenFlow in its router and switch products. Initially, the university, which has 25,000 students, will use Brocade's gear to set up 10GigE connections between its four campus locations and supporting data centers.

  • Virgin Media Business Ltd. has extended its deal with UK regional network provider LN Communications to deliver broadband access to markets covering 5 million people in the county of Yorkshire. The new deal will enable LN Communications to offer high-speed broadband access to homes and businesses, including those based at business parks, in Castle Howard, Darlington, Barlby, Darley, Kettleworth, Bradley, Northallerton, and Stokesley.

    — Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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    Gabriel Brown
    Gabriel Brown,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/10/2014 | 11:42:21 AM
    Re: Spanish fly
    Spanish export performance is, apparently, strong. Perhaps this is a precurser to a better domestic economy. 

    User Rank: Blogger
    4/10/2014 | 11:20:22 AM
    Re: Spanish fly
    Sorry, I was caught by the 'subject' of your message....

    Spanish economy seems to have reached its nadir, which means maybe valuations will be low and an upturn should be on its way.

    There has been consolidation in the consumer services space too and talk that broadband services player Jazztel might be next to be snapped up.

    WIth any hope this is some indicatoin that better times are ahead for Spain and for the employment prospects for people, esp young adults, there. The private equit folks clearly believe that these assets are going to grow in value and deliver some sort of return -- I just hope the sellers aren't getting robbed.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/10/2014 | 10:50:01 AM
    Spanish fly
    Interesting how much -- interest -- there is in Spain as a telecom market, considering the overall state of the economy and the long-term demographic picture. I wonder what's driving all this.
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/10/2014 | 9:55:19 AM
    Doesn't stop everyone calling it 'fiber broadband', but...
    Fiber is getting closer to a lot of homes in many Euriopean countries and, using the copper tail and techs such as vectoring and, possible next, G.fast, it's going to deliver speedy broadband for many people. That's got to be the better medium-term play for many capex-constrained telcos - the copper is already in the home and the new CPE actually gives the SP a chance to offer more value-added services (inc security, content etc)

    I believe that in 5 years, the telcos that have invested in vectored VDSL2 will be talking about investments well made (ASL LONG AS THEY DON'T SCREW UP THEIR MARKETING)
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