Eurobites: Germany Holds Door Open for Huawei

Paul Rainford
4/15/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: CityFibre loses legal challenge; video-streaming giants come under the UK regulatory microscope; new boss for Swisscom's blockchain unit; EU copyright rules move a step closer.

  • The president of Germany's federal network agency, the Bundesnetzagentur, appears to have ruled out the deliberate exclusion of Huawei from the country's 5G rollout, despite pressure from the US government to do so. In an interview with the Financial Times (paywall applies), Jochen Hoffman said: "The position the Bundesnetzagentur takes is that no equipment supplier, including Huawei, should, or may, be specifically excluded." Last month the US authorities initially threatened to share less intelligence with Germany following early indications that it would not impose a blanket ban on equipment from Huawei. (See It's No Huawei or No Intelligence, US Warns Germany – Report, Eurobites: Merkel & Huawei Hit Back at US Ambassador and Eurobites: Germany Offers Hope to Huawei.)

  • UK altnet CityFibre has lost a High Court appeal against a 2018 decision by the Advertising Standards Authority upholding the right of broadband providers to describe in their advertising part-fiber services as "fiber." The authority concluded that the term was "unlikely to mislead customers." Responding to today's decision, CityFiber CEO Greg Mesch said in a statement: "We are disappointed by today's result because we continue to believe it is not right for consumers to be misled into thinking copper-reliant connections are 'fibre' broadband. The decision is particularly disappointing in light of the recent progress made in other countries which have restricted misleading advertising and established clear rules to distinguish full fibre from inferior copper-based services. We are currently considering appealing the judgement and would like to thank the thousands of people that joined our campaign and signed our petition for change." (See Eurobites: CityFibre Attacks Watchdog's 'Fake Fiber' Ruling.)

  • The UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is set to train its regulatory firepower on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, bringing rules governing over-the-top video streaming sites into line with those that apply to traditional broadcaster, the Daily Telegraph reports (paywall applies). In recent weeks the DCMS has been taking a long, hard look at social networks and the way they handle users' data.

  • Swisscom's blockchain subsidiary has found a new CEO in the form of Lukas Hohl, who is returning to his native Switzerland from the US, where he was working for consultancy Synpulse. The outfit had been managed on an interim basis by Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler since the departure of Daniel Haudenschild in January.

  • A controversial revision of rules governing copyright in the EU has been endorsed by member states in a vote today, Reuters reports. The new rules will be formally signed on Wednesday (April 17) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and member states will have 24 months to incorporate them into their national legislation. Some commentators believe the changes, which are intended to give the creative industries more protection from online piracy, could threaten the very existence of the Internet as we know it. (See Why Euro Regs Threaten Internet 'Extinction'.)

  • Fancy reading something that is even more better written than what Light Reading is? Ian McEwan, the British author who has impressed the critics and made the best-seller lists with earlier novels including Enduring Love and Atonement, has turned his attention to artificial intelligence, and its ramifications for us poor confused humans. Machines Like Me, published in the UK this week and in the US the week after, is set in an "alternative" 1980s, where not-dead scientist Alan Turing has made an AI breakthrough that allows for the creation of a new batch of synthetic humans… with hilarious results!!! (OK, not really, probably -- this is an Ian McEwan novel, remember. His reviews rarely contain the phrase "laugh out loud.")

    Pale & Interesting
    Ian McEwan's latest novel, out this week, explores the ramifications of AI for human relationships.
    Ian McEwan's latest novel, out this week, explores the ramifications of AI for human relationships.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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