In the spirit of German Christmas markets, where supersized hot dogs are sold from souped-up garden sheds in snow-starved town squares across Europe, today's Eurobites is mainly about Deutsche Telekom. Oh, and there's a bit about UK broadband.
Germany, in the shape of its incumbent operator, Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), is the latest country to join the growing list of those claiming to have grown nervous about using Chinese equipment on the grounds of security. In a prepared statement that it has sent to Reuters and presumably a number of other news outlets, DT said: "Deutsche Telekom takes the global discussion about the security of network equipment from Chinese vendors very seriously," and that it was "reassessing" its procurement strategy. This week has seen the momentum against the use of Huawei equipment in particular reach fever pitch, with Orange (NYSE: FTE) ruling out the Chinese vendor from 5G work in France and UK universities being warned by government to exercise "extreme caution" when accepting money from Huawei for joint research work. (See Orange Rules Out Huawei for 5G in France, Where Huawei Fears to Tread and Eurobites: Do Look a Huawei Gift Horse in the Mouth, UK Universities Told.)
Deutsche Telekom is hoping to play its part in creating the "5G factory of the future" by joining the Center Connected Industry (CCI), a group of scientific institutions and companies committed to innovation in the industrial sphere. DT will build a "dual slice" campus network at the RWTH Aachen University site, providing indoor coverage to the factory buildings as well as outdoor coverage on the CCI site.
And an EU court has offered DT an early Christmas present by ruling that an antitrust fine handed down to the operator by the European Commission in 2014 had been calculated incorrectly, resulting in DT being forced to cough up about a third more than it should have been. As Reuters reports, DT was fined €19 million (US$21.4 million) for what was seen as the charging of unfair wholesale prices in Slovakia. However, DT is still considering appealing to the highest court in the EU, the European Court of Justice, for a final and more favorable ruling on the matter.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, telecom regulator Ofcom is finally waking up to the fact that what is holding back the adoption of faster broadband has as much to do with the way the market works as it has to do with technological issues. Ofcom's figures reveal that while 94% of UK homes and offices can access "superfast" broadband, less than half do so -- while many are paying more than they should for what is often not a particularly good service. In a bid to encourage people to find an appropriate and possibly better-value broadband service, Ofcom has launched a new website, BoostYourBroadband.com, which tells users what sort of broadband service they should expect from their address. It's a start, but it once again puts the onus on the consumer to push for fair treatment from broadband providers, when perhaps it should be the providers being pushed by regulators to treat its customers fairly in the first place.