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Eurobites: Openreach Trials New Approaches to FTTP

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UAE's du happy with Huawei; Vodafone trials OpenRAN in the UK; Ericsson upgrades in Madagascar.

  • Openreach, the quasi-autonomous network access division of UK incumbent operator BT, says it is trying out new techniques in its fiber rollout, one such being the use of specialized trench-digging tool that incorporates diamonds into the giant rotating cutting blade which, claims Openreach, allows workers to install 700 meters of cabling a day -- more than 20 times the figure achieved by traditional methods. Openreach is also trialing "remote nodes" which allow fiber-optic cables to be built out from specially adapted roadside cabinets. The trials form part of BT's plan to extend its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network into areas that have previously been deemed not feasible, in commercial terms, for a fiber connection.

    Don't Spare Us the Cutter
    Openreach's FTTP operatives are trying out a specialized trench-digging tool that incorporates diamonds into the giant rotating cutting blade.
    Openreach's FTTP operatives are trying out a specialized trench-digging tool that incorporates diamonds into the giant rotating cutting blade.

  • UAE operator du is the latest to cock a snook at the urgings of the Trump administration, saying it has "not seen any evidence that there are security holes specifically in 5G" in relation to Huawei networking gear. Saleem Albalooshi, du's CTO, told Reuters that du had its own labs and had visited Huawei's labs and neither had discovered anything that justified Washington's attempts to exclude Huawei from 5G rollouts. (See For Trump's Attack Dogs, There's No Stopping Huawei.)

  • Vodafone is beginning UK trials of OpenRAN, the technology that allows service providers to reduce costs by taking a "mix and match" approach to RAN suppliers, in what will be the operator's first airing of the technology in Europe. The company has already undertaken lab trials of OpenRAN with Vodacom South Africa, and has initiated further trials in the DRC and Mozambique in a bid to enable more people to make mobile calls and access data. Vendors taking part in the UK trials with Vodafone include Parallel Wireless, Mavenir and Lime Microsystems. (See How to Shrink the Bill for Your Chinese Takeout.)

  • Ericsson has landed contract with Telma Madagascar to upgrade its core and radio network. The aim is provide more capacity on the existing Telma network and help prepare it to make the transition to 5G when the time is right.

  • Deutsche Telekom's network modernization grinds on, with another 734,000 lines being upgraded to ballpark 250Mbit/s speeds in the last four weeks. A further 24,000 households have been upgraded to around the 100Mbit/s mark.

  • South Africa's Vodacom has teamed up with Google to help equip the nation's youth with the digital skills deemed necessary for the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The collaboration, called "Grow with Google," will connect participants to the Vodacom Foundation's 92 technology hubs that will now be hooked up to Google's resources and skills development programs.

  • "You save a ton of money, but what's in it for me?" is usually a fair question for any utility customer being pressurized into accepting paperless billing. But Telia in Estonia has come up with a neat incentive: The operator has pledged to plant a tree for every customer who moves to digital invoicing. According to Telia, paper bills make up 10% of all paper produced from wood globally. That's a lot of trees.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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