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Eurobites: UK government funnels fiber to rural schools

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom goes roaming; Telesign/NAAC deal is off; MTN reshuffles top team.

  • The UK government has announced plans to invest £82 million (US$98 million) in rolling out full-fiber broadband to around 3,000 primary schools in rural parts of the country over the next three years. Some of the funding will come from the government's GigaHubs program, which forms part of the wider Project Gigabit, a £5 billion ($6 billion) initiative intended to bring high-speed broadband to hard-to-reach areas. The government also hopes that the scheme will somehow encourage the rollout of better broadband to homes and business surrounding the schools that qualify for the funding.

  • Deutsche Telekom says it has finalized contracts with 63 roaming partners in time for the German vacation season, when hordes of BMWs and Volkswagens head down the autobahn in search of summer sun.

  • Belgium's Proximus has terminated the proposed merger between its US subsidiary Telesign and NAAC, as "the customary conditions precedent (including the minimum cash condition) required to close the transaction were not met by June 30." The operator said that since the merger was first mooted, the market conditions for public listings had "significantly deteriorated." In a statement, Proximus maintained that it "remains fully committed to further supporting Telesign's future growth."

  • Pan-African operator MTN has announced three new senior appointments: MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Ng'ambi becomes CEO of MTN Cameroon, replacing Stephen Blewett, who is leaving the Group; MTN South Africa Chief Consumer Officer Mapula Bodibe takes the helm at MTN Rwanda; and Sylvia Mulinge becomes MTN Uganda CEO, joining from Safaricom. Mulinge replaces Wim Vanhelleputte, who will take on the new MTN Group role of operations executive, markets.

  • A gaggle of European consumer groups, collectively known as the BEUC, has launched another attack on Google, complaining that the search giant's accounts sign-up process is invasive and misleading, leading to unwanted hoovering-up of users' personal data. As Reuters reports, groups in France, Greece, the Czech Republic, Norway and Slovenia have taken their grievances to their respective national data protection bodies. Google, naturally, maintains that its sign-up options are "clearly labelled and designed to be simple to understand."

  • Orange is supplying connectivity to the Tour de France for the 23rd year running, sprinkling the necessary communications gear across 46 towns and cities through which the sinew-straining 3,963km route passes. This year, for the first time, a women's Tour de France will be held, immediately following the men's race.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has to date installed full-fiber broadband at 41 apartment blocks owned and managed by Yorkshire Housing, a social housing provider, and further work is planned. The two organizations have been working together since June 2021.

  • It seems visitors to the mega-music-fest that is Glastonbury spent as much time fiddling with their phones as they did queueing for overpriced veggie burgers. EE, which provides connectivity to the site, revealed that over the course the event 182 terabytes were used, beating the 2019 record by 76%.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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