Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Alcatel-Lucent offloads optical R&D staff; Google under the EU microscope; Monitise raises £49.2 million; Ericsson deploys Packet Core in Egypt.
Despite its inclusion in draft documents, the inclusion of net neutrality rules in European Union legislation is in doubt. A net neutrality (or “open Internet”) proposal was included in the Connected Continent legislative package announced in late 2013, but now the EU’s telecom ministers are expected to debate whether the definition of net neutrality should be removed from legislation at a meeting to be held today. The removal is set to be proposed by Italy, which currently holds the EU rotating presidency, according to the Wall Street Journal. In anticipation of any such move to water down open Internet rules, Andrus Ansip, the European Commission vice president with responsibility for the Digital Agenda, spoke in favor of a clear definition of net neutrality in EU legislation when he addressed the European Parliament Wednesday. “I am worried about the direction that the Telecoms Single Market negotiations have taken in the Council, where Member States are divided. The Telecoms Single Market is an essential building block of the Digital Single Market. Without it, we cannot achieve the rest. The European Council asked for it in October 2013, and tomorrow, in the Telecoms Council, Member States need to be ambitious and take a decisive step towards achieving it… The net neutrality concept has to be solid and should be clearly defined,” stated Ansip. (See EC Proposes the Connected Continent.)
The European Commission is also keeping a close eye on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). It wants the search giant to split off the search side of its business from its other, advertising-related cash cows, and is due to vote to this effect later today, reports the BBC. And there's more. The folk in Brussels want Google to extend the "right to be forgotten" principle beyond the European Union make it apply to the search listings on Google's main, US ".com" site, reports Bloomberg, adding that the search giant has also been reprimanded for passing on details of those who had asked for links to be removed to the media, thereby bringing the very people who sought privacy into the glare of publicity. (See Eurobites: EU Warns Google Over 'Right to Be Forgotten' Opportunism.)
As part of its Shift Plan strategy first announced in mid-2013, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has handed over its optical multi-service node R&D operations to Italian partner SM Optics, part of technology development firm SIAE MICROELETTRONICA. As part of the deal, 256 staff at AlcaLu's site in Vimercate, Italy, will join SM Optics, while 110 staff in Shanghai and Chengdu, China, will transfer to a local joint venture operations being set up by SIAE. Alcatel-Lucent says it will "maintain responsibility for product strategy, manufacturing, and market-facing activities related to the technologies concerned," including the 1850 Transport Service Switch (TSS). (See Alcatel-Lucent Builds Future Around IP and Alcatel-Lucent to Cut 10,000 Jobs.)
Monitise plc , the UK developer of "mobile money" platforms, has attracted a £49.2 million (US$77.5 million) investment by Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), Santander and MasterCard to help accelerate the global rollout of its technology. It is also discussing a range of new collaborations with the three companies, covering new products and services. (See Monitise Raises £49.2M, Deepens Partnerships.)
Egyptian operator Mobinil is to deploy Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s packet core technology to offer a faster and slicker mobile broadband service to its customers. The deal, which will see Ericsson providing professional services such as design and integration of the various nodes of the packet core as well as data migration, covers a five-year period. (See Mobinil Deploys Ericsson's Packet Core.)
Nokia Networks has completed its third major GSM-Railway project in Poland, providing mobile infrastructure for the 110km route linking Warsaw with Lodz.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading