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Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom Forges Fiber Alliances Down South

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: WhatsApp faces French fine; Ofcom tackles the pain of switching; fiber for Hasselt; EU defines Uber.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has signed network-sharing agreements with five municipal operators in the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, a move that will allow the German incumbent to reach an additional 125,000 households, roughly half via FTTH and half via FTTC using VDSL technology. The agreements are with R-KOM in Regensburg, SÜC//dacor in Coburg, SWU Telenet in Ulm, Stadtnetz Bamberg, and Telepark Passau. The FTTC lines will be marketed by Deutsche Telekom under the "Zuhause Start" brand in the spring of 2018; marketing of the FTTH lines will follow later in the year.

  • WhatsApp, the Facebook -owned company behind the "over-the-top" messaging service of the same name, could face a substantial fine from the French data privacy watchdog if it fails to comply with an order that seeks to control its sharing of customer data with its parent company. As Reuters reports, the watchdog has given WhatsApp one month to comply with the order, which sets out firmer guidelines for obtaining customer consent for such data-sharing.

  • UK telecom regulator Ofcom has announced a new protocol that will allow mobile customers intending to switch to complete the procedure by the sending of just a single text message, freeing them from the ordeal of talking to their existing operator. Under the new system, which comes into effect in 18 months' time, the customer uses the free text number to request a switching code (PAC code) from his or her existing operator. This code, valid for 30 days, is sent by the rejected provider to the customer, along with any other important account details, such as outstanding charges. This code is then given by the customer to the chosen new provider, who switches the customer over within one working day. In theory.

  • The Belgian city of Hasselt (population: around 76,000) is the latest location to be earmarked in Proximus 's "Fiber for Belgium" program, which was announced at the end of last year. Work has already begun in the largely pedestrianized city center, and more than 100 businesses are already connected to fiber. In the coming years, the entire city center and some surrounding districts will get the fiber treatment. (See Eurobites: Proximus Invests €3B in Fiber Frenzy.)

  • Tomorrow a top EU court will sit down to decide whether Uber is just a digital company or a company that directly provides transport services -- a decision that will have major repercussions for the controversial firm. As Reuters reports, if the court decides that Uber is indeed a transport company, local authorities in EU will be able to go ahead and regulate it more like a traditional taxi company, with more onerous operating obligations.

  • Amazon Web Services Inc. has launched a new "business region" in France, the AWS EU (Paris) Region, which allows AWS customers to run applications and store their content in French data centers. It comprises three "Availability Zones" or distinct infrastructure areas, making a total availability outage less likely.

  • British "quad-play" provider TalkTalk has renewed its distribution agreement with A+E Networks UK, bringing the likes of Hunting Hitler and Robbie Coltrane's Critical Evidence to TalkTalk's TV customers.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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