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Eurobites: Slow Going for Liberty Global Europe in Q2

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vivendi denies having control of Telecom Italia; UK government sounds warning on cyber-sloppiness; KCOM fined for emergency call failings.

  • Liberty Global Group, the European division of the US-based cable giant, made a net loss of $637 million in the second quarter, on revenue that, on a comparable basis, inched up 1.6% on the year-earlier period to $3.66 billion. Liberty claimed strong performances in Germany, Belgium and CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) and said it expected the "ARPU headwind" in the UK to lessen in the fourth quarter. It added 302,000 subscribers to its next generation TV platforms in Europe during the second quarter, taking the total to 7.2 million, reports Digital TV Europe. In its earnings statement, Liberty was keen to point out that it now had a new leadership team in place for its Project Lightning fiber rollout, the old leadership team having taken flak for overly optimistic progress reports on the project. (See Liberty Global Reports H1 and Virgin Media's Cable Expansion Lags Targets – Report.)

  • Vivendi has issued a statement denying that it has de facto control of Telecom Italia (TIM) , despite now holding a 24% stake in the Italian incumbent. In its statement, Vivendi claimed that its stake in Telecom Italia "not sufficient enough to allow it to exercise, on a stable basis, a dominant influence at Telecom Italia shareholders’ meetings." As Reuters explains, acknowledging de facto control over Telecom Italia would force the French conglomerate to consolidate its accounts. Vivendi's growing influence over Telecom Italia is thought to have led to the departure of former CEO Flavio Cattaneo, who no doubt found some consolation in a €25 million (US$29.5 million) pay-off. (See Cattaneo Quits as Telecom Italia CEO, Gets €25M

  • The UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has said that companies could face fines of up to £17 million ($22 million) or 4% of global turnover if they don't do enough protect themselves properly from cyber attacks, the BBC reports. The DCMS is launching a consultation on the proposals, which are intended to help implement the Network and Information Systems (NIS) directive, which comes into law across the European Union next May.

  • Facing an actual, here-and-now fine of £900,000 ($1.1 million) is UK network operator KCOM Group plc , which has fallen foul of telecom regulator Ofcom for breaking a rule designed to ensure everyone can contact the emergency services at all times. KCOM, which operates the main telephone and broadband network in the northern English city of Kingston upon Hull, failed to have resilient back-up arrangements in place when its emergency call service failed for a four-hour period in December 2015.

  • T-Systems International GmbH , the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), has launched what it's calling, inevitably, disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). The service forms part of the operator's vCloud suite and is powered by business continuity software from Veritas.

  • A new broadband speed league table drawn up by price comparison website cable.co.uk has placed the UK in 31st place, with an average downlink speed of 16.51 Mbit/s -- below Scandinavia, Germany and Spain but ahead of France and Italy. According to the website, the average speeds are based on data collected by M-Lab, a partnership made up of New America's Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research and Princeton University's PlanetLab. The full table can be viewed here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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