Eurobites: Make temporary tax incentives permanent, begs BT's JansenEurobites: Make temporary tax incentives permanent, begs BT's Jansen
Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson gets with the Red Hat OpenShift program; EU increases access to its supercomputers; Gaza suffers total telecoms blackout.
November 17, 2023
BT's outgoing CEO, Philip Jansen, has used a corporate blog to lobby the UK government to make permanent what until now have been temporary tax incentives intended to encourage investment in infrastructure. The timing is significant: Next week the Chancellor makes his budget-setting Autumn Statement, and this change is apparently being considered for inclusion. In April 2021 the government introduced a tax "super deduction" (offering 130% first-year capital allowance for qualifying plant and machinery assets) for infrastructure investors which, says Jansen, allowed BT to increase its fiber rollout targets from 20 million to 25 million homes. That super deduction has now been replaced by a new policy of "full expensing" (100% first-year capital allowance on qualifying assets), which Jansen also welcomes while pointing out that it is only a short-term intervention that will expire in two and a half years' time. "The real game-changer would be to put these tax incentives on a permanent basis," says Jansen. "That would give businesses like BT Group genuine long-term certainty to plan and shift the investment environment in Britain from good to great." But at a time when the UK's state coffers are virtually running on empty and public services are stretched to the limit, closing off this particular tax channel might not be a vote-winner for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and friends.
Ericsson has announced that its Cloud RAN offering can now run on Red Hat OpenShift, which the Swedish vendor describes as the industry's leading hybrid cloud application platform powered by Kubernetes. This development will give communications service providers more flexibility in their choice of cloud platform, says Ericsson.
The European Commission says it is opening up greater access to EU supercomputers for startups and SMEs to speed up AI development, thanks to an agreement made between the Commission and the – deep breath – European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU). Commenting on the agreement, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: "The access to Europe's supercomputing infrastructure that we are announcing today [Thursday] will help startups lead the development and scale-up of artificial intelligence in a responsible manner, and in line with European values."
Vodafone has beefed up 4G and 5G connectivity at Edinburgh Airport with the installation of dedicated mobile phone coverage, working in partnership with in-building communications company Exchange Communications.
The Gaza Strip is in the grip of a total communications blackout, Al Jazeera reports, with local telcos Jawwal and Paltel revealing that they have ceased service due to a lack of fuel to operate main data centers and switches. As part of its response to the atrocities of October 7, Israel is not allowing any fuel to be brought into Gaza for fear it will end up in the hands of Hamas.
Reuters reports that Sweden's Spotify is looking to boost advertising revenue from its podcasts by launching its podcast-specific advertising marketplace, the Spotify Audience Network, in five new markets – including Sweden and India.
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