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Eurobites: Virgin Slams BT State Aid

Paul Rainford
11/30/2015

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: ADVA bags optical monitoring team; Orange in African energy deal; BT offers link to HP cloud.

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), the UK cable company owned by Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), has written to the European Commission setting out its opposition to continuing British state aid for broadband rollouts. As the Financial Times reports (subscription required), Virgin claims that the way the broadband investment program is currently set up could lead to a windfall of between £320 million (US$480 million) and £869 million ($1.3 billion) for BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) over 20 years. BT is getting used to having Virgin on its case: At the Broadband World Forum in October, Virgin CEO Tom Mockridge joined others in warning that the imminent merger of BT and EE could have dire consequences for their mobile rivals. (See Virgin Media Boss Attacks BT/EE Deal and Virgin Media Plots £3B Invasion of BT Turf.)

  • Germany's ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) has acquired an optical monitoring team from startup Mic AG in a bid to further the cause of its FSP 3000 Access Link Monitoring product, which is intended to give service providers more insight into their fiber networks. (See ADVA Acquires Optical Monitoring Team.)

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has signed a deal with energy firm Engie to expand the rural electricity grid and beef up the power supply to telecom infrastructure in Africa. The pair will trial a range of domestic power supply offerings which, if successful, could be marketed by Orange.

  • BT has introduced a new service for its IP VPN customers that will allow them to directly connect to Hewlett Packard Enterprise 's Helion Managed Cloud Services without using the public Internet. BT is attempting to position itself as a major cloud services integrator through its "cloud of clouds" initiative launched in April. (See BT to Unveil New Cloud Partners by Christmas.)

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has acquired a majority stake in Mila, a company that specializes in offering a collaborative, "crowd-sourced" approach to IT support services. Mila runs the Swisscom Friends service, through which users experiencing technical problems with their phone, tablet or other device can contact an IT-savvy Friend in their area to help them out.

  • KCOM Group plc , the UK enterprise services provider, has seen half-year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rise 3% to £37.2 million ($55.8 million) on revenue that was also up 3%, to £177.9 million ($267.1 million).

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Ray@LR
    [email protected]
    11/30/2015 | 11:13:26 AM
    Rural areas need well-managed broadband help
    I think everyone's in agreement that those in rural/hard-to-reach areas need some help with broadband connectivity and that funding support from central government can play a role in that.

     

    What is also agreed by most is that those funds should be distributed through a water-tight process. I hear that the UK process has bene something of a shambles... does anyone have any experience/insights into the BDUK (broadband delivery UK) program? 
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