Eurobites: UK Chancellor Sets Out Full-Fiber Vision

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: MTN and Huawei share spectrum in South Africa; big 5G news for little San Marino; Telia Carrier PoPs into Serbia.

  • The UK chancellor, Philip Hammond, has used a speech to the Confederation of British Industry to set out his vision for Britain's broadband future, which he clearly sees as being all about "full fiber" networks. As the Guardian reports, Hammond envisages the number of full-fiber connections rising by two million a year for the next seven years, taking the total to 15 million by 2025. However, the chancellor says this won't be achieved through "government diktat" but by "creating the conditions for the market to deliver." In other words, it's down to you, private sector.

    Responding to the speech, Clive Selley, the CEO of BT's Openreach network access arm, said in a statement: "We share the Chancellor's full fiber vision for Britain … We want to reach 10 million premises by the mid-2020s, and believe we can ultimately fully-fiber the majority of the UK under the right conditions."

    Not surprisingly, BT rival CityFibre has a different slant. Its CEO, Greg Mesch, said: "For this ambition to be realized, the Government and Ofcom must now rapidly set out a clear plan to lessen the country's reliance on Openreach and harness the momentum and major investment being made by new entrants."

  • In what the pair claim is a "global first," MTN Group Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd have commercially deployed the latter's CloudAIR 2.0 offering to share spectrum between 2G, 3G, 4G and NB-IoT radio technologies in the 900MHz band. CloudAIR 2.0 allocates and adjusts spectrum resources according to the changes in mobile traffic, preventing legacy radio access technologies from hogging prime spectrum.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has used the tiny republic of San Marino as the launch pad for the first mmWave 5G mobile test device in Italy powered by the Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) Snapdragon X50 5G modem. TIM plans to work with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) to upgrade the network in readiness for "next-generation" services. Telecom Italia says it is committed to making San Marino -- population: 33,562 -- the "first 5G country in Europe."

  • Telia Carrier has established its first point-of-presence (PoP) in Serbia, in the capital city of Belgrade. The PoP will allow customers in the region to connect directly to the Telia Carrier backbone, as well as serving as a connectivity hub for surrounding countries.

  • Orange Business Services has hooked a new customer for its IoT-friendly fuel monitoring system in the shape of Dobroflot, a Russian fishing fleet operator. The system analyzes the weather conditions and the vessel's location to save, claims Orange, up to 10% of fuel costs.

  • Swiss mobile operator Salt SA has elected five new members to its board of directors, namely: Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, vice-chairman of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and the former CEO of Nestlé SA; Robert-Philippe Bloch, president of Vaud’s banking association; Jacques de Saussure, who was senior managing partner of the Pictet Group until he retired in June 2016; Martin Lehmann, co-founder of Mobilezone; and Jeannine Pilloud, who headed the passenger traffic division of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) for several years.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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