Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: former Belgacom CEO dies; Telefónica procures in partnership with China Unicom; UK government bashed again on broadband speeds.
In a move that it hopes will lend credence to the so-called Privacy Shield framework covering personal data that is transferred to it from Europe, the US has agreed to set up a new role within the State Department specifically to deal with complaints and enquiries forwarded by EU data protection agencies, reports Reuters. The Director of National Intelligence has also said that data collected "in bulk" can only be used for six specific purposes, one of which is cybersecurity. The Privacy Shield, which replaces the discredited Safe Harbor arrangements, is intended to place stronger obligations on US companies handing Europeans' personal data, limit US government access to such data and provide EU citizens affected by such issues with greater chance of redress. (See Eurobites: 'Safe Harbor' Heads for Calmer Waters.)
Proximus , the Belgian market leader, has announced the death of its former CEO, Didier Bellens. Bellens was head of what was then called Belgacom from 2003 until 2013.
Telefónica has extended its collaboration program with China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU), jointly procuring a new smartphone, the C630, from Shanghai-based vendor Phicomm. The phone will be launched in key Telefónica markets in Latin America later this year.
Actility , the France-based specialist in low-power wide area (LPWA) networks, has joined the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s Partner Ecosystem program to offer LPWA technology to service providers hoping to make hay from the Internet of Things. (See Cisco Teams With Actility on LoRa-based IoT.)
The Institute of Directors, a UK corporate lobbying organization, has lambasted the British government for a "poverty of ambition" when it comes to the provision of decent broadband speeds. In its new report, Ultrafast Britain, the IoD calls for all households and business to have access to speeds of 10 Gbit/s by 2030, which, it says, is a thousand times faster than the current government aim of 10 Mbit/s by 2020.
Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has launched what it calls its "Supercharging Local Communities' initiative," a call for communities across 18 UK counties covered by Virgin to sign up and register their interest in benefiting from Virgin's £3 billion (US$4.1 billion) FTTH network expansion plan. The cable operator is using "narrow-trenching" to expand its network, which reduces the width of the dug trench from 40cm to 10cm, thereby helping speed up the rollout process.
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) has hooked up with UK supermarket chain Morrisons to deliver Morrisons' fresh food to its customers, reports the BBC. Morrisons, one of the "big four" UK supermarkets, arrived late to the online delivery party, and this collaboration is thought to represent a comparatively low-cost way for it to play catch-up with its rivals. (See Telcos Invest in IoT Tech Startup.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading