Eurobites: Virgin Media O2 adds 1.6M UK homes to gigabit reach

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange's Enovacom secures patient data; Telkom ponders future of IT biz; Telefónica boss warms to Benjamin Button theme.

  • UK converged operator Virgin Media O2 says its latest switch-on – which adds 1.6 million homes to its gigabit network – means that more than 90% of homes across its network can now access average download speeds of 1,130 Mbit/s. This statistic, it says, puts it "within touching distance" of its ambition of upgrading its entire UK network to gigabit speeds. Currently Virgin relies on a combination of DOCSIS 3.1 cable and FTTP technology to fulfill its gigabit promises, but in July the company announced its intention to upgrade its fixed network to full fiber, with completion scheduled for 2028. This would put its current speeds in the shade, with unadulterated full-fiber technology capable of delivering symmetrical 10Gbit/s download and upload speeds.

  • Enovacom, the healthcare software company acquired by Orange Business Services in 2018, has launched a new app which, it says, enables healthcare establishments to securely share patient data before, during and after their admission. The Patient Link offering is based on Enovacom's healthcare data warehouse that structures healthcare data for future use.

  • South African operator Telkom is considering "strategic options" for BCX, its IT subsidiary, according to a Reuters report. BCX's business has been hit by a combination of reduced investments by pandemic-struck enterprises and global supply chain issues, says the report. Telkom also revealed its half-year results, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) up 1.2% year-on-year, to 6.0 billion South African rand (US$398 million), on revenue that was flat at R21.3 billion ($1.4 billion). Mobile subscribers increased by 18.8% to 16.3 million.

  • Nokia is to supply its 400GE IP edge routing platforms to the London Internet Exchange (LINX), the UK interconnection and peering community, to provide improved connectivity for LINX's 950+ membership. The Finnish vendor will supply its FP silicon powered 7750 Service Router (SR) platforms with 400GE network interfaces to upgrade the LINX network to offer high-speed IP routing for interconnection and peering.

  • Arcep, the French communications regulator, has promoted Olivier Corolleur to the position of deputy director-general and director of Arcep's Fiber, Infrastructure and Territories department, which deals with fixed broadband market regulation. Corolleur, a state industrial engineer, joined Arcep in 2010.

  • UK regulator Ofcom wants to prevent the removal of payphone kiosks in certain locations. Specifically, it says the kiosk should remain if its location is not already covered by all four mobile networks; if it is located at an accident or suicide hotspot; if more than 52 calls have been made from it over the past 12 months; or if exceptional circumstances mean there is a need for a public call box. Ofcom reckons that around 5,000 phone boxes around the UK will be protected from removal by the new rules. BT and KCOM – which phone boxes in the northern city of Hull – must also install batteries in some payphones, so they can still be used during a power cut.

  • Has Telefónica's CEO been at the sangria? Or is he just secretly harboring grandiose literary ambitions? In a new blog this week José María Álvarez-Pallete uses and quite possibly abuses a Benjamin Button theme to explain where exactly Telefónica is at in 2021. "Like Benjamin Button, we were born but with the body of an elderly person," begins the Telefónica boss. But wait, what's this? Telefónica's decrepit old bod has undergone a renaissance: "Our old copper bones were transformed into fibre bones. We replaced our old analogue senses with state-of-the-art technology and, whilst previously there had been some delay in our reactions, latency disappeared … And today, we have the backbone to be able to change without surrendering our experience which tells us that, on some occasions, it is necessary to dedicate time and space to things." Crikey. You'd better just run that past us again, José…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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