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Eurobites: Orange invests in Europe's 'technological sovereignty'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Springo joins the FiberCop fold; Telefónica, Microsoft hawk hybrid cloud; Telia sells Latvian unit.

  • Orange is investing an unspecified amount in Move Capital I, a fund that supports "future B2B champions" in the European tech sector, particularly those working in such areas as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, data analytics and cybersecurity. The move, says Orange, forms part of a wider plan to reduce Europe's dependence on non-European technologies – "technological sovereignty," as the company terms it.

  • Springo, an Internet service provider operating in north-east Italy, has become the latest company to sign up to the FiberCop last-mile FTTH network. Springo will ride on the network to reach homes in the municipalities of Belluno, Conegliano, Montebelluna, Feltre and Cortina d'Ampezzo. (See FiberCop is go after KKR and Fastweb firm up stakes.)

  • And while we're on the subject, Reuters reports that shares in Telecom Italia (TIM), one of the backers of FiberCop, rose 2.9% on Monday after state investor CDP confirmed its support for a plan to merge TIM's network assets with those of rival Open Fiber. CDP, which controls Open Fiber, is TIM's second-largest investor.

  • Telefónica's cybersecurity unit, Telefónica Tech, has firmed up its alliance with Microsoft to tout hybrid cloud offerings to public administrations and companies in regulated sectors, with a focus on monitoring and encryption services to reassure such customers about the security and privacy of their data in Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

  • Telia has reached an agreement to sell its B2B-focused Latvian unit to Tet following an open auction process, for €10.75 million (US$12.12 million). Telia will retain a 49% ownership in Tet, and it still holds 60.3% ownership of Latvian mobile operator LMT. The Tet deal is expected to close in the second quarter. Tet is a state-owned technology and entertainment operator offering ICT and pay-TV services to households, businesses, the government and municipal institutions, as well as electricity and other services.

  • Truespeed, a fiber infrastructure provider and ISP based in south-west England, has secured a second tranche of funding from Aviva Investors. The company hopes that the £100 million ($135 million) investment – which follows an initial £75 million ($101 million) investment made by Aviva Investors in 2017 – will help it accelerate its fiber rollout in the region.

  • Swisscom has teamed up with Orell Füssli, a systems provider specializing in security technologies and identification systems, to develop legally binding digital certificates that can be used, for example, to provide age verification when purchasing age-restricted products in Switzerland.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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