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Eurobites: Telecom Italia Deal Prepares Ground for Faster Fiber Rollout

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone teams up with IBM for cloud flexibility; Sky launches contract-free streaming in Spain; whither public WiFi?

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has struck a deal with Utilitalia, the federation of Italian utilities companies, which it hopes will speed up the rollout of fiber networks by smoothing the process by which existing infrastructure is used for ultra-fast broadband. In the words of the Telecom Italia statement, the agreement "defines a single procedure that is immediately operative and applicable on a national level to regulate operations for the access and joint use of the infrastructures of the companies adhering to the federation." Telecom Italia says its fiber network currently covers 71% of Italy, geographically speaking, reaching 17 million homes.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has teamed up with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to launch a new service that the two companies say makes it easier for enterprises to move VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) workloads between an on-premises Vodafone Hosted Private Cloud and IBM Cloud. VMware's NSX network virtualization tool has been deployed across Vodafone's global network.

  • Sky (NYSE, London: SKY), the UK-based pay-TV giant, has chosen Skyline Communications NV 's DataMiner offering to manage its playout devices. And, separately, Sky has launched a contract-free streaming service in Spain, similar to its Now TV offering in the UK and Ireland. For €10 (US$12) a month, subscribers can access a selection of Spanish pay-TV channels, series and on-demand movies.

  • It's a big day for public WiFi in Europe as today members of the European Parliament vote on the future of WIFI4EU, a scheme to promote free WiFi connectivity in public spaces across the European Union. The scheme's aim is to provide more than 6,000 communities across the EU with free high-speed WiFi in locations such as libraries, hospitals, parks, train stations and bus terminals. If the MEPs approve the plans, interested parties would be able to submit their applications to get funding for their pet projects at the beginning of next year.

  • But, of course, we all know that public WiFi has its issues. As the BBC reports, the England soccer team is being advised not to use public or hotel WiFi at next summer's World Cup tournament in Russia -- a nation state that undeniably has form on the hacking front. English soccer's governing body, the FA, has written to Fifa, the global governing body, about its concerns over cybersecurity issues surrounding the tournament.

  • Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has changed its outlook on Russian operator Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT), downgrading it to "BB+". The change was the result of the downgrade in the credit rating of Sistema PJSFC, the operator's major shareholder.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) says it has done so well on reducing its carbon emissions that it is setting itself a new long-term target. The UK incumbent has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 87% by 2030, after already hitting its 2020 target (of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions) four years early. The adoption of low-carbon vehicles in its commercial fleet and reducing the "carbon intensity" of its buildings are two strategies cited by the operator to help it achieve its new goal.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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