Eurobites: Spain Shines, UK Lags in Latest Fiber Figures

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange spreads its fiber offer; GSMA attacks EU's connected-car technology roadmap; German Interior Minister urges caution on Huawei freeze-out.

  • The UK is bottom of the European table when it comes to fiber penetration and Germany isn't much better, according to new figures released by FTTH Council Europe. FTTH/B penetration (of countries with more than 1% household penetration) was just 1.5% in the UK, while in Germany, fifth from the bottom of the table, it reached 2.3%. This compares to 50.3% in Latvia, and 44% in Spain, the latter being fiber's star performer in recent times, adding 1,858,743 subscribers this year. Overall, the number of FTTH/B subscribers in Europe has increased by 15.7% since September 2017, rising to 59.6 million in September 2018.

    FTTH/B – European Ranking
    Source: IDATE for FTHH Council Europe
    Source: IDATE for FTHH Council Europe

  • Elsewhere on the fiber front, Orange is to start offering itself as an Internet service provider on all of France's Public Initiative Networks (PIN) -- networks that benefit from state funding and largely serve rural areas -- irrespective of which infrastructure operator actually built the network in question. Orange says this will enable homes and businesses served by the PINs, thought to equate to around 2 million people, to take advantage of the operator's fiber-based offers by the end of 2019.

  • The GSMA has attacked the European Commission's decision to nail its colors to the mast of WiFi-based technology as the basis for the future of connected cars. As Telecoms.com reports, the GSMA had been pressing for cellular-based C-V2X technology to be chosen as the way forward for auto connectivity, and said in a statement that the EC had "made a technology choice in its Connected Car Legislation that, in the view of the GSMA, undercuts its own 5G Action Plan and jeopardises its digital competitiveness; the Commission has chosen to ignore technological innovation and choice, and instead stick with an outdated Wi-Fi (802.11p) technology for connected vehicles."

  • And on the subject of connected cars, Swedish vehicle insurance provider Paydrive is to offer all of its 8,500 customers Telia Sense, Telia's mobile app that enables a range of car-control features, such as remote car monitoring, diagnostics and user-based car insurance. Paydrive claims its customers save on average 30-40% on their insurance costs through the use of such digital wizardry.

  • Nokia has teamed up with Pöyry, an engineering company, and digital services firm Infosys to get behind KRTI 4.0, which the Finnish vendor describes as an artificial intelligence framework. KRTI 4.0 applies cognitive/machine learning and machine-to-machine capabilities to the industrial environment in a bid to reduce system maintenance costs and operation shutdowns. Here's a video about Alan, who runs a big paper mill, to explain all…

  • Germany's Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, says that excluding Huawei from the country's 5G rollout could cause real economic damage. As Reuters reports, Seehofer believes Germany needs to maintain a dialogue with China to avoid this outcome. Earlier this week Germany's Chancellor Merkel effectively told the US to mind its own business where the use (or not) of Huawei equipment is concerned. (See Huawei Stew Hits Boiling Point and Eurobites: Merkel & Huawei Hit Back at US Ambassador.)

  • French energy giant ENGIE has become a new partner and majority shareholder in Tiko, the joint venture founded by Swisscom and Repower, a Swiss energy firm, in 2012. Swisscom describes Tiko as a pioneer in the field of smart energy, combining telecoms nous with energy expertise.

  • EE, the UK mobile operator that is part of BT Group, is upping its content aggregation game, offering its postpaid subscribers six months' zero-rated access to Amazon Prime Video and MTV Play, the latter specializing in reality-TV nonsense. EE already offers some customers access to Apple Music and BT Sport. For more analysis, see this story on our sister site, Telecoms.com.

  • Manx Telecom, based on the Isle of Man, has recommended a takeover bid from Basalt Infrastructure Partners II GP to its shareholders. The deal, which values Manx Telecom at 215p per share, is expected to complete in early May. Manx Telecom is currently in the throes of an FTTP rollout, with around 10% of premises on the island now covered by the technology.

  • Spotfiy, the Swedish music-streaming company, has filed a complaint with EU antitrust regulators over how Apple, in its view, puts unfair restrictions on those attempting to compete with the US giant's own Apple Music service. As Reuters reports, Spotify's beef centers on the 30% fee Apple charges rivals to use Apple's in-app purchase system.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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