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Eurobites: Openreach Turns to Nokia, Huawei for 'Fibre First' Aid

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK Treasury wonks present fiber to-do list; T-Mobile Austria gets EU nod on UPC buy; Orange and Europol become partners in cybercrime.

  • Openreach , the quasi-autonomous network access arm of UK incumbent BT Group, has chosen a combination of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd to help deliver its Fibre First program, which Openreach hopes will see 3 million British homes and businesses connected to FTTP technology by the end of 2020. Huawei has already started to deploy its headend kit, while Nokia is expected to weigh in with its hardware from July 2019. Ultimately Openreach intends to extend the rollout to "the majority" of homes and business across the UK, but -- and it's a big but -- only if Britain "has the right conditions" for investment. The award of the contracts to Nokia and Huawei could be seen as bad news for Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), which has been involved in in other BT-related projects and might have been expected to see some of this work come its way too. (See Eurobites: Openreach Finally Puts 'Fibre First'.)

  • The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), an executive agency of the UK government's Treasury department, has published a National Infrastructure Assessment that, among many interesting findings related to power supplies, calls for government action on the UK's digital capabilities. Specifically it recommends that the UK government should "devise a National Broadband Plan by Spring 2019, to deliver full fibre connections across the whole of the country, including those in rural areas -- this should ensure that the technology is available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025, 25 million by 2030, and all homes and businesses by 2033." To achieve this, the NIC notes, would: require regulator Ofcom to "promote network competition to drive the commercial rollout of full fibre, by deregulating where competition is effective and guaranteeing a fair bet on risky investments before regulating any uncompetitive areas"; require the government to "part subsidise rollout to rural and remote communities, beginning by 2020, starting with the hardest to reach areas and community self-build"; and require the government and Ofcom to make the rollout of fiber cheaper by making access and wayleave processes easier and more affordable. Such moves, notes the NIC, would "provide the foundation for 5G mobile connectivity and could improve 4G coverage in harder to reach places." Openreach will be all over this report like a rash…

  • The European Commission has given its blessing to the proposed acquisition of UPC Austria by T-Mobile Austria , saying that the transaction would raise no competition concerns because the companies' activities are "largely complementary." The sale forms part of a wider retreat from Europe by UPC Austria's owner, Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), a withdrawal that has also seen it shedding its cable assets in Germany and elsewhere. (See Liberty Stages European Retreat .)

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has formed a partnership with Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, in an attempt to share more information and expertise relating to cyber threats and attacks across Europe. Orange claims to have "close to a thousand experts" in its cybersecurity division.

  • T-Systems International GmbH , the enterprise IT arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), has teamed up with Cloudreach, a specialist in software-enabled public cloud adoption, to offer what it hopes will be an enhanced service to its cloud customers. Cloudreach's customer list includes Volkswagen, Hearst Corporation and BP.

  • As the soccer World Cup in Russia reaches its shirt-tugging, injury-simulating crescendo, with the first of the two semi-finals due to kick off later today, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has been providing an update on how the Massive MIMO basestations it deployed on the network of Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) have been coping with the fan-driven data rush. According to the Swedish vendor, measurements taken during the tournament show the basesations enabled up to fivefold increases in data throughput in uplink, allowing fans who aren't content just being there to broadcast decent-quality video from smartphones for their pals back home. Ericsson says that the analysis shows a general move away from the "selfie," which was very much the done thing at the last World Cup in 2014, and towards video content.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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