Eurobites: Ofcom Assesses State of the Digital Nation

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: AlcaLu partners with startup hub; Ericsson goes to the Opera; euro-cablers buoyant; Nokia mapping on iOS.

  • UK regulator Ofcom is to undertake a second major assessment of the country's digital communications markets, following up a similar exercise a decade ago which led to the introduction of a raft of new rules. The review will focus on three main areas: ensuring the right incentives are in place for private sector investment; maintaining strong competition; and identifying the need for deregulation in certain areas. The announcement has already prompted a response from broadband provider TalkTalk , whose CEO Dido Harding has taken the opportunity to push for a fully independent infrastructure access provider, rather than the current scenario, which has access provider Openreach as a division of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). She said in a statement: “It is crucial that we now seize this opportunity to structurally separate Openreach. A fully independent Openreach focused exclusively on infrastructure would be incentivised to maximise coverage and improve quality of service for customers. It would end BT’s ability to erode competition, stimulating innovation, consumer choice and lower prices."

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has formed a partnership with Partech Shaker, a Paris-based startup incubator backed by venture capitalist Partech Ventures. The incubator, based in a former newspaper office in the south of the city, is currently home to 20 startups.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is collaborating with mobile browser firm Opera Software ASA , integrating Opera's Rocket Platform into its Media Delivery Network, thereby raising new advertising-related monetization possibilities for operators.

  • Cable Europe, the industry lobby group, is feeling in buoyant mood, announcing a 4.6% growth in European cable revenues in 2014, reports Reuters. Cable operators in the European Union notched up €21.5 billion ($22.8 billion) in revenues last year, with half of that figure deriving from broadband and voice services.

  • Germany's ADVA Optical Networking is to host a joint demonstration of virtual CPE with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) at next week's MPLS SDN World Congress. The collaborators are intending to show how NFV can be used to replace dedicated hardware with software applications. (See ADVA, Brocade, Check Point Team Up on Virtual CPE.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has made its HERE map app available to download for free from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s App Store. The Android version of the app has already been downloaded more than 4 million times.

  • Privacy activists have hailed a decision by a Dutch court to abolish a law requiring telcos to save tracking data on their customers for possible use by the police, reports Reuters. The Justice Ministry is considering an appeal.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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