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Also in today's EMEA roundup: Nokia challenges Indian tax probe; Euro operators want level playing field on data protection; Vertu goes Android

Euronews: BT Expands FTTX Rollout

Paul Rainford
2/12/2013
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BT Group plc, Nokia Corp., Vertu and Telekomunikacja Polska SA help toss the perfect pancake that is Shrove Tuesday's EMEA roundup.

  • BT's access network division Openreach is adding 99 new local exchanges to its commercial "fiber-to-the-something" [our name] rollout in the U.K., taking the total number of exchanges being upgraded with new access gear to 1,700 (of a total of about 5,500 exchanges). Additional exchanges may be added under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme that involves a level of state funding. BT notes that some premises within reach of these 99 new exchanges, which are in the Midlands, the North East and North West of England and Scotland, might not be able to get the FTTX services "due to the current network topography and the economics of deployment." Those premises may have to settle for ADSL2+ copper connections or wireless broadband using the so-called White Space spectrum (which should be able to deliver up to 10Mbit/s downstream connections). It's worth restating, though, that while BT continues to refer in its statements to "fiber broadband" and how it is "reaching premises" with fiber, much of its "super-fast broadband" rollout consists of fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC), with VDSL2-enabled copper connections delivering the services to homes and businesses.
  • Nokia is feeling hard done by in India's Chennai region, where the tax authorities are giving the company's books a thorough going-over, reports Reuters. In a statement, the Finnish giant said: "Nokia believes the actions of the Income Tax authorities in Chennai are excessive, unacceptable and inconsistent with Indian standards of fair play and governance."
  • Luigi Gambardella, chairman of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO), has met with European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding to discuss the EU data protection rules first mooted last January. The pair are keen to ensure that non-EU companies will have to jump through the same data protection hoops as those from EU member states, thereby helping create a level playing field for operators and other service providers.
  • Vertu, the U.K.-based luxury handset maker that was formerly part of the Nokia stable, has launched its first Android device, reports the BBC. Sporting a titanium frame and sapphire screen, the Vertu Ti costs a cool €7,900 (US$10,586). Actually, scrub "cool" and make that "obscene." (See Euronews: Nokia to Offload 'Bling' Brand.)
  • And, by lucky happenstance, €7,900 is almost exactly what around 150 top executives at Virgin Media Inc. stand to save in tax if they take up the company's helpful suggestion to delay their bonuses until after April 6, reports the Daily Telegraph. Vertus all round, guys and gals!
  • TPSA, the Polish operator that is part of France Télécom – Orange's empire, has reported full-year revenues down 4.1 percent at 14.14 billion Polish zloty ($4.55 billion). The future doesn't look too bright for this Orange outpost either: Commenting on the results, Group CFO Jacques de Galzain said: "Based on the information currently available, we anticipate a steep decline of our revenue in 2013, driven down by the MTR cuts, as well as by the impacts stemming from the ongoing price war in the mobile market."
  • Millicom International Cellular SA, the Swedish operator that is active in Latin American and Africa, saw full-year revenues grow 8 percent to $4.81 billion in 2012, though net profits were down to $655 million from $767 million a year earlier.
  • Brussels-based VoIP firm Voxbone ended 2012 with 20 percent revenue growth, and is hoping to keep up the good work with a transfer of day-to-day operations management to Itay Rosenfeld, who takes over this role from co-founder and CEO Rod Ullens. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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