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Eurobites: BT's Rivals Go Ultrafast in York

Paul Rainford
4/15/2014
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK's appetite for superfast broadband; broadband Bolognese; the Nokia tablet that never was.

  • In what could be seen as a move that throws down the gauntlet to BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), two broadband rivals have joined forces with a fiber infrastructure provider and a global technology firm to create a new company that will bring 1Gbit/s services to the northern UK city of York. Sky (NYSE, London: SKY), TalkTalk , CityFibre , and Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY) have come together to offer "pure" FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the city, using CityFibre's existing metro fiber infrastructure. BT has come in for criticism from the Public Accounts Committee and others over what has been perceived as a near-monopoly on the rollout of high-speed broadband in the UK to date, so this could mark the beginning of an interesting new chapter in the UK broadband wars.

    York: Still quaint as hell, but with faster broadband.
    York: Still quaint as hell, but with faster broadband.

  • Following on from the above, there's no doubting the UK's appetite for decent broadband speeds. The latest research from Ofcom has found that one in four UK residential fixed broadband connections is "superfast," or to be more specific, offers headline speeds of 30 Mbit/s or more. The average superfast connection has now reached 47 Mbit/s, an increase of 47% on the figure recorded in May 2010.

  • Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) has switched on 30Mbit/s broadband service in the sausage-mecca city of Bologna. The operator has invested €16 million (US$22 million) in the project. By July it is expected that 350,000 residents in and around Bologna will be covered by the service. For more details on the project, see this press release.

  • The CEO of South Africa's Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) has been told he will be in deep water with the national prosecutor or face a hefty fine if he fails to attend a corporate governance course within the next 90 days, reports Bloomberg. Sipho Maseko was ordered to attend such a course in February after a loan awarded to Telkom's CFO was deemed to have breached corporate governance rules.

  • Oh what might have been! Finnish tabloid Ilta Sanomat carries an intriguing piece on the fabled M501 tablet from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), that was apparently almost ready to go into production in 2001 but had the rug pulled from under it when the purse-string-controllers at the then handsets giant lost their nerve. Most of the devices were destroyed, but Esko Yliruusi, who worked on the device, shows us one in a short video interview. OK, it looks a little chunky by today's standards and doesn't have a touchscreen but -- assume best Marlon Brando voice -- it could have been a contender.

  • Fjord IT, a virtual data center operator that, as you might have guessed, is based in Norway, has teamed up with WatchDox, a provider of secure enterprise file-sync-and-share (EFSS) solutions, to deliver what the pair claims are eco-friendly data center services in Europe.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Sarah Thomas
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    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/17/2014 | 10:07:41 AM
    Shocking news!
    Hmm Looks like Nokia should've mainted its absence from tablets. It's apparently stopping sales of the Lumia 2520 for fear of electrical shock from its charger. You have to be quite the dedicated Nokia fan to risk a shock to use their tablet... http://www.cnet.com/news/nokia-stops-sales-of-lumia-2520-tablet-over-electric-shock-fears/
    PaulERainford
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    PaulERainford,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/16/2014 | 4:08:38 AM
    Re: Quick, someone invent broadband!
    That's classified information Mitch. I'll be in touch.
    Sarah Thomas
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    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/15/2014 | 6:31:29 PM
    Re: NOkia tablet
    Agreed, Mitch, especially not in that form. However, the market didn't really need or want tablets when Apple introduced the iPad, but it was cool enough everyone suddenly had to have it. That's even more important than timing.
    Mitch Wagner
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    Mitch Wagner,
    User Rank: Lightning
    4/15/2014 | 5:40:49 PM
    Re: NOkia tablet

    I'm not sure the Nokia tablet would have succeed. That's around the same time Microsoft came out with the Tablet PC, and it tanked. Either the market wasn't ready for a tablet, or tablets need touchscreens. 

    Mitch Wagner
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    Mitch Wagner,
    User Rank: Lightning
    4/15/2014 | 5:40:17 PM
    It worked out for Stringer Bell

    If I were a stockholder or employee of Telkom SA, I'd be concerned that my CEO is attending what seems to be a community college business class. 

    Mitch Wagner
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    Mitch Wagner,
    User Rank: Lightning
    4/15/2014 | 5:39:25 PM
    Re: Quick, someone invent broadband!
    When were you at York University, Paul? My wife and I have been there three times -- it's a fantastic town. 
    Sarah Thomas
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    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/15/2014 | 11:06:27 AM
    Re: NOkia tablet
    Btw, it's long absence from tablets just recently ended with the launch of the Lumia 2520. Anyone tried it yet? http://www.knowyourmobile.com/nokia/nokia-lumia-2520/21842/nokia-lumia-2520-review-has-nokia-rocked-tablet-space Looks similar to the Surface, but a far cry from its first attempt.
    PaulERainford
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    PaulERainford,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/15/2014 | 10:58:41 AM
    Re: Quick, someone invent broadband!
    'fraid so Sarah, Kindle hadn't been invented either. And we produced the college magazine using Letraset. Glory days...
    Sarah Thomas
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    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/15/2014 | 10:48:17 AM
    Re: Quick, someone invent broadband!
    Did you actually have to read books instead? Well not you, personally, obviously...
    Sarah Thomas
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    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/15/2014 | 10:47:52 AM
    NOkia tablet
    I did find it odd Nokia was staying out of the tablet game, but I guess we now know why. That tablet looks more like a gaming console, but I wouldn't want to use it for either purpose.
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