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Eurobites: The Lost Towers of Nigeria

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ireland takes a closer look at Verizon Media's cookies; EU and Apple prepare for September showdown over tax bill; Sky trumpets addressable TV.

  • Hundreds of mobile masts and towers across Nigeria have been abandoned and are falling into disrepair, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission. As The Punch reports, many of the facilities were owned by three defunct Internet service providers, namely Rainbownet, Reltel/Zoom Mobile and Starcomms. The commission estimates the total worth of the abandoned facilities at more than N55.43 billion (US$152 million). "Failure to maintain these structures over a long period of time has resulted in their technical failure and constant vandalism, with negative consequences on public health and safety," said the commission's public affairs director, Dr Henry Nkemadu. (See Severe Damage & Vandalism Sees Dozens of MTN SA Basestations Shut Down.)

  • Ireland's data protection commissioner has launched an investigation into Verizon Media following complaints across the European Union about the company's use of online "cookies. "As the Independent reports, the complaints about the company, which has its EU headquarters in Dublin, are centered on "transparency issues." Some of the complaints relate to Verizon-owned websites where, as commissioner Helen Dixon says, "effectively there's no choice when cookie banners are offered. The only option seems to be to click OK." Verizon Media owns Yahoo and the Huffington Post, among other assets.

  • In related matters, Bloomberg reports that the EU is set for a "September showdown" with Apple over what Brussels says is $14.4 billion that Ireland is owed in unpaid taxes from the tech giant. The two parties will slug it out September 17-18 in the EU's General Court. For its part, the Irish government maintains that the EU's stance is an unfair one.(See Eurobites: Apple Stumps Up €14.3B in Unpaid Taxes to Ireland (But Doesn't Really Mean It).)

  • Is "addressable TV" the future of TV advertising? That's what Sky appears to believe, as it has been studying this new approach, which shows different ads to different people depending on their demographic profile, even if they are watching the same program. Sky's research found that addressable TV --"AdSmart" is Sky's version of the technology -- can boost ad engagement by more than one-third and reduce channel-switching by almost half. The study used facial recognition analysis, amongst other techniques, to gauge viewers' attention to the ads being foisted on them. The full white paper can be downloaded here.

  • Germany's Freenet, a major shareholder in Swiss telco Sunrise, plans to vote against the latter's proposed takeover of cableco UPC Switzerland, Broadband TV News reports. According to the report, Freenet believes the price is too high and the conditions unfavorable.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    8/28/2019 | 8:40:26 AM
    Uprise anytime soon?
    When are we gonna see/hear about some positive development in Africa? Honestly, it bothers me how and why the continent can't seem to develop. Look at China and India, even Brazil! They all had bad conditions, but today they are some of the biggest economies in the world.

    Kim / Hifigalleri
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