Eurobites: UK Budget to Find £250M for Rural Full-Fiber Boost?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telia achieves 600Gbit/s 'milestone' with Infinera; Turin's 5G remote-controlled car; MTN user numbers up in Q3.

  • Rural broadband in the UK could be set for a "full fiber" boost in today's Budget, when the British government sets out its stall on state spending for the year ahead. According to the Sunday Telegraph, at least £250 million (US$320 million) will be found from somewhere to connect schools and libraries out in the sticks to "superfast" broadband, the hope being that these connections will make it easier for rural households to get their mitts on full-fiber broadband too. Back in May, the UK chancellor, Philip Hammond, used a speech to the Confederation of British Industry to set out his vision for Britain's broadband future, which he sees as being all about fiber. (See UK Bumpkins Told Not to Expect Fiber in Their Lifetimes, Eurobites: UK Fine-Tunes Its Full-Fiber Future and Eurobites: UK Chancellor Sets Out Full-Fiber Vision.)

  • Sweden-based Telia Carrier is claiming an industry first with the transmission of 600Gbit/s wavelengths in its live production network, using technology from Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN). The "milestone" was achieved with the deployment of the vendor's latest iteration of its Infinite Capacity Engine, ICE5, on Telia Carrier's network between Palo Alto and San Francisco, which has been built using Infinera's FlexILS platform. According to Infinera, this deployment shows that "Telia Carrier's deployed FlexILS network is ready for next-generation transponders operating at 600G and beyond, enabling Telia to continue scaling capacity to meet customer demand for the foreseeable future." (See Infinera Shifts Up a Gear With Its Latest Optical Engine.)

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) , Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and the Italian city of Turin have collaborated on what they claim is the first demonstration of a car remotely controlled using 5G technology. A control platform inside the car collected real-time multimedia data and content from the various sensors, video cameras and radars installed in Piazza Castello, where the car was located, which was then transmitted via 5G to a remote station in Palazzo Madama, from where it was controlled. The demo formed part of a wider 5G-centered program in Turin. (See Eurobites: Turin to Be Shrouded in 5G.)

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  • South Africa's MTN Group Ltd. saw its user base rise by 1.1.% in the third quarter, to 225.4 million users, while the number of those using its mobile money service rose by 1.7 million to 25.8 million. As Reuters reports, a strong performance in its largest market, Nigeria, helped boost MTN's overall numbers. (See Eurobites: Nigeria Has MTN in Its Crosshairs Again – This Time for a $2B Tax Bill.)

  • Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) says it will invest up to £45 million ($57.6 million) in 4G upgrades in 339 communities by the end of 2018, bringing improved mobile connectivity to around 250,000 rural residents.

  • What do BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) CEO-designate Philip Jansen and soccer uberbrand David Beckham have in common? No, it's not the neck-disfiguring tattoos. Or a sulky other half. It turns out both signed up to a notorious tax avoidance scheme back in the noughties, which, as the Daily Telegraph reports, was used by a group of celebs and business types to illegally sidestep paying £700 million ($897 million) in tax. The newspaper, so as not to score an own goal, is at pains to point out that Jansen has since paid back all the tax he owed, and that none of those involved in the Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP scheme deliberately broke the law. (See Eurobites: Worldpay's Jansen Lands BT Top Job.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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