Eurobites: UK's CityFibre Announces $2.5B FTTH Investment Plan

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: KPN slides in Q3 while Telenor holds steady; TIM tries out Amazon's Alexa; Huawei hopes new lab will win regulators' confidence.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has announced a £2.5 billion (US$3.2 billion) investment program that it says will help it reach 5 million homes with full-fiber broadband, representing a third of the UK government's target of getting 15 million households on FTTH broadband by 2025. The company, which was taken over earlier this year by a Goldman Sachs managed investment fund, has identified 37 towns and cities where it already has fiber "spine assets" that are "primed for expansion" to FTTH. (See CityFibre Delists as Acquisition Closes and CityFibre to Raise £200M, Ramp Up FTTH Challenge to BT.)

  • Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) saw third-quarter adjusted earnings fall 1.2% year-on-year, to €585 million ($667 million), on adjusted revenue that fell 1.6% to €1.39 billion ($1.58 billion). Growth in consumer residential was offset by ongoing pressure in the mobile market and lower wholesale revenues.

  • Earnings at Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) grew 5.6% year-on-year in the third quarter, while revenue edged up 0.6% to 27.6 billion Norwegian kroner ($3.3 billion). The operator has been backing out of central and eastern Europe, completing the sale of those assets during the quarter. During the same period it has also ended its concession model in Thailand, moving instead to a license model that it hopes removes some uncertainty in its operations there.

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  • Telecom Italia (TIM) is trialing Amazon's Alexa voice assistant technology onto its TIM Box set-top, in what is the operator's first collaboration with the online giant.

  • China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd is hoping to gain the confidence of Europe's regulators with the opening of a new information security lab in Bonn next month, Reuters reports. The lab will enable interested parties to scrutinize the source code of Huawei's various software offerings, and can be viewed as a response to the vendor's exclusion from some contracts in Australia and the US. (See Australia Excludes Huawei, ZTE From 5G Rollouts and US Government Agencies Barred From Buying Huawei, ZTE Tech.)

  • Finns love their digital technology -- but do they love it too much? That's what Telia suspects, so the operator has introduced a new tariff model, Telia Dot, which it claims supports "digital wellbeing" by allowing users to track their active screen time and offers programs that "challenge users to reflect on their use of digital devices." Telia Dot also allows customers to only pay for what they use: If they don't use the subscription at all, or only use WiFi, they won't get billed. "We want to help consumers create a more balanced relationship with their devices and to promote dialogue between family members," says Telia Finland's Jan Brantberg. Only in Scandinavia.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has been confirmed by Aussie operator Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) as its 5G network provider, news that isn't very surprising as the pair have been working together for many years already and two likely other candidates for the contract -- Huawei and ZTE -- have, as was referred to above, been frozen out on the grounds of national security. Telstra last week said it had "switched on" its 5G network in the cities of Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. (See Australia Excludes Huawei, ZTE From 5G Rollouts.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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