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Eurobites: BT's Rivals Go Ultrafast in York

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK's appetite for superfast broadband; broadband Bolognese; the Nokia tablet that never was.

  • In what could be seen as a move that throws down the gauntlet to BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), two broadband rivals have joined forces with a fiber infrastructure provider and a global technology firm to create a new company that will bring 1Gbit/s services to the northern UK city of York. Sky , TalkTalk , CityFibre , and Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY) have come together to offer "pure" FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the city, using CityFibre's existing metro fiber infrastructure. BT has come in for criticism from the Public Accounts Committee and others over what has been perceived as a near-monopoly on the rollout of high-speed broadband in the UK to date, so this could mark the beginning of an interesting new chapter in the UK broadband wars.

    York: Still quaint as hell, but with faster broadband.
    York: Still quaint as hell, but with faster broadband.

  • Following on from the above, there's no doubting the UK's appetite for decent broadband speeds. The latest research from Ofcom has found that one in four UK residential fixed broadband connections is "superfast," or to be more specific, offers headline speeds of 30 Mbit/s or more. The average superfast connection has now reached 47 Mbit/s, an increase of 47% on the figure recorded in May 2010.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has switched on 30Mbit/s broadband service in the sausage-mecca city of Bologna. The operator has invested €16 million (US$22 million) in the project. By July it is expected that 350,000 residents in and around Bologna will be covered by the service. For more details on the project, see this press release.

  • The CEO of South Africa's Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) has been told he will be in deep water with the national prosecutor or face a hefty fine if he fails to attend a corporate governance course within the next 90 days, reports Bloomberg. Sipho Maseko was ordered to attend such a course in February after a loan awarded to Telkom's CFO was deemed to have breached corporate governance rules.

  • Oh what might have been! Finnish tabloid Ilta Sanomat carries an intriguing piece on the fabled M501 tablet from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), that was apparently almost ready to go into production in 2001 but had the rug pulled from under it when the purse-string-controllers at the then handsets giant lost their nerve. Most of the devices were destroyed, but Esko Yliruusi, who worked on the device, shows us one in a short video interview. OK, it looks a little chunky by today's standards and doesn't have a touchscreen but -- assume best Marlon Brando voice -- it could have been a contender.

  • Fjord IT, a virtual data center operator that, as you might have guessed, is based in Norway, has teamed up with WatchDox, a provider of secure enterprise file-sync-and-share (EFSS) solutions, to deliver what the pair claims are eco-friendly data center services in Europe.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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