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Eurobites: Italy's Open Fiber Secures €3.5B Loan for Mega-Rollout

Paul Rainford
4/16/2018
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia signs movie deal; Nokia brings LTE to connected car trial in Japan; UK and AI; Vodafone board change.

  • Open Fiber, the state-backed Italian network operator, has signed a €3.5 billion (US$4.3 billion) deal with banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and UniCredit to help finance the €6.5 billion ($8 billion) rollout of its broadband network. As Reuters reports, Open Fiber intends to cover 271 Italian cities with its network, using the ducts of Enel SpA , the state-owned utility company that, together with state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, owns Open Fiber. The project places Open Fiber in direct competition with incumbent Telecom Italia (TIM) , which also has grand ambitions on the fiber front. (See Telecom Italia in Broadband Clash With Govt – Reports.)

  • And speaking of the incumbent, TIM has just done a deal with Vision Distribution which will allow its on-demand TV operation to broadcast a range of Italian movies just four months after their cinema release. The first such to hit the small screen will be Come un Gatto in Tangenziale (Like a Cat on a Highway), which grossed nearly €2 million on its opening weekend in December.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) says it and KDDI Corp. have successfully demonstrated the use of the LTE Broadcast variant in two connected car applications at a rural location on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Nokia's evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast service (eMBMS) hotspot offering was used in the trial to allow real-time information to be shared with several vehicles to improve safety.

  • The UK is set fair to be one of the world leaders in the development of AI. That, at least, in the gist of a parliamentary report from Britain's House of Lords, which recommends the creation of a "growth fund" for UK SMEs working in the sector and other measures to help AI startups expand successfully. But the report also considers the ethical implications of AI, warning that the "prejudices of the past must not be unwittingly built into automated systems."

    Commenting on the report, Israel's Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) optimistically maintains that any job losses caused by AI are "likely to be balanced out by the creation of new jobs … freeing up workers to do more productive tasks." And if you have a comment on Amdocs' comment, why not stick it on the message board below?

  • Dr Mathias Döpfner is stepping down from his role as non-executive director of Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), ostensibly to focus on his duties at publisher Axel Springer.

  • T-Systems International GmbH , the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), has landed a contract "in the mid three-digit euro range" with banking group Sparda Banken. T-Systems will take over Sparda's internal IT service provider and migrate all the mainframes and servers to T-Systems' data centers in Germany.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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