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Regulation

Eurobites: Brits In Line for Cashback Over Fixed-Line Fails

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson and SoftBank trial 28GHz 5G; Proximus rolls trucks on fiber program; EU treads carefully in Google case; Deutsche Telekom monkeys around with 4G and VR.

  • UK regulator Ofcom is proposing new laws that will force landline and broadband providers to pay automatic compensation to customers if their level of service fails to match up to certain yardsticks. If the proposals come into force, customers whose broadband goes down would be eligible for £10 (US$12.49) a day in compensation for each calendar day that the service remains unfixed (after two full working days), and if the engineer doesn't turn up for a scheduled appointment the customer will be in line for a £30 ($37.48) payout. Ofcom estimates that these new rules would mean that up to 2.6 million additional landline and broadband customers could receive up to £185 million ($231 million) in new compensation payments each year. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is hooking up with Japan's SoftBank Corp. to demonstrate 5G using the Swedish vendor's mmWave 28GHz 5G test-bed system, which comprises basestations, device prototypes and technologies such as Massive MIMO and beamforming. The trial will take place in Tokyo.

  • Belgium's Proximus has started sending out the trucks for its "Fiber for Ghent" program, which it announced in December. In the coming weeks, businesses and homes in the historic city will be connected as part of a ten-year, €3 billion ($3.24 billion) "Fiber for Belgium" program to push fiber to more than 85% of all business and more than half of all households in Belgium. (See Eurobites: Proximus Invests €3B in Fiber Frenzy.)

  • The European Commission is treading carefully in its investigation into Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s shopping search service, anxious that any remedy it proposes will still be relevant in five years' time, Bloomberg reports. The Commission is worried that Google unfairly promotes its own price-comparison sites at the expense of others, but is wary of devising overly-prescriptive solutions to the perceived problem.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is getting down with the kids and joining forces with Gorillaz, the virtual/cartoon band created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The German operator says it will be using its 4G network in combination with augmented and virtual reality to create a campaign that will "unlock a new dimension in music across Europe." Something like this, then, presumably.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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