Eurobites: UK's project gigabit two-thirds done – Ofcom

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange appoints new non-exec chairman; small-cell pilot in London's Square Mile; Telefónica virtualizes Rafa Nadal.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

May 20, 2022

3 Min Read
Eurobites: UK's project gigabit two-thirds done – Ofcom

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange appoints new non-exec chairman; small-cell pilot in London's Square Mile; Telefónica virtualizes Rafa Nadal.Two thirds of UK homes are now within reach of gigabit broadband – though only a third of them can get full-fiber packages. This is the gist of new figures released by Ofcom, the country's communications regulator. At the other end of the connectivity scale, the number of premises unable to access download speeds of at least 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s has fallen to just under 100,000. On the mobile front, the new figures reveal that a 4G mobile signal is "predicted" to be available in around 92% of the UK's landmass, while outdoor 5G coverage is on offer from at least one operator to around half of UK homes. (See Boris broadband plan is way off pace, says UK spending watchdog and Eurobites: UK's gigabit rollout needs to roll a lot faster, says EY report.)Orange has appointed Jacques Aschenbroich as non-executive chairman of its board of directors. Until January of this year, Aschenbroich was CEO of Valeo, a car parts company. The announcement comes as Stéphane Richard, reached the end of his tainted tenure as Orange's chairman. (See Eurobites: Orange's Richard found guilty in Tapie case.)Mobile infrastructure services provider Cornerstone has teamed up with Freshwave to set up a 4G/5G mobile connectivity pilot that aims to improve the small-cell infrastructure in London's Square Mile district. Bespoke antennas will be installed on the upgraded infrastructure and the hope is that with multiple pieces of telecom equipment being housed in the accompanying cabinets, there will be fewer devices needed on the street assets themselves. The cabinets will be connected via dark fiber. The ten-site pilot is expected to be live from October and, if deemed a success, will probably be rolled out across the district.UK towers company Arqiva has launched Arqade, which it describes as a self-service pay-per-use interchange for rights holders, broadcasters and platform operators. The cloud-based platform, which can also take content from conventional fiber and satellite inputs, delivers to TV channels, platforms and online services for streaming and video publishing.Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges has received an honorary doctorate from Ben Gurion University in Be'er Sheva, Israel, in what is a nod to the telco's long-standing relationship with the university. Together, the university and Telekom operate T-Labs Israel, where research is carried out into cybersecurity and analytics. It is the operator's only research facility outside Germany and has been in existence since 2006.Telefónica has been helping Rafa Nadal give virtual tours of his sports academy in Mallorca, recasting the tic-heavy tennis legend as a 3D "avatar," a bit like Lara Croft but with a better forehand and fewer weapons. The telco said it used the project to demonstrate its commitment to continue exploring the possibilities offered by Web3 and the metaverse.Figure 1:The mighty Rafa, cut down to size by Telefónica.

(Source: Telefónica)— 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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