Eurobites: BT Runs C-RAN Over Copper With G.fast

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT offers top footy content for free; France goes after Facebook; small cells and bus stops.

  • In what it claims is a world first, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has used G.fast technology to deliver a C-RAN network service over copper, transferring cellular data at speeds of between 150 and 200 Mbit/s. Traditionally, C-RAN uses a dedicated fiber link to connect transmitters at the top of a cell tower to the core network. The trial took place at BT's Adastral Park research center, in partnership with US-based Cavium Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM). BT's Openreach division is currently exploring the potential of G.fast in a number of projects, including using G.fast as an access technology in the towns of Huntingdon and Gosforth. (See BT Trials C-RAN Over G.fast and BT Updates on G.fast Plans.)

  • In other BT news, the UK incumbent is demonstrating just how much store it is setting by its premium soccer content by offering three European games -- one from the UEFA Champions League and two from the UEFA Europa League -- on free-to-air digital television on its BT Sport Showcase this month in a bid to entice new customers to its pay-TV offering. Considering BT paid almost €1.08 billion (US$1.44 billion) for the exclusive TV rights to these two competitions over three years, presumably it won't be doing too many more of these freebies… (See Confirmed: BT's Got Euroballs.)

  • The data privacy tide continues to turn against the Internet giants, with the French data protection authority now giving Facebook three months to quit tracking the web activity of those who aren't actually signed-up members of the social network but who have visited a Facebook page. As Reuters reports, this is the first significant legal action taken against a firm transferring European citizens' data to the US in the wake of an EU court decision last year that ruled the so-called Safe Harbor agreement invalid. (See Eurobites: 'Safe Harbor' Heads for Calmer Waters.)

  • You wait ages for a small cell solution then three come along at once… Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) have joined forces with advertising company JCDecaux to introduce a C-RAN small cell offering at a bus stop in Amsterdam. The hope is that the bus stop set-up will provide KPN's customers with "seamless mobility" as they move in and out of the small cell coverage area.

  • Is the golden era of tax avoidance for technology giants drawing to a close? With the UK and France already on their case for perceived tax-related shenanigans, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) are now facing the wrath of Vladimir Putin's new "Internet czar," German Klimenko, Bloomberg reports. "We are breeding the cow and they are milking it," said Klimenko in the course of a 90-minute interview during which he made his feelings on the matter clear in no uncertain terms.

  • Sky 's much-trumpeted new set-top box, Sky Q, goes on sale today in the UK and Ireland, promising a whole new Fluid Viewing experience, for those prepared to pay for it: New customers to Sky will have to cough up £54 ($77.74) a month for Sky Q, though there is also a one-off £249 ($358.46) "smart features fee" and various additional fees depending on which extra channels customers plump for. (See Eurobites: OTT Feel for Sky's New Set-Top.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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