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Eurobites: CityFibre accelerates UK network rollout

Also in today's EMEA regional rights roundup: Vodafone/TIM towers venture "set for EU approval"; Net Insight acquires Aperi's virtualized media production technology; Virgin Media admits data breach.

  • UK altnet CityFibre is pushing ahead with its £4 billion (US$5.2 billion) fiber rollout, announcing 36 additional network locations, ranging from big cities such as Glasgow to smaller towns like Crawley. At the same time, the ambitious company says it has also "accelerated the mobilisation of its network capabilities," beginning a process to award £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in construction contracts by the summer and bringing forward the network build timescale in many areas. CityFibre reckons its rollout will create more than 5,000 construction jobs across the UK and stimulate local economic growth to the tune of £85 billion ($110.5 billion). For more details, see this story on our sister site, Telecoms.com. (See also CityFibre CEO: I'd welcome BT as a customer and Eurobites: Three chooses CityFibre for backhaul beyond London.)

  • Reuters is claiming that Vodafone and Telecom Italia (TIM) look set to receive conditional European Commission approval for their joint creation of what, if it gets the go-ahead, would be Europe's biggest towers company. The two companies formalized a network-sharing agreement last summer that saw them pooling their combined 22,000 mobile towers in TIM's Inwit subsidiary. However, the tie-up prompted EU antitrust concerns, which the two companies attempted to counter by offering rivals access to some of their shared sites in certain locations for up to nine years. (See Eurobites: Italy's Inwit offers rivals access to towers to allay antitrust concerns and Vodafone, TIM strike network-sharing deal.)

  • Sweden's Net Insight has acquired Aperi's virtualized media production technology for $1.2 million in cash, a deal Net Insight hopes will beef up its media transport offering. Aperi's media platform is based on open and software defined technology.

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media has potentially ruined a few weekends by revealing that one of its marketing databases, containing the contact details of around 900,000 people, was the subject of unauthorized access as a result of being "incorrectly configured." The exposed data did not include any passwords or financial details, but it did contain names, home and email addresses and phone numbers. Those affected are being contacted with the bad news.

  • A breakaway group of MPs from the UK's ruling Conservative Party will attempt to pass a law next week banning equipment made by controversial Chinese vendor Huawei from the UK's telecom infrastructure from 2022, according to the Financial Times (paywall applies). The group, which includes some former cabinet ministers, will on Tuesday try to amend the government's telecom infrastructure bill, says the report. The UK government recently decided that Huawei gear could play a role in parts of the UK operators' 5G networks, subject to certain restrictions, despite the protestations of the Trump administration that it shouldn't. (See Tough UK Limits on Huawei's Role in 5G Threaten Telco Plans.)

  • Users of Android phones released around 2012 or earlier have been warned that they are very exposed to being hacked, as they are likely to be running a version of the Android operating system that does not include a number of enhancements Google has introduced since. This is according to Which?, the influential UK consumer rights organization, whose research has concluded that more than a billion Android devices are vulnerable to attack.

  • Ahead of International Women's Day, which falls on Sunday (March 8), Vodafone has called on influential figures in the technology industry to make a pledge to increase diversity and equality in the sector. Launching the #ChangeTheFace campaign, Vodafone cites an international survey which found that, among other things, only 13% of women in UK, 18% of women in Ireland and 20% of women in Germany think jobs in tech are for "people like them." Ericsson and Nokia have already joined Vodafone in making their pledges.

  • Sky, the UK-based purveyor of pay-TV and broadband, is increasing its commitment to women's sport, promising to show more of it across its sports channels. Sky Sports News is pledging to ensure "consistent 24-hour editorial coverage of women's sport across both linear and digital platforms."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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