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Eurobites: KPN adds fiber minnow to its net

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sky launches FTTP broadband service; satellite startup offers IoT service to energy companies; EU antitrust boss won't break up tech titans.

  • Dutch incumbent KPN is to acquire the fiber-optic network owned and operated by the Sterk Midden-Drenthe cooperative, which is located in the north-east of the Netherlands and covers around 5,900 addresses. The network is and will remain an open network, accessible to various telecom providers, and nothing changes for existing customers. KPN will start offering services on the network in 2021.

  • Sky has launched a new FTTP service, delivering average downlink speeds of 145 Mbit/s, average uplink speeds of 27 Mbit/s and no usage caps. The whole shebang costs £35 (US$45) a month on an 18-month contract. Where FTTP technology isn't available, Sky will use Gfast connections to achieve its "Ultrafast" tier.

  • Hiber, a European IoT satellite startup, has launched a subscription-based IoT service aimed at the oil and gas industry. HiberHilo, as the service is called, is intended to increase well safety and make the industry more sustainable by reducing leaks and blow-outs. Shell is already making use of the service, says Hiber.

  • The European Commission's competition boss says she doesn't envisage having to break up any of the tech giants to get them to play fair. As Reuters reports, Margrethe Vestager told a German newspaper: "It will never come to that," while acknowledging that this step would in theory be available to the Commission in extreme cases. She is due to announce new draft rules for Europe's digital sector in a month's time.

  • The UK's CTech Group, which aims to encourage device retailers' recurring revenue streams by selling a connected SIM at the same time as a device, has appointed Peter Scott as its new CEO. Scott, who was CEO of Carphone Warehouse in Ireland for six years, will oversee the expansion of CTech into Ireland in 2021 followed by Germany, Spain and the Nordics through partnerships with operators, service providers and retailers.

  • Proximus, Belgium's incumbent telco, is targeting the self-employed and small business with a new "Business Flex" range of fiber-based communications offerings, one of which, "Prime" (don't tell Jeff Bezos), enables small businesses to receive direct online support through an "intuitive interface" that connects them to a multidisciplinary team of experts for any questions regarding their products and services, their billing, or just for technical problems.

  • Talking of baldie-billionaire Bezos, the French government has persuaded Amazon to refrain from advertising its forthcoming Black Friday sales, reports Reuters, as it was felt such promotions were unfair on brick-and-mortar retailers of non-essential goods, who have been forced to close again in France's second national lockdown. Junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runchaer told a French radio station that Amazon's ad campaign was "not at all appropriate at a time when 200,000 businesses will have to shut their doors."

  • Virgin Media Ireland says it has seen a 40% increase in data usage across its network since March and the start of the coronavirus pandemic. And much of this is accounted for by an upsurge in online shopping, according to a Virgin-commissioned survey which found that 37% of those surveyed began shopping online for the first time at the start of the pandemic, often for groceries as supermarkets became increasingly less alluring.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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