Eurobites: BT Opens Next-Gen Broadband Lab

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone develops 5G in Dresden; Serbian operator dips a toe in Clearwater; YouView bags Cisco brains.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is opening a new "ultra-fast broadband lab" at its Adastral Park, UK, research facilities to delve further into the possibilities of next-generation fixed broadband technologies, from vectoring, to G.fast, to next-gen PON techs. The new facility was announced by Dr Tim Whitley, managing director of Research & Innovation at the UK incumbent operator, during the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum conference in London Thursday morning. Whitley and his team are exploring multiple options for broadband service delivery that uses BT's extensive network of street cabinets and local distribution points (overground and underground) to deliver services using existing copper lines with potential speeds of up to (and even beyond) 1 Gbit/s, when downstream and upstream speeds are combined. The operator is also working on multiple options for fiber-to-the-premises: It already has some GPON customers, some early NG-PON 1 users in the English county of Cornwall, and is exploring options for future NG-PON 2 deployments.

  • More lab news: Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has partnered with Dresden University of Technology in Germany to research and develop 5G technology. The university has opened its first 5G lab, offering facilities where researchers can test a range of 5G technologies including network hardware and software, computer chips, spectrum and cloud computing. Meanwhile, back at the coalface, Vodafone Egypt has chosen Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's Active Antenna Unit (AAU) solution to help build out the operator's mobile broadband network. The idea behind AAU is to integrate the antenna and the radio module, thereby reducing basestation site space by up to 75%, claims Huawei. (See 5G by 2020: Too Much, Too Soon? and 5G: So Where's the US?)

  • Vip, the Serbian mobile subsidiary of Telekom Austria Group , says it has successfully trialed NFV technology with Clearwater, Metaswitch's open source IMS offering. (See What's So Great About Open-Source IMS?)

  • Belgian cable operator Telenet has prompted speculation that it might be on the acquisition trail following its decision to rule out the payment of further dividends to shareholders this year, Reuters reports. Telenet is majority owned by US cable giant Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY).

  • YouView, the set-top box TV platform that is used by BT and TalkTalk for their services in the UK, has hired Nick Thexton, late of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), to lead YouView's technical development. As the Daily Telegraph reports, his focus will be on further exploiting the potential of Internet-based technologies to allow on-demand access to the YouView service from any smartphone or tablet.

  • French regulator Arcep is making the most of its newly confirmed powers by initiating 19 "procedures" against 11 unnamed fixed-line and mobile operators for "facts that could constitute failures to meet their professional obligations." Following the investigations, financial penalties may be imposed.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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