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Eurobites: Openreach turns to India's STL for cabling, connectors

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vector Photonics bag equity funding; German data protection regulator clamps down on Facebook; Spotify suffers branding car-crash moment.

  • Openreach, the semi-autonomous network access arm of UK incumbent operator BT, has chosen India-based STL to supply cable and connectors for its full-fiber rollout over the next three years. The deal will include access to STL's Celesta cable, which STL claims is 26% slimmer than traditional loose cables, allowing 2,000 meters of cable to be installed in less than an hour. It will also help Openreach cut down on the amount of plastic it uses in its network.

  • Glasgow-based Vector Photonics has attracted £1.6 million (US$2.2 million) in equity investment from a consortium of funding companies, and hopes to use the money to commercialize its PCSEL-based semiconductor laser technology. (PCSEL stands for photonic crystal surface emitting lasers.) This latest investment takes Vector Photonics' seed funding round to more than £4 million ($5.5 million). Vector Photonics is a spin-out from the University of Glasgow, based on semiconductor research led by Professor Richard Hogg.

  • A German data protection regulator has opened emergency proceedings against Facebook to prevent it collecting personal data from users of its WhatsApp messaging app. As Reuters reports, the regulator believes that data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook is being "impermissibly enforced due to the lack of voluntary and informed consent." The regulator hopes to reach a final decision on the matter before May 15.

  • T-Systems, the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom, has teamed up with software firm GFT to offer IoT systems to the manufacturing industry. T-Systems supplies edge computing, while GFT brings data collection, digital twinning and AI analysis to the party. Sphinx Open, which allows manufacturers to set up a digital twin of their operations, is one of the systems the two companies are collaborating on.

  • Arcep, the French communications regulator, has given the green light to the continuation of a mobile network sharing agreement between Digicel and Free Caraïbe in the Antilles and Guiana through their Madiacom joint venture. Arcep says it will closely monitor the gradual phasing out of the roaming period for Free Caraïbe on Digicel frequencies, as well as what the shared network provides in terms of coverage to its users.

  • Russia's antitrust authority is turning the thumbscrews on Internet giant Yandex over what it claims are competition law violations on the part of the company's search engine. As Reuters reports, the agency is initiating proceedings against Yandex after having already told it in February that it was unfairly promoting its own search products at the expense of others.

  • Sometimes those branding guys just nail it. Spotify, the Sweden-based audio streaming service, has announced a limited US release of a new in-car "smart player" that allows the user to be "listening to that hit song or the latest podcast episode before you’ve even pulled out of the driveway." Its name? Car Thing. Take the rest of the week off, branding guys.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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