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Eurobites: UK Fiber Challengers Join Forces

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Italy's national broadband plan gets EU approval; DE-CIX chooses Interoute in Spain; fiber expansion in South Africa.

  • UK FTTP challengers CityFibre and Gigaclear have joined forces in an agreement that will see Gigaclear being able to use CityFibre's long-distance network as a backhaul option for its rural pure fiber networks. The move represents a formalization of an existing relationship between the two companies, who both see themselves as fighting the hegemony of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) in the UK broadband market. (See CityFibre Aims High in BT Battle, UK's Gigaclear Raises $46M for Rural Gigabit, CityFibre Takes On BT With $136M KCOM Acquisition, UK Needs Fiber Infrastructure Rivalry – CityFibre and CityFibre's Gigabit Vision.)

  • Italy's National Ultra-Broadband Scheme has been approved by the European Commission, reports Reuters. The project, which will cost the Italian government €4 billion (US$4.5 billion), is due to run until the end of 2022.

  • DE-CIX Management GmbH , the Internet exchange operator, has chosen Interoute Communications Ltd. 's data center in Madrid as an additional site for its Madrid Internet Exchange Point. DE-CIX Madrid is well placed for West African traffic coming to Madrid via Lisbon. (See Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity and Eurobites: Interoute Gets Private Equity Boost.)

  • South Africa's Vantage Capital has invested 250 million South African Rand ($16.6 million) in the expansion of Vumatel's FTTH network in the suburbs of Johannesburg and Cape Town. First breaking ground in 2014, Vumatel's fiber network currently reaches 33,000 homes.

  • Tanzania will force foreign-backed mobile operators doing business there to list shares on the local exchange by the end of the year, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) and Millicom International Cellular SA (Nasdaq: MICC) will all be affected by the decision.

  • Spotify , the Swedish company behind one of the best-known music streaming services, has accused Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) of playing dirty tricks to boost its rival offering, reports Bloomberg. Spotify alleges that Apple blocked an update to its streaming service in a bid to nudge customers towards Apple Music.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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