Ethernet services

Eurobites: BT Rapped Over Leased Lines

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK government looks at landline rental charges; Vodafone and SFR extend roaming agreement in France; Croatia gets a Smart Street.

  • UK regulator Ofcom is on BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s case for installing high-speed business lines too slowly and charging too much for its leased lines generally. Ofcom is also requiring BT to provide access to its dark fiber network for other providers of high-speed leased lines. Since 2011, the average time between a customer's order and the line being ready to use has increased from 40 to 48 working days: Ofcom's proposals would require BT to reduce this to 46 working days by the end of March 2017, and return it to 40 working days the following year. For BT's Ethernet services offering speeds of up to 1Gbit/s, Ofcom is recommending an initial 12% reduction in price, while "traditional" services of up 8 Mbit/s will be reduced by 9%. The announcements form part of Ofcom's Business Connectivity Market Review.

  • BT is also one of the companies being summoned to a roundtable meeting by the UK government's Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, to discuss the possible removal of the landline rental charge, reports the Daily Telegraph. One in five UK homeowners does not make fixed line calls but any household that has fixed line broadband still has to pay the line rental charge, which is usually around ₤15 a month (US$21). The other service providers being invited to the meeting are TalkTalk , Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) and Sky . Vaizey describes the current arrangements as an "analogue billing system in a digital world," so those providers can expect to have to make some changes.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and SFR have renewed their roaming agreement in France for a further four years. With this deal in place, SFR's 4G services are expected to reach more than 90% of the French population by 2017. The partnership has also been extended to cover the Dominican Republic, where Vodafone's customers will be able to use the network of Altice , which owns SFR.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is trumpeting the opening of the first "Smart Street" in Croatia, in the city of Dubrovnik. DT's local unit, T-Hrvatski Telekom , has teamed up with the city authorities and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) on a pilot project that focuses on typical smart city concerns such as lighting, parking and WiFi availability.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) 's board of directors have officially accepted Marco Patuano's resignation as CEO of the company. Patuano, who fell out with several board directors appointed by Vivendi , will walk away with €6 million gross, so it's not all bad. (See Patuano to Quit as Telecom Italia CEO.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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