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Eurobites: UK's gigabit rollout needs to roll a lot faster, says EY report

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone extend wholesale agreement; Slovak Telekom switches on 5G with Ericsson; Orange migrates Siemens to SD-WAN.

  • If it doesn't get a wriggle on, the UK will fall well short of its government-mandated target of reaching 85% of the country with gigabit-capable broadband by the end of 2025. That, at least, is the damning verdict of a new report from consultancy EY, which reckons that the rate at which properties are passed by such networks needs to increase by – funnily enough – 85%. This equates to an additional 10,000 properties a day, says EY. The report goes on to warn: "Without urgent action that prioritises broadening the reach of gigabit infrastructure areas across all regions and demographics, the UK's ability to thrive in a post-pandemic world is under threat." Perhaps a little predictably, the report proposes a "holistic, end-to-end approach" as the way to tackle the challenge ahead.

  • Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have extended their fixed-line wholesale agreement for another ten years, guaranteeing Vodafone's access to Telekom's VDSL network as well as existing and future FTTH networks. The new arrangement will strengthen Vodafone in areas of Germany where it does not yet have its own fiber networks.

  • Slovak Telekom – itself part of the Deutsche Telekom empire – has chosen Ericsson to help it switch on 5G commercial services in certain districts of Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. Ericsson's spectrum-sharing technology will come into play, which the vendor says will enable Slovak Telekom to roll out 5G across the country more easily.

  • Orange Business Services wants the world to know that it has successfully migrated 80% of Siemens' global sites to a new SD-WAN as part of a large-scale "digital transformation" project. Orange says it has met Siemens' requirements by "combining SD-WAN technology with cloud- and web-based services and solutions." The migration contract covers 94 countries on five continents and is worth €240 million (US$292 million).

  • The government of the Isle of Man, a so-called "Crown dependency" located between mainland Britain and Ireland, is collaborating with similarly tax-efficient UK outposts Jersey and Guernsey on a "security framework" that it hopes will address the "risks associated with the use of Chinese technology from high-risk vendors." Unlike many pronouncements on this matter, it even names the company that is the focus of such moves: Huawei.

  • IoT specialist Connexin is planning to expand its LoRaWAN connectivity right across the UK, drawing on £80 million ($108 million) in funding it raised in September. It currently has regional networks in place in East and South Yorkshire following deployments in Sheffield with Amey and Yorkshire Water, Hull with Hull City Council and the South Coast with Icosa Water.

  • Dixons Carphone, one of the UK's largest phone retailers, saw half-year electricals (of which phones are a part) revenue rise 17% year-on-year, despite many of its stores being closed for substantial periods during the pandemic. Its online channel proved particularly strong, more than doubling to £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion). It seems the retailer has proved adept at mixing online with brick-and-mortar, introducing elements such as live video shopping, which allows customers online to get "face-to-face" advice from an in-store sales assistant.

  • Spain's Telxius is to provide landing and colocation services for Google's new subsea cable, Grace Hopper, providing a link-up at its landing station in Sopelana and drawing on the transmission capabilities of the nearby Derio Communications Hub in Bilbao.

  • Stockholm-based Enea has signed a network traffic management software upgrade contract worth $4.1 million with an unnamed North American service provider. The software is intended to alleviate radio network congestion, accelerate video delivery and improve subscribers' overall quality of experience.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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