Eurobites: Intelsat Launch Boosts Connectivity in Africa, Middle East

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Hull gets a gigabit; Ooredoo's new man in Algeria; LoopUp valued at £40 million in IPO; Orange denies Vivendi deal.

  • Broadband coverage in Africa, the Middle East and Asia has received a boost through the successful launch of Intelsat Ltd. 's 33e satellite, which was sent into orbit on Wednesday. According to Intelsat, the satellite, which will deliver carrier-grade services to fixed and mobile operators, has been optimized to provide connectivity for the Internet of Things and a range of other specialized applications. Intelsat 33e is the second of seven planned EpicNG high-throughput satellites. (See Intelsat Adds Broadband, Video Service Coverage to EMEA, Asia.)

  • Things are looking up for the northern English city of Hull. While, to the casual observer, it may still resemble a god-forsaken North Sea-facing wasteland, it has already been chosen as next year's official UK City of Culture and now altnet CityFibre has teed it up as the next city to get the gigabit treatment in its UK program. Delivered in partnership with Pure Broadband, the network will span 62km across the city, and should help Hull shed its reputation for having some of the slowest downlink speeds in the UK. (See Eurobites: CityFibre Forges Ahead and CityFibre Takes On BT With $136M KCOM Acquisition.)

  • UAE-based Ooredoo has appointed Hendrik Kasteel as the new CEO of its Algerian operation. Kasteel's most recent role was managing director of Dutch ISP Euronet Communications.

  • LoopUp, a conference-call startup, has been valued at £40 million (US$52.7 million) in what is the UK's first technology flotation since Britain voted to leave the European Union, the Daily Telegraph reports. LoopUp claims its software can make conference calls "less painful," and says it is already being used at 1,850 companies, Travelex and LateRooms.com among them.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has flatly denied media reports that it has reached a deal with Vivendi that would see it taking a stake in the media conglomerate's Canal Plus pay-TV business and in Telecom Italia, Reuters reports. Vivendi currently owns 24.7% of Telecom Italia.

  • The UK's Home Affairs Select Committee has criticized social media companies for failing to put sufficient effort into combating those who use their network to further extremism. As the BBC reports, Facebook, Twitter and Google all came under fire from the group of MPs, who said that social networks had become the "recruiting platforms for terrorism." (See Eurobites: Pressure Grows on Encrypted Messaging Services.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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