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Eurobites: Iskratel gets busy with 10Gbit/s broadband in Slovenia and Croatia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Scottish broadband buildouts; France lambasts Apple over iPhone intransigence; Vodafone invites itself to latest open RAN party.

  • Iskratel has got the nod from powers-that-be at the EU-backed RUNE (Rural Network) project to provide 10Gbit/s broadband to 210 municipalities across rural Slovenia and Croatia. The company will provide active and passive (XGS-PON and GPON) telecom gear for the rollout, working with local partners Rune Enia in Slovenia and Rune Crow in Croatia. The three-year project will reach 363,000 households in total, 233,000 of them in Slovenia.

  • UK infrastructure provider SSE Enterprise Telecoms has been awarded a £10.5 million (US$13 million) full-fiber contract by Aberdeenshire Council in Scotland. The 18-month project will see the combining of SSE's existing fiber network with physical infrastructure access (PIA) to create a new dark fiber network which SSE says will provide gigabit services to public sector locations such as schools and NHS sites in a number of towns in a belt around Aberdeen. The project is supported by funding from the Aberdeen City Region Deal (ACRD).

  • A French government minister has lambasted Apple for failing to help France develop its coronavirus contact-tracing app. As Reuters reports, France's minister for digital technology, Cedric O, expressed his displeasure at the US giant's refusal to make its iPhones more compatible with a the "StopCovid" app that is currently in the works by allowing iPhone settings to be changed so that the app will be able to access Bluetooth in the background. "Apple could have helped us make the application work even better on the iPhone. They have not wished to do so," said the minister. (See France unveils project team for StopCovid app.)

  • Vodafone has put its weight behind the Open RAN Policy Coalition, a new group advocating a more open approach to the construction of radio access networks, by becoming a founder member. The group, which some argue just adds a new layer of babble to the growing collection of open RAN talking-shops, is dominated by American companies and, significantly, contains no Chinese ones. (See US sets up new open RAN group amid telecom slugfest with China.)

  • The merger of Viasat Consumer and Canal Digital has been completed, creating a new force in Nordic TV distribution, called Allente. NENT Group and Telenor Group each hold 50% of the shares in the new company, which is headquartered in Stockholm and Oslo and will operate at arm's length from those two companies. Allente will offer TV distribution via satellite, streaming services and IPTV, as well as fiber broadband to 1.2 million customers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

  • Openreach, BT's semi-detached network access arm, has spoken out against the attacks on its engineers as they try to go about their business of maintaining the networks, especially in the north of England, in the mistaken belief that they are "installing 5G." The perpetrators of these attacks have been persuaded that 5G is somehow responsible for the coronavirus crisis. Openreach reports that its engineers have had bottles thrown at them and been threatened with physical harm, amongst other gratuitous nastiness.

  • New research from O2 UK's business arm has found that 45% of Brits predict a permanent change in their employers' approach to flexible working once the current COVID-19 lockdown lifts, with a third of this particular group expecting to increase the amount they work from home by at least three days a week after normalcy returns. The report, "The Flexible Future of Work," also threw up the possibility of seaside towns and rural spots being suddenly more in demand as less frequent commuters decided they are more willing to live an hour or more away from their workplace. The research was conducted in partnership with pollsters ICM and YouGov.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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