Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Eutelsat strikes deal with Intelsat; GSMA sounds the regulatory klaxon once again; smile if you're in Scandinavia.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

March 20, 2024

3 Min Read
Orange logo on a building
(Source: Eric D ricochet69/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Orange Business has teamed up with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and LightOn, a French startup specializing in large language models (LLMs), to launch two new generative AI (GenAI) products for the French business market. One is described as a "fully integrated SaaS solution" that businesses of any size can use for document management, reporting and content generation, among other things, while the other, "GPU as a Service," is geared towards the training of complex models and is targeted at customers who "require complete control over a trusted infrastructure that can host all types of GenAI projects." In a recent interview with Light Reading, Orange's chief AI officer, Steve Jarrett, revealed that his company doesn't currently see the need to build its own LLM, preferring to use ones already available.

  • Eutelsat has struck a $500 million deal with Intelsat which will enable Intelsat to combine OneWeb's low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network with its own geostationary (GEO) constellation and terrestrial networks to offer services to the government and mobility sectors, among others. Eutelsat acquired OneWeb in September 2023.

  • The GSMA is once again banging the drum for a new EU-wide regulatory framework that it says is key to the survival of European telcos in the face of increasingly fierce global competition. In its latest report, New Rules for a New Era, the trade organization claims that the telecom sector is facing "unprecedented and systemic challenges in rolling out the infrastructure" required for the EU to meet its connectivity targets. The report also recommends that a "clear roadmap" be set for increased spectrum across low, mid and high bands, with greater transparency when it comes to spectrum costs.

  • France's competition watchdog has fined Google €250 million ($271.73 million) for what it says are breaches of EU intellectual property rules, Reuters reports. Specifically, the watchdog said that Bard, Google's stab at an AI-powered chatbot that has been rechristened Gemini, had been "trained" on content from publishers and news agencies without the content providers' permission.

  • Ljósleiðarinn, a fiber network company based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is deploying Nokia's Lightspan FX fiber access nodes and Altiplano access controller as part of an SDN-oriented network upgrade. The hope is that the upgrade will offer Ljósleiðarinn greater flexibility in its existing multi-gigabit offerings.

  • Vodafone UK is promising 5G standalone (5G SA) coverage across 90% Scotland – but only, it seems, if the powers-that-be approve its proposed merger with Three. Vodafone's own research has found that 91% of Scotland's rural areas are total 5G "not-spots" compared to just 20% in its urban areas. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority launched its Phase 1 investigation into the proposed deal in January.

  • Virgin Media O2 has reached another 13,000 homes and businesses in the fair northern English tourist trap of York with 2Gbit/s broadband. The upgrade follows an investment by Nexfibre, a VMO2 affiliate backed by Liberty Global, Telefónica and private equity firm Infravia. Nexfibre is investing £4.5 billion ($5.7 billion) in the UK to build a new full-fiber wholesale network to 5 million homes by 2026.

  • Good news for employees of Nokia, Ericsson and others: Scandinavia is where it's at, contentment-wise. That's one of the findings of the UN's World Happiness Report, published today to coincide with what is apparently the UN's International Day of Happiness. Despite the extremities-challenging climate, Finland tops the good-to-be-alive chart, Denmark is second, Sweden fourth and Norway seventh. But, erm, with all that's going on in the world right now, are we happy with the timing of this report, guys…?

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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