Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: CityFibre completes Peterborough project; Morocco 4G auction raises $200 million; is it all over for Uber?
UK regulator Ofcom has confirmed a new pricing rule that forces BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) to maintain a "sufficient margin" between its wholesale and retail "superfast" broadband charges, in a bid, it says, to give those of BT's rivals that piggy-back on its fiber network, such as Sky and TalkTalk , a fighting chance of competing in the superfast market. The rule, which was first notified to the European Commission in January, still allows for BT to set its own wholesale prices. (See Eurobites: BT Faces New Rules on Access Charges.)
Still on the theme of UK fiber, BT-challenging CityFibre has completed the construction of its 90km CORE network in Peterborough, a growing city in eastern England. The network connects 107 public sector sites, including administrative offices, data centers, schools and hospitals. CityFibre has similar projects ongoing in Coventry, Aberdeen, York and Edinburgh. (See Eurobites: Scotland Gets a Gigabit City and Eurobites: BT's Rivals Go Ultrafast in York.)
Morocco's 4G spectrum auction has raised 2 billion Moroccan dirhams (US$200 million), reports Reuters, with Maroc Telecom , Médi Télécom S.A. (Méditel) and Wana Corporate all winning licenses.
The European Commission has halted its investigation into Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s planned acquisition of Spanish broadband provider Jazztel plc , reports Reuters, due to a failure on the part of the both parties to furnish the Commission with certain relevant information. (See Orange Feels European Squeeze.)
Is it all over for Uber in Germany? Bloomberg reports that a German court has told the controversial smartphone-based taxi-hailing service to call a halt to its operations in the country, concluding that Uber is anti-competitive in the way that it requests rides from drivers that have "no legitimation." (See Uber Drives June Mobile VC to $2.3B.)
Wednesday's Budget issued by the UK government included the arguably wishy-washy ambition that "ultrafast broadband of at least 100 Mbit/s should be available to nearly all UK premises," reports the BBC. Cue a debate on what that "nearly" actually means. Less flaky was the promise of a "diverted profits tax" (informally known as the "Google tax"), to be levied on companies that shift some of their profits overseas to avoid paying corporation tax. This tax will be introduced next month, said Chancellor George Osborne.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading