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Eurobites: Hyperoptic highlights broadband big beasts' 'bonus windfall'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EE upgrades 5G; Gulf states clamp down on Netflix; Nokia sharpens its industrial edge.

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic has taken the gloves off in its fight to persuade customers of the country's major broadband suppliers that they're being ripped off, not least by mid-contract price increases. In new research Hyperoptic highlights the fact that the big beasts of UK broadband – BT, TalkTalk and Vodafone among them – are in line to receive a "bonus windfall" in excess of £1.4 billion (US$1.6 billion) when they raise prices in the spring of 2023. This is because many of the major broadband players use a formula to increase the cost of bills annually by the rate of inflation (as measured by the consumer prices index) in January, plus an additional 3.9%. With the rate of inflation currently going through the roof, this could mean broadband contracts increasing by as much as 25% overnight in the spring, claims Hyperoptic. In a statement, Hyperoptic's director of policy, James Fredrickson, said: "Inflation-busting mid-contract price rises are simply not fair. Most people don't know it's going to happen or have no idea how much more they're going to have to pay. We've called on Ofcom [the UK's communications regulator] and others to introduce tighter rules that will force operators to be transparent about when they're going to raise prices, and customers should have the right to switch provider, without charge, if they're hit by such an increase."

  • EE, the BT-owned mobile operator, has upgraded 5G in 14 towns and cities, rolling out 2100MHz spectrum on sites that were previously used to provide 3G signals. The upgrade, says the operator, provides an improved "5G smartphone experience" with better indoor coverage and more capacity in busy areas. EE has also added 5G to 14 more towns and cities, ranging from East Kilbride in the north of the UK to Southampton in the far south.

  • The Gulf states have told Netflix that it needs to pull content deemed to be at odds with their "Islamic and societal values," according to a Reuters report. Animation clips that appeared to show two girls embracing were apparently cited as the sort of thing that jarred with the Riyadh-based General Commission for Audiovisual Media's less-than-inclusive world view.

  • Nokia has added a few more bells and whistles to its on-premises Mission Critical Industrial Edge (for some reason abbreviated to "MXIE") compute platform. The enhancements will, among other things, enable Nokia MXIE to host applications from different ecosystems, including legacy non-cloud native workloads.

  • Sky, the UK-based purveyor of pay-TV and more, is to give 70% of its staff in the UK and Ireland an additional £1,000 ($1,144) this winter to help with cost of living crisis. What a marvelous idea. The payments will be made in two instalments, the first in October and the second in January. UK utility bills are set to soar this winter as the war in Ukraine and other factors push up wholesale energy prices.

  • BICS, the international services arm of Belgium's Proximus, has done a deal with Lynk Global, a company specializing in satellite-direct-to-phone connectivity, that the pair claim will enable mobile network operators to expand mobile coverage to people in more remote corners of the globe, including rural areas of Africa. Pairing Lynk's patented satellite technology and BICS' network, mobile operators will see coverage extended to areas that lack terrestrial cell towers.

  • A1 Telekom Austria has teamed up with Acronis to extend its A1 Cyber Backup service to Slovenia, Serbia and North Macedonia. The service provides protection against loss of data caused by human error (such as unintentional deletion of files), natural disasters, suboptimal data storage or malware.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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