Eurobites: UK Govt Pledges £740M for 5G Trials, £400M for FTTP

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Thorsten Dirks to quit in March; Altair opens IoT R&D center in Finland; IBM adds data centers in the UK; remote smash and grab.

  • The UK government is to announce an additional £400 million (US$500 million) in funding for the rollout of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology and commit £740 million ($920 million) to the development of 5G by funding a series of pilots. As the BBC reports, only 2% of the UK has access to pure fiber, and incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has only recently pledged its own notable investment in new FTTP connections: BT is pumping most of its ultra-broadband capex into deployments of G.fast, a technology that aims to "turbocharge" existing copper connections. BT rivals Sky and CityFibre have cautiously welcomed the government's announcement, though the former declared in a statement that the UK "won't achieve the necessary step change in driving full fibre investment across the country unless Ofcom also takes bold and decisive action on the future of BT Openreach." Sky is not alone in demanding that BT be completely split off from Openreach , its network access division. (See BT's Gigabit Plans & the UK's Digital Abyss, BT, Ofcom & the Battle of Britain and BT Clings On to Openreach – Just.)

  • The CEO of Telefónica Deutschland GmbH , Thorsten Dirks, is stepping down earlier than planned. He will leave the company, apparently at his own request, at the end of March 2017 -- his contract was due to expire at the end of September. According to a statement, Dirks wants to "turn to new challenges in line with his personal career plans in 2017."

  • Israel-based Altair Semiconductor is opening a new R&D center in Oulu, Finland, focusing on core LTE technology for the Internet of Things. It will be the first major European installation by Altair, which was acquired earlier this year by Sony. (See Sony Buys 4G IoT Chip Specialist Altair.)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is building four new data centers in the UK to help fulfil the growing demand from businesses for cloud-based services, Reuters reports. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

  • Belgium's Proximus has launched an analytics portal that marketing folk and others can use to gather anonymized information on potential customers through mobile location data. For details of the service, click here.

  • It's the stuff of urban myth: ATMs spewing out cash without anyone pushing any buttons. But, according to a Reuters report, it is myth no more: Cyber criminals have been remotely attacking ATMs in several European countries this year, prompting them to spit out banknotes that were instantly salted away by the bad guys before the banks affected could take action.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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