Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: US consortium lands Ireland's National Broadband Plan gig; Telefónica sells 11 data centers; UK broadband speeds creep up.
There's a theme emerging here… just months after acquiring the UK's SecureData for an undisclosed fee, Orange is shelling out €515 million (US$577 million) for SecureLink to further bolster its cybersecurity credentials. Based in the Netherlands, SecureLink is described by Orange as one of the largest independent cybersecurity service providers in Europe, with more than 660 employees spread across the Nordics, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. It recorded revenues of €248 million ($278 million) in 2018. (See Eurobites: Orange Beefs Up Its Cybersecurity Offer With SecureData Acquisition.)
The Irish government has decided to award preferred bidder status for its National Broadband Plan to a consortium led by US businessman David McCourt, who is part of investment firm Granahan McCourt. As the Irish Times reports, the Broadband Ireland consortium was the sole remaining bidder in the competition, with the other two, including incumbent operator Eir, having already pulled out. However, Eir still stands to make up to €1 billion ($1.1 billion) from the National Broadband Plan, as the project will use Eir's poles and ducts.
Telefónica is continuing to hack away at its debt mountain, agreeing the sale of 11 data centers to Asterion Industrial Partners for €550 million ($616 million). The Spanish giant maintains, however, that it will continue to offer its full range of services from a network of 23 data centers, including the 11 being sold. (See Telefónica slims down (a bit) with M&A move , Eurobites: Telefónica Considers Sale of Fixed-Line Stake to Reduce Debt Pile and Eurobites: Telefónica Trims Its Capex .)
UK broadband is getting faster, albeit quite slowly. New research from communications regulator Ofcom reveals that the average download speed in 2018 was 54.2 Mbit/s, up from 46.2 Mbit/s in 2017, while average upload stands at 7.2 Mbit/s, up from 6.2 Mbit/s. The fastest speeds recorded in the research were from Virgin Media's VIVID 350 cable package, with average peak-time speeds hitting 360.2 Mbit/s. BT's 300 Mbit/s full-fiber package was second fastest, with an average peak-time speed of 300.6 Mbit/s.
Wingo, the stripped-down, flat-fee mobile service targeting younger people that was introduced by Swisscom in April, is extending its coverage to the whole of the European Union, meaning that its customers will be able to roam "almost like at home," in the words of the Wingo press release. For 25 Swiss francs ($24.57) per month, all calls, SMS and MMS within Switzerland are included, plus 2GB of mobile data, which can now be used in Switzerland as well as in the EU/Western Europe. (Switzerland is not a member of the EU.) Each additional gigabyte costs CHF5 ($4.91).
Toob, a full-fiber broadband provider based on England's south coast, is to roll out its first city-wide network in Southampton by the end of 2021. For £25 ($32.53) a month, Toob will offer 900 Mbit/s average upload and download speeds to residential customers with unlimited usage and no line rental charges. For business customers, it will provide a package with 900 Mbit/s average upload and download speeds, installation, business support and Mesh WiFi technology for £50 ($65.04) per month, excluding VAT.
UKCloud, a multicloud specialist targeted primarily at the public sector, is adding CyberScore, a security testing and rating tool created by XQ Cyber, to its range of services. CyberScore gathers data about an organization and interprets it, to present a view of a security "posture," whether it be sitting up ramrod straight and alert or horribly slumped like a bored teenager.
UK Broadband on the Up Escalator
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading