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Eurobites: TalkTalk urges more action on FTTP take-up

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: MTN Nigeria launches 5G services with Ericsson; France's FANG challenge proves toothless; Orange opens 5G test lab in Côte d'Ivoire.

  • You can lead a horse to water… UK broadband provider TalkTalk has called on government, the communications regulator and industry to do more to encourage the take-up of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) services, rather than focusing almost exclusively on rollout. Citing findings from a new report carried out on TalkTalk's behalf by Frontier Economics, as well as the experience of other countries, the operator says in a statement: "Without a full fibre first approach from Government, Ofcom and industry, the country faces falling behind the rest of the world and individuals face losing out on the many benefits it brings." What this "full fibre first" approach might entail isn't entirely clear, though it does involve the government setting up a take-up target alongside its rollout target to "create a shared ambition and momentum" as well as a "Gigabit UK" government task force to coordinate "consumer migration and monitor progress on adoption." As for the regulator, Ofcom, it is charged with resetting its regulatory approach to "put the consumer at the heart of FTTP policy," while industry in general needs to come up with "clearer and consistent marketing of FTTP to build consumer awareness." Openreach, the semi-autonomous network access arm of broadband market leader BT, should, says the report, "commit to higher level of service for FTTP fault repair than FTTC or ADSL fault repair."

  • After announcing a pilot in August, MTN Nigeria is forging ahead with the launch of full commercial 5G services in certain areas of Lagos, with Ericsson technology, including its 5G Radio Access Network and NSA Packet Core, a significant element of the rollout.

  • Shares in France's two biggest private broadcasters took a tumble on Monday following the collapse, on Friday, of a deal to create a national media champion strong enough to take on global streaming platforms such as Netflix. As Reuters reports, shares in potential merger partners M6 Group and TF1 had fallen by 3% and 3.3% respectively by mid-afternoon local time.

  • Orange has opened a 5G test lab in the west African nation of Côte d'Ivoire, allowing businesses to dip their toe into the 5G waters before the rollout of the technology across the country, which is scheduled for 2023. The lab, located in Abidjan, is Orange's 16th such lab overall, and its third in Africa.

  • UK mobile operator Three has teamed up with Freshwave on the operator's first deployments of the Neutral Host In-Building mobile specification, which is intended to improve 4G coverage within buildings. The Joint Operator Technical Specifications (JOTS) Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB) specification is an agreed technical standard for connecting shared in-building radio solutions based on 4G small cell technologies to which all of the UK's mobile network operators have signed up. The idea is that by adhering to the JOTS NHIB specification, a third party, or "neutral host," can provide mobile services to businesses on behalf of one or more of the operators. The neutral host can enable this connectivity using their own choice of vendors and equipment.

  • UK altnet CityFibre says it has passed the 2 million homes mark in its fiber rollout, which means it is a quarter of the way along its journey to its ultimate target of 8 million homes. Of the 2 million homes passed to date, CityFibre says approximately 1.8 million are deemed officially "Ready For Service" (RFS), enabling residents to place an order and receive services within as little as five working days.

  • Nordic operator Telia claims that its digital inclusion initiatives have reached 800,000 individuals across the various countries in which it has a presence. In Finland, for example, Telia's "digital parenting package," created in collaboration with Save the Children Finland, has been used by more than 11,000 parents since its inception.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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