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Eurobites: UK housebuilder Barratt lays foundations for full-fiber future

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BICS replaces CEO; Ericsson follows REINDEER; Telefónica enters Cloud Garden 2.0 with IBM and Red Hat.

  • One of the UK's biggest housebuilders, Barratt, has signed an agreement with Openreach, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic intended to make full-fiber broadband available at all its new-build developments from now on. Barratt hopes to build around 15,000 new homes in the UK this year, and clearly believes that high-speed broadband – particularly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – is a major selling point. For Openreach, the partnership represents an extension of its existing scheme for housebuilders, which offers FTTP infrastructure free of charge for new housing development sites of 20 or more properties and a "rate card" for smaller sites, under the terms of which developers have to make a contribution towards the fiber infrastructure build.

  • The board of BICS, the international services arm of Belgium's Proximus, has had a falling-out with former CEO Daniel Kurgan over the long-term strategy of the company and the two parties have come to the "mutual conclusion to end their collaboration," in the polite words of a Proximus statement. Kurgan is being replaced with immediate effect by Matteo Gatta, currently director of network strategy, innovation and partnerships at Proximus. The board of BICS has also appointed Joseph Burton as the new CEO of TeleSign, the US subsidiary of BICS.

  • Ericsson has hitched its wagon to REINDEER, the EU-funded project looking to develop and build a new type of multi-antenna-based smart connectivity platform that, say the project's backers, will be integral to future 6G systems. But why "REINDEER"? I hear you ask. Are you sitting comfortably? The name is derived from "REsilient INteractive applications through hyper Diversity in Energy-Efficient RadioWeaves technology." Of course!

  • Telefónica has teamed up with IBM to announce Cloud Garden 2.0, described as the next phase of the Spanish giant's cloud services platform. Red Hat is also involved: Cloud Garden 2.0 is built on a combination of IBM's Cloud Pak and Red Hat's OpenShift. TIREA, a technology consortium relating to the insurance industry, has already developed an application based on the new platform to help accelerate the digital reinvention of the insurance sector.

  • Mobile operator Three UK is heading west, moving out of its Maidenhead HQ and into a new central office in Reading, a few miles along the M4 motorway. It's not built yet, but when it is, Mark Redmond, Three UK's "chief people officer," hopes that the new office arrangements will mean "people meeting in the office less frequently but with more purpose." So the message is: no more mucking around by the water-cooler, Three people.

  • A1 Telekom Austria has appointed Mario Mayerthaler CEO at Invenium, the analytics startup which it took over earlier this month. Mayerthaler takes on the CEO role in addition to his responsibilities as head of Innovation at A1, where he manages the operator's "intrapreneurship" program. Invenium, a spin-off of Graz University of Technology and the Graz Know-Center, offers analysis of movement flows for traffic, smart city, tourism, retail and other sectors.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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