Eurobites: Our gigabit work is done, says Virgin Media O2

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TIM appoints advisors to consider KKR bid; Telefónica joins WBA; Nokia and CityFibre make a holographic call.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

December 7, 2021

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Our gigabit work is done, says Virgin Media O2

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TIM appoints advisors to consider KKR bid; Telefónica joins WBA; Nokia and CityFibre make a holographic call.

  • UK converged operator Virgin Media O2 says it has completed the "gigabit upgrade" of its fixed network, thereby delivering, it claims, nearly two-thirds of the UK government's broadband ambition four years ahead of schedule. The trumpet-tooting comes after the operator switched on gigabit speeds to another 1.1 million homes for the first time, meaning all 15.5 million homes passed by Virgin in the UK can now get the gig, should they want it. As independent analyst Paolo Pescatore points out, Virgin was helped in its endeavors by the fact that its approach involved the use of a DOCSIS 3.1 "overlay" of existing cable, meaning that no roads had to be dug up or new cable laid. "However," warns Pescatore, "Virgin Media clearly lags its rivals on fiber, which is an area that remains a key battleground for all providers; now and more importantly for the future [fiber] will be the foundation for the country's digital infrastructure." (See Eurobites: Virgin Media O2 adds 1.6M UK homes to gigabit reach and Virgin Media most moaned about service provider in UK – Ofcom.)

    • Telecom Italia (TIM) has appointed Goldman Sachs and LionTree to scrutinize the $12.2 billion takeover bid received from US private equity firm KKR. In a statement, TIM also said that the advisors will support the board of directors in analyzing other possible alternatives that could be of benefit to the group and its shareholders. (See Telecom Italia faces $12.2B privatization bid from KKR.)

    • Telefónica has become the latest big-name operator to join the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), which bangs the drum for developments in Wi-Fi technology, such as Wi-Fi 6 and 6E.

    • It's become the go-to "use case" for boffins wanting to demonstrate the wonders of 5G: the holographic call. And this time it's Nokia and CityFibre, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, making it happen. The call, which was made between two campus buildings, was part of a series of simulations showcasing what Nokia says is the UK's first 25G PON network to support 5G transport. (See Eurobites: Turkey gets 25G PON in time for Christmas and Vodafone's Holo Demo Dazzles Crowd, But Is It a Viable 5G Use Case?)

    • Ericsson has launched its Authentication Security Module, a piece of kit that is intended to safeguard and manage digital keys, encryption and decryption functions, including strong authentication and other cryptographic functions in 5G core networks. The module is 3GPP compliant in line with cybersecurity mandates of regulatory bodies around the world, says Ericsson.

    • Orange and Vodafone discussed a "merger of equals" between mid-2020 and early 2021 but abandoned the idea following opposition from the French state, according to a BFM TV report cited by Reuters. Such a merger would have created a telco titan with €85 billion ($96 billion) of revenues, said the BFM report.

    • Telefónica is buffing up its green credentials once more, announcing that it has achieved first place in the worldwide Digital Inclusion Benchmark, which analyzes how 150 of the world's most influential tech companies improve access to technology and its use, promote digital skills, and innovate in an "open and ethical way." The operator has also been recognized, for the eighth year in a row, as a leader in the fight against climate change in a list drawn up by CDP, a non-profit organization specializing in corporate environmental disclosure and rating.

    • UK broadband provider Truespeed has appointed James Lowther as its new CEO. Lowther's track record includes stints at Lebara, Gigaclear, Com Hem and Virgin Media. He succeeds Evan Wienburg.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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