Eurobites: Telecom Italia begins copper switch-off in Trento

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia in FWA foray with Ooredoo Kuwait; OneWeb takes on GPS; BT offers half-price broadband for welfare claimants.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) is to begin its big copper switch-off in the northern Italian city of Trento, with the Matterello exchange, which serves an area to the south of the city, being the first in the country to be entirely given over to fiber-to-the-home technology. The district authorities view the shift to FTTH as a vital plank in its strategy of promoting Trento as a smart city. Over the course of the year the operator hopes to apply the same treatment to a further eight cities. (See FiberCop is go after KKR and Fastweb firm up stakes and Italy's TIM seeks co-investors to share cost of FTTH.)

  • Nokia has won a fixed wireless access (FWA) contract with Ooredoo Kuwait, which is using FWA to extend the reach of its fiber to premises beyond the reach of the wireline network. Ooredoo will offer Nokia's FastMile 5G Gateway – incorporating Wi-Fi 6 with self-optimizing mesh technology – to residential and business customers. The 5G Gateway also supports 4G.

  • OneWeb, the London-based low-Earth orbit satellite operator co-owned by the UK government and India's Bharti Global, could be at the heart of a new British navigation system intended to rival to the US-originated Global Positioning System (GPS), according to report in the Telegraph (paywall applies). The UK had been a participant in the European Union-backed Galileo satellite program – itself positioned as a GPS alternative – but pulled out of the program during negotiations to leave the EU. (See Bharti Global, British government consortium wins OneWeb bid, OneWeb hails funding boost from Eutelsat.)

  • BT is following in the footsteps of UK rival Virgin Media by launching an "at cost" broadband plan for those households in receipt of Universal Credit, a form of welfare payment made to those with little or no income. BT Essentials offers 36Mbit/s download speeds (on average) and 700 minutes of calls for £15 (US$20.82) a month, which BT says is around half the price of a standard fiber and calls package. An estimated 4.6 million UK households receive Universal Credit and associated benefits.

  • Well, it makes a change from holograms… Ericsson and Vodafone Portugal have teamed up to demonstrate the wonders of 5G by getting big-name conductor Joana Carneiro to remotely conduct an orchestra using the technology. The conductor, Lisbon Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist were almost 1km apart in three locations and could only see each other via large screens, which were connected on a 5G NSA network configured with 100MHz on 3.6GHz midband test frequency. Vodafone Portugal is hoping to launch 5G as soon as the country’s 5G auction process is complete and relevant licenses are made available.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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