Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Facebook to live-stream top-flight European soccer; FTTH = fiber to the Highlands; Telia helps test the Ironmen's mettle.
Telecom Italia (TIM) says it has completed the deployment of an LTE Advanced (LTE-A) virtual radio access network (vRAN) in the major city of Turin, in collaboration with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). The partners announced the virtualization plan during this year's Mobile World Congress. The operator says it has deployed a cloud-based NFV infrastructure and virtualized 40 functions, including policy control and VoLTE management. The operator will continue to develop the platform for the introduction of 5G services, including IoT/machine-to-machine applications for multiple industrial verticals such as utilities and connected cars. The move is part of the operator's latest investment strategy, dubbed DigiTIM, which aims to introduce increasing levels of digitization and automation while at the same time cutting costs and improving customer experience. (See Telecom Italia to Spin Off Fixed Lines, Increase Automation and Telecom Italia's AI Tie-Up With Microsoft May Bring Job Cuts.)
Broadcaster Eleven Sports has agreed a deal with Facebook that will see the social media giant become Eleven Sports' "free-to-air partner" in the UK. In practice this means Facebook will stream at least one live soccer match a week, free of charge, from both Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A championship this coming season. A selection of games from other top soccer leagues will also be aired on Facebook during the season. And it's not just soccer: Facebook will also show Eleven Sports' coverage of the first two rounds of golf's PGA Championship later this week, in the UK and Ireland. Eleven Sports, led by former former BT TV boss Marc Watson, nabbed the UK broadcast rights to Serie A from the UK incumbent. Last month it also did a deal with Belgium's Proximus that will see the Eleven Sports' three main channels being made available on all Proximus platforms.
Openreach , BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s quasi-autonomous network access unit, says it is now rolling out fiber to 25,000 more homes and businesses in Scotland's Highlands & Islands region than originally planned. The rollout, which forms part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) project, was initially intended to deliver "superfast" broadband access to around 124,000 homes and businesses, but it is now expected to deliver said access to almost 150,000 premises by next year.
Nordic operator Telia has joined forces with Polar, a sports accessory company, to develop a system which transmits athletes' data via a mobile network so that spectators can track their progress, speed, heart rate and general pain. The system got an airing last weekend, at an Ironman triathlon event in Tallin, Estonia, where it was tested on just a few athletes. The system uses technologies such as LTE-M and NB-IoT on low-voltage power devices that are attached to the athletes' track suits. Sounds a bit of a hazard for the swimming element...
T-Systems International GmbH , the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), has developed new software that allows car makers to evaluate massive volumes of machine-generated data in a short time. Two unnamed manufacturers are already using the system to develop new models and driver-assistance systems, both on test tracks and in simulations. According to DT, the software compresses the data to about a tenth of its original volume, without losing any detail.