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Eurobites: UK complaints down, but it's still bad news for TalkTalk and Virgin

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson's intelligent automation; ADVA researches SDM in optical networks; BT's asbestos problem.

  • The easing of coronavirus-related restrictions in the UK led to the emergence of people, blinking like baby moles at the sun, from an always-online Zoom-call lifestyle to a more normal, pre-COVID-19 way of doing things. And this, it seems, helped reduce the number of complaints to UK communications providers. That's one of the conclusions reached by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, as it publishes its latest quarterly complaints league table. That's not to say there weren't plenty of complaints: TalkTalk, a repeat offender in these league tables, generated the most complaints for broadband and landline, primarily due to faults and "service issues"; Virgin Media, though receiving fewer brickbats than before, was still the most complained-about pay-TV provider; and Virgin Mobile came bottom of the pile in mobile services. The report covered the April-June period of this year.

    Home broadband complaints per 100,000 customers
    (Source: Ofcom)
    (Source: Ofcom)

  • Ericsson is launching something it's calling its Intelligent Automation Platform, a service management and "orchestration" product that, says the Swedish vendor, enables any mobile network to be intelligently automated (as opposed to stupidly automated). The platform works across 4G and 5G radio access networks, and supports open RAN technology.

  • In a separate announcement, Ericsson says it is teaming up with Ooredoo Qatar to bring 5G connectivity to soccer stadiums and a number of other key locations in the Middle Eastern country in time for its frankly bizarre hosting of the World Cup from November-December 2022. The network will initially be put through its paces at a regional soccer tournament held in Qatar later this year.

  • Germany's ADVA has revealed it's taking part in three research projects focused on increasing the capacity of optical networks by using space division multiplexing (SDM) technology. Partly funded by the German government, the initiatives aim to boost optical transport systems by utilizing several parallel transmission paths.

  • BT has had to close its technical engineering center at Aintree, near Liverpool, UK, as a result of finding asbestos there. The operator has notified the Health and Safety Executive and is in the process of contacting employees who have connections to the site.

  • Telefónica has issued a hybrid bond worth €750 million (US$852 million), the proceeds of which it intends to use to finance or refinance projects deemed to make a positive environmental and social impact in Spain, Germany or Brazil and which will contribute to the company's sustainable development goals.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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