Eurobites: Is the UK Heading for a Big Copper Switch-Off?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom takes back control of enterprise telecom from T-Systems; ADVA lands Kuwaiti gig; TalkTalk cleans up its act; coffee gets connected.

  • BT and a number of its broadband access rivals are in talks with the UK government with a view to accelerating the switch-off of copper broadband networks, according to a Sky News report. Sky's sources say that a final switch-off date of 2027 is being set for customers, though the report suggests that there will be a gradual shut-down of copper networks in the years leading up to that date as and when appropriate full-fiber replacements become available. The initiative would appear to form part of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to have universal high-speed broadband in place by 2025. (See BoJo's UK Broadband Plan Looks Barmy, but Don't Write It Off.)

    Not everyone, however, is on board. In a statement issued in response to the Sky report, altnet CityFibre said: "Ofcom's exclusive focus on BT Openreach as the vehicle for migration from copper to fibre is wrong. Retiring the copper network needs to be managed in a way that promotes competition, benefiting every builder of fibre networks, rather than simply reinforcing BT Openreach's existing market dominance. Consumers should have the power to switch to any full fibre network."

  • Deutsche Telekom is taking back control of its enterprise telecom business from its subsidiary T-Systems, Reuters reports. Over the last year and a half DT has been trying to slim down T-Systems, hiring turnaround specialist Adel Al-Saleh in January 2018 to wield the jobs ax in Germany and get the company to focus more on its core IT services business.

  • Qualitynet, the Kuwaiti Internet service provider, is deploying ADVA's FSP 300 platform to enable data transport speeds of up to 400 Gbit/s. According to Munich-based ADVA, the technology will allow Qualitynet to reduce its opex and "ensure maximum efficiency across every section of its network."

  • UK broadband provider TalkTalk is attempting to clean up its act on the customer service front, making four new "commitments" that it says will help create a "fairer telecoms market." The company pledges to: offer fairer pricing for all new and existing customers, making it easier for customers who want to renew their contracts to have access to the same deals that are available to new customers; switch vulnerable, less tech-savvy customers who are out of contract to a better deal; improve staff training so they are better at dealing with vulnerable customers; and cap price increases for out-of-contract customers to the annual rate of inflation.

  • Eseye, a UK-based industrial IoT connectivity specialist, has been chosen by UK coffee-shop giant Costa Coffee to connect up its coffee-dispensing vending machines worldwide to the Internet of Things. Costa Coffee has equipped its machines with the Eseye AnyNet Secure multi-IMSI SIM, which connects to any available mobile network, enabling cellular data access anywhere and communication to the back-end systems as soon as one of the 10,000 plus machines is powered on. The technology will, apparently, "ensure site staff replenish milk and other consumables, and that important machine functionality such as coffee grinder or boiler performance is monitored in real-time." Speaking exclusively to Eurobites from his penthouse hideaway, Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre described the news as "abominable," adding plaintively: "Where's the barista?"

    Where's the Barista?
    But this person also thinks IoT-connected coffee is the devil's brew.
    But this person also thinks IoT-connected coffee is the devil's brew.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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