Also in today's regional roundup: Italian carrier consolidation on hold; KPN's numbers slide further; Gigabit broadband in France and Ireland; and more!
Scientists at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and the University of Central Florida have recorded data transmission of a "record high" 255 Tbit/s using a new type of fiber that allows "21 times more bandwidth than currently available in communication networks." The fiber has seven separate cores for light transmission, compared with the regular one core, the equivalent of "going from a one-way road to a seven-lane highway." In addition, the researchers have introduced "two additional orthogonal dimensions for data transportation -- as if three cars can drive on top of each other in the same lane." With these features, the research team achieved a throughput of 255 Tbit/s over a single fiber strand, compared with the current 4-8 Tbit/s enabled by single-core fiber. The team also notes that the new class of fiber, "at less than 200 microns in diameter… does not take noticeably more space than conventional fibers already deployed." The development should be of interest to network and data center operators that are all looking for ways to maximize capacity with the least physical plant possible -- though cost, of course, is also a major consideration. For more details, see this announcement.
The prospect of a merger involving Italian mobile operators Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA , owned by VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP), and 3 Italia , looks increasingly unlikely, with the two parties unable to agree on terms, reports Bloomberg. Vimpelcom has stated that it will "continue to explore value adding transactions [for Wind], but there can be no guarantee that a transaction on terms acceptable to the Company will be identified." The news leaves the Italian telecom sector in something of a hiatus, as the future of national operator Telecom Italia (TIM) is anything but certain. (See Telecom Italia Looks Vulnerable.)
Speaking of Telecom Italia… The incumbent has agreed to new terms for the sale of its stake in Telecom Argentina (NYSE: TEO), a divestment first announced in November 2013. The Italian operator says it will still receive $960 million for its holding, but it might be more than two years before the authorities in Argentina give their final blessing to the sale. For more details, see this Reuters report. (See Euronews: Telecom Italia Bails Out of Argentina.)
Dutch national operator KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) has reported another dip in sales and profits, with its third-quarter revenues declining by 4.9% year-on-year to €1.98 billion ($2.5 billion), and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) dropping by 15% to €633 million ($804 million). But the results were slightly better than had been expected, so KPN's share price edged up by almost 4% in morning trading on the Amsterdam exchange, reports Bloomberg.
Bouygues Telecom has joined the Gigabit club, as it is now offering its fiber-to-the-home customers downstream speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s, and at no extra cost -- the monthly fee for its Bbox Sensation FTTH services remains at €25.99 ($33.04). For those customers not hooked up to fiber, the French operator is offering a VDSL2 service with speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s. For more details, see this press release (in French). The high-speed broadband market in France is highly competitive (in urban areas, at least), with SFR and Free (Iliad) offering Gigabit broadband, while national operator Orange has been upgrading some FTTH customers to 1 Gbit/s speeds prior to a broad marketing push. Numericable is also planning to offer a 1 Gbit/s service on its network.
It's not just the French that are being tempted with such offerings, though. Ireland national operator eir has also announced that it is upgrading its broadband network to offer 1 Gbit/s services in 66 "communities." In addition, the operator will begin a technical trial in early 2015 to determine the best way to deliver high-speed fiber broadband services to customers in rural areas. The operator has been focusing on its broadband capabilities during the past year, having upgraded its local street cabinets with vectoring technology to enable downstream bandwidth of up to 100 Mbit/s over copper lines. (See eircom Plans 1 Gbit/s FTTH, Eurobites: Eircom Joins Vectoring Club and Vectoring: Some Va-Va-Voom for VDSL.)
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), along with Crystal System Consulting, test system specialist Satimo and chip firm Sequans Communications , are to show off the potential of LTE to provide secure, private-network services by setting up a live demonstration of secure, "real-time, geolocalized, high-definition multimedia communication from the field to a command post" at the Route du Rhum ocean race, which sets off on November 2, 2014. More than 400,000 spectators are expected to watch the racers set sail. The aim is to show that 4G networking is the way forward for the defense and security sectors. For more details, see this press release.
Pan-European operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has forged a M2M services partnership with cloud services specialist Cubic Telecom, with the partners aiming to target the automotive and PC manufacturing sectors. (See Tele2, Cubic Telecom Team Up for M2M .)
In more SPIT deployment news, Etisalat Misr (Egypt) is to use JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU)'s ariesoGEO tool "to enhance service quality and optimization for postpaid customers." The software, developed by Arieso, which was acquired by JDSU in 2013, will "enable Etisalat to focus performance engineering investment and resources on strategic locations for its high value customers." (See Etisalat Egypt Deploys ariesoGEO and JDSU Buys Mobile OSS Vendor for $85M.)
Network security specialist Clavister AB has teamed up with Swedish IT solutions provider Bluecom to build what they call "the largest outdoor secure WiFi network" for the 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden, where 200,000 spectators are expected to converge between February 18 and March 1.