Euronews: UK Fiber Funding in Disarray

British broadband and Alcatel-Lucent top the bill in today's jog through the EMEA headlines.

  • The U.K. government's high-speed broadband strategy appears to be all at sea following the abandonment of plans to support new fiber network rollouts in 22 British cities with state funds, reports the Daily Telegraph. Instead, the government is now touting a voucher scheme -- worth up to £90 million (US$137 million) -- that will give financial assistance to small and medium-sized companies wanting to connect to existing broadband networks. (See Euronews: UK's Broadband Plan Gets EU Nod and Great Britain? I Don't Think So.)

  • Italy's Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA has contracted Alcatel-Lucent to upgrade its fixed and mobile networks with optical and IP equipment -- including the 1830 Photonic Service Switch, 1850 Transport Service Switch and 7750 Service Router -- in a program that will encompass long-haul transport, mobile backhaul, metro area traffic aggregation and IP service access support.

  • Meanwhile, back at AlcaLu HQ, Bloomberg reports that the equipment vendor has begun reorganizing its finances through the sale of $719 million worth of convertible bonds. The vendor's recently-unveiled 'Shift Plan' includes proposals that should reduce the company's debt burden. (See Alcatel-Lucent Builds Future Around IP.)

  • The European Commission is surprising no-one with its latest study, which finds that real-world broadband speeds across Europe are not as fast as advertised. On average, consumers in EU member states receive 74 percent of the headline downlink speeds they pay for, although cable comes out well from the report, delivering advertised speeds to 91.4 percent of folk at the end of the wire. The average downlink speed across all countries and all technologies covered was 19.47 Mbit/s during peak hours.

  • Swedish transport equipment vendor Transmode Systems AB has reorganized its sales operation around four regions to better suit its global expansion plans and "strengthen customer relations." The company, which reported improved revenues and profits for the first quarter of this year, is now seeking a vice president for Asia/Pacific. (See Transmode Reports Q1 Profit of SEK31.9M.)

  • Turkish mobile operator Avea is to deploy a real-time charging system from Germany Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist Orga Systems.

  • Maybe there's something in this Windows Phone lark after all? Miele, the purveyor of horribly expensive but top-notch washing machines and the like, is to equip all its staff with Nokia Corp. Lumia handsets, citing the fact that its operatives will be able to easily access Microsoft Office documents from their mobiles as one of the main reasons for the decision.

  • The latest survey of moaning minnies by U.K. regulator Ofcom reveals that, amongst other things, BT Group plc's much-vaunted pay-TV service, BT Vision, is still attracting a comparatively large number of complaints from its customers -- seven times more than the industry average, to be precise. If it really wants to challenge BSkyB in the premium content market, a few heads might have to be knocked together at BT Towers. (See BT's Got Balls.)

  • Orange has teamed up with Viadeo, the LinkedIn-like social network that's a hit in France, offering its customers a free two-month trial of the "premium" version of the service.

  • "I'm on the plane!" U.K. airline British Airways has announced that as from July 1 it will allow passengers to use mobile devices while their plane is airborne, reports the BBC. With this move, BA follows the lead of most other major airlines.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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