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Eurobites: UK think-tank casts doubt on government's 2025 fiber deadline

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EU weighs in on telco data retention; Ericsson still well in at Bharti Airtel; Orange's IoT tech keeps tabs on gas tanks.

  • The Social Media Foundation, a high-profile UK think-tank, has expressed its concern over government policy on fiber rollout, casting doubt on whether, under the current regulatory framework, the government's target of delivering full fiber broadband "to every home in the land" by 2025 is achievable. In its study, "Funding fibre," the Foundation suggests the recent easing of wholesale price controls for OpenreachBT's semi-detached network access division – could undermine competition in the broadband market and calls on the government to better incentivize investment in fiber rollout by committing to buying full-fiber broadband services to provide a degree of certainty of demand for such products. It's probably significant that the study is "supported" by BT rival TalkTalk.

  • Europe's top court has ruled that European law overrides whatever legislation EU member states pass in relation to requiring telcos to retain personal data for the purpose of combating crime or safeguarding national security. However, the court acknowledged that "in situations where a Member State is facing a serious threat to national security that proves to be genuine and present and foreseeable" that member states may derogate from the EU directive and retain data for a period that is "limited in time to what is strictly necessary, but which may be extended if the threat persists."

  • India's Bharti Airtel has extended its RAN contract with Ericsson for a few more years (number unspecified), as the operator continues its quest make its network "5G-ready." Airtel will continue to deploy Ericsson's Radio System and its MINI-LINK 6000 series of microwave products. (See Here's how Indian telcos are preparing for 5G.)

  • SHV Energy, a global distributor of off-grid energy such as LPG, has turned to Orange Business Services for its IoT connectivity needs. Orange will deploy "smart telemetry" on SHV's gas tanks across Europe and the US, helping to reduce the risk of its customers' tanks running dry and reducing carbon emissions.

  • A1 Telekom Austria has landed a TV distribution deal with Trace, a broadcaster of music and lifestyle channels for the Asian market. The operator, which already provides technical broadcasting services to a number of TV channels and pay-TV operators across the world, will deliver the channels Trace Urban and Trace Sports Stars to cable and IPTV operators within the footprint of the Apstar-7 satellite at 76.5° East.

  • Hyperoptic, a UK altnet that specializes in supplying fiber to multi-dwelling units (MDUs), has appointed Peter Ryan as its new managing director of infrastructure. Previously, Ryan served as chief network engineering officer at Australia's NBN and held senior positions at Vodafone UK. In 2019 Hyperoptic was acquired by KKR, a US-based investment firm. (See Eurobites: Hyperoptic Bags £21M EIB Loan for UK Gigabit Rollout.)

  • Three UK is hoping to cash in on the continuing pandemic-related travel restrictions by offering a couple of international calling "add-ons," which it says could help its customers avoid bill shock after contacting loved ones in foreign parts. "Call Abroad 100" offers 100 minutes of calls to landlines and mobiles in 55 countries for £5 (US$6.42) a month, while "Call Abroad Unlimited" allows unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles in 55 countries for £10 ($12.85) a month. Australia, China, India, Poland, Romania and the US are among the countries on the Call Abroad list.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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