Eurobites: Sky and Amazon play nice

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Giffgaff goes with AWS; Telefónica teams up for robotic cybersecurity; BT fined for procurement sneakiness.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

December 14, 2020

4 Min Read
Eurobites: Sky and Amazon play nice

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Giffgaff goes with AWS; Telefónica teams up for robotic cybersecurity; BT fined for procurement sneakiness.

  • After years of fierce rivalry, Sky – the European purveyor of pay-TV and more – and e-commerce behemoth Amazon have decided to start cooperating with each other. A newly announced multi-year partnership means that Sky's Now TV platform will be available on Amazon's Fire TV devices and, in return, Amazon Prime Video will launch on Sky Q, Sky Ticket and Now TV devices. Amongst other consequences, this means that Sky's UK customers will be able to watch every live English Premier League soccer fixture on Sky Sports, Prime Video and BT Sport without switching devices – a development that may carry implications for the next round of soccer rights auctions.

    • The trend towards service providers trusting their inner workings to the public cloud continues with UK mobile virtual network operator Giffgaff choosing Amazon Web Services (AWS) to power all its infrastructure and application development – the first MVNO in Europe to do so, according to AWS. Giffgaff intends to migrate its remaining applications and databases from its existing on-premises data center to AWS by the end of the year. Last week Deutsche Telekom announced that it was to shift most of its IT workloads to Microsoft's Azure public cloud by 2025. (See Deutsche Telekom becomes Microsoft tenant in bid for IT savings.)

    • Telefónica is hoping to make its mark in the nascent robotic cybersecurity market by teaming up with Alias Robotics, a Spanish company that claims to be the creator of the first Robot Immune System, an antivirus system that is intended to protect robots from cybercriminals. The agreement includes an unspecified investment led by Wayra, Telefónica's open innovation hub, as well the creation of a robotic cybersecurity laboratory in Munich.

    • Telecom Italia (TIM) extended its fiber network to another 263 municipalities in November, taking its tally of new locations reached to 3,250 in nine months. To reach those parts of the country that are unlikely to have access to fiber anytime soon, TIM has also confirmed its committed to fixed wireless access and signed an agreement with Eutelsat Communications for satellite broadband coverage.

    • BT has been fined £6.3 million (US$8.4 million) by Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, after its Openreach network arm was judged to have failed to have given Irish operator Eir the same information as BT's own bid team for a public sector telecom contract in Northern Ireland in 2017/2018. Under Ofcom's rules, Openreach must treat all its wholesale customers the same. The financial penalty incorporates a 30% reduction to reflect, says Ofcom, BT's agreement to settle Ofcom's investigation by admitting full liability.

    • In Belgium, Telenet/SBS, Mediahuis, Proximus/Skynet and Pebble Media have joined forces to create a national ad sales agency that promises to take a very data-driven approach to the placement of ads, be they for TV, online or in print.

    • The latest UK city to get the CityFibre FTTH treatment is Bradford, with the altnet investing more than £75 million ($100 million) in a project to replace legacy copper networks with something a little zippier. The digging is due to start in spring 2021, in the East Bowling area of the city.

    • It might seem something of an academic exercise for the moment, but EE, the mobile operator owned by BT, has switched on 5G at The London Stadium, better known as the venue for the London Olympics in 2012. This will enable spectators, once they are allowed back in, to gain access to faster and more stable download speeds, wherever they happen to be in the stadium, as well as helping with the day-to-day operations of the venue, such as the processing of cashless transactions.

    • SSE Enterprise Telecoms, another alternative UK fiber provider, has announced the delivery of gigabit-capable connectivity to 22 public sector sites in and around the Scottish city of Aberdeen, the first of six implementation stages of a wider connectivity project that will eventually hook up 190 such sites across Aberdeenshire. The Scottish government is a partner in the project, contributing £125 million ($168 million) over ten years.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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