Eurobites: EU Gets Tough on Net Neutrality

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Tele Columbus plans IPO; AlcaLu teams up with Accenture; data sonification -- can you dig it?

  • The incoming European Union telecoms commissioner -- who will replace Neelie ("doesn't rhyme with 'steely'") Kroes -- has nailed his colors firmly to the mast of net neutrality, Reuters reports. Germany's Guenther Oettinger said: "Net neutrality is a common interest for all users and for all citizens, and additionally in the public interest -- emergency cases and so on -- there may be an exemption, but not for businesses, not for business cases, therefore we need neutrality for all users." In other words, the likes of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) shouldn't be able to do deals with operators to guarantee faster Internet access. (See Could Europe's Net Neutrality Legislation Cause a Comms Car Crash?)

  • Tele Columbus AG , Germany's third-largest cable operator with a particularly strong presence in the east of the country, has announced plans for an IPO by the end of the year. The company expects the move would generate at least €300 million (US$377 million), and the money would be used to reduce its debt and provide greater financial flexibility for its growth strategy. (See Tele Columbus Announces IPO.)

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is in a friendly mood. It has formed an alliance with business consultancy Accenture to jointly market "ultra-broadband solutions" to large enterprises, with Accenture providing the business-transformation knowhow and AlcaLu providing the technical bits. The two companies are starting their collaboration with a focus "customer care for mobile devices based on Alcatel-Lucent's Motive line of products." They also plan to "explore small cell wireless network solutions with a focus on integrating cellular technology and WiFi between service providers and large enterprises." Alcatel-Lucent has also formed a partnership with JCDecaux, which is very big in "street furniture"-related advertising, such as billboards on bus shelters, for example. The partnership will allow AlcaLu to better integrate its small cells with JCDecaux's street furniture, improving connectivity in urban areas without, it is hoped, creating too much visual clutter. (See Alcatel-Lucent, Accenture Form Customer Care Unit.)

  • Sweden's Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) says it has completed the modernization of its mobile networks in the Baltics, following the recent upgrade of its Estonian network. Nokia Networks has been Tele2's partner in the modernization program.

  • Sky has invested $5 million in Sharethrough, which is described as a specialist in "native advertising," offering software that enables publishers to monetize their sites and apps with ads that are "non-interruptive" and blend into the surrounding content. (Sneaky, huh?) As part of the the deal, Jamie West, deputy managing director of Sky Media, will take a board observer position at Sharethrough.

  • TalkTalk and Three UK , UK service providers that are looking to challenge the big boys in the triple- and quad-play arenas, have called on regulator Ofcom to make it much easier to switch mobile providers, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). In a letter to Ofcom, the respective CEOs said they wanted to see the introduction of a "gaining provider led system," meaning a system under which consumers need only speak to their potential new provider, rather than having to obtain a code from their existing provider.

  • What happens when seven physicists play music inside the world's most powerful particle accelerator? It's a question we often ask ourselves during quiet moments at Eurobites Towers. Well, now we have the answer. You get music based on the translation into melody (or "sonification," if you will) of scientific data collected by the four main Large Hadron Collider experiments. And it's really quite groovy: Lie back on your chaise longue and check it out here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • MikeP688 9/30/2014 | 4:21:45 PM
    Glad to see this from Europe.... I hope that our Friends at the FCC actually listen to what Europe is doing on Net Neutraility.  I made it a point of sharing my concerns with the FCC..and I did get a "response"--whether it is "hot air" remains to be seen:

    Thank you very much for the input you provided into the public record of our ongoing Open Internet proceeding.

    As of 11:59pm on September 15, 2014, the comment cycle of this proceeding is now closed. I'm very glad that the record will include your thoughts and opinions—along with those of others from all over the country—in what has become the most commented FCC proceeding in history.

    I am a strong supporter of the Open Internet, and I will fight to keep the internet open. Thanks once more for sharing your views.

    Tom Wheeler
    Federal Communications Commission
    jabailo 9/30/2014 | 12:18:16 PM
    Is this all about the streaming? For most websites and Apps, the amount of data transferred is trivial right?  Even gaming sends ASCII streams of numbers.

    So we're mostly talking about who is paying for the pipes to transport streaming video, correct?   I'd say that in that case, neutrality doesn't really have a good argument to make.

    It's one thing to say someone's edge political site, full of black and white text screeds, should be equally accessible to all without blocking.  It seems like another that a private entity can stuff gigabits of content down and optical fiber without bearing any of associated costs.

    In this case, establishing "neutrality" seems to be the opposite of what is being argued.
    mendyk 9/30/2014 | 10:20:56 AM
    Re: Do re mi Maybe my chaise is not longue enough. For the record, I'm ok with keeping things in the major keys.
    PaulERainford 9/30/2014 | 10:09:37 AM
    Re: Do re mi Well Dennis, I did advise you to recline on your chaise longue. The clues were there.

    Maybe the 12-inch remix will be more up your alley.
    mendyk 9/30/2014 | 8:49:00 AM
    Do re mi Data sonification -- I expected something a little more 12-toney. And faster. Much, much faster.
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