Eurobites: BT boss says planning laws put UK connectivity rollout in the slow lane

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Fastweb sells stake in FiberCop; Georgia's Silknet joins Orange Alliance; IS-Wireless lands Fraunhofer HHI gig.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

June 5, 2024

2 Min Read
BT CEO Allison Kirkby
BT's Allison Kirkby says Scandinavia is 'way ahead' of the UK in terms of connectivity rollout(Source: BT)
  • BT boss Allison Kirkby says that planning laws are largely to blame for the UK's slow progress on the connectivity front, describing Scandinavia – where she used to ply her trade as CEO of Denmark's TDC and later Sweden's Telia – as being "way ahead" of the UK. As the Guardian reports, she told the Deloitte and Enders media and telecoms conference in London that it was "the regulatory environment, the planning environment and the general adoption of digital skills and digital services" rather than market structure that were holding Britain's telcos back. "The Swedes, the Norwegians, the Finnish all expected their highways, their trains, to have great connectivity wherever you were, even when you were up in the northern part of the country," said Kirkby. "A lot of what is not working in the UK is the [fault of the] planning legislation."

  • Swisscom's Italian unit, Fastweb, has sold its stake in FiberCop – the vehicle established by the Telecom Italia (TIM), US investment firm KKR and Fastweb to accelerate the development of fiber infrastructure in Italy – to Optics Bidco, itself a special-purpose subsidiary of KKR. The 4.5% stake was sold for €438.7 million (US$476.7 million). The deal forms part of the long-winded saga that is the selling-off of TIM's fixed-line grid to KKR.

  • Georgian operator Silknet has signed an agreement with Orange, allowing it to draw on the French group's expertise and resources. The deal is just the latest in the Orange Alliance program which seeks to develop partnerships between Orange and telcos that fall outside the usual Orange footprint. Silknet has around 1.8 million mobile customers and 343,000 fixed broadband customers.

  • Orange has also introduced its "Engage for Change" program in the Middle East and Africa, allowing its employees in these regions to devote three working days a year to projects deemed to have a wider beneficial impact on society. In Mali, for example, a team of 200 volunteer Orange employees is participating in the reforestation of an urban park dedicated to children by planting 1,000 trees, while in Ivory Coast 30 hectares in the forest of Azaguié will be the subject of a reforestation project involving 150 employees.

  • Polish RAN vendor IS-Wireless has landed the contract to provide its private 5G mobile network technology to Germany's Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institut as part of CampusOS, an initiative aimed at fostering open 5G campus networks in Germany and the rest of Europe. The installation delivers both indoor and outdoor connectivity and will be based on the principles of open RAN.

  • Spanish fiber provider Adamo is reaping the benefits of implementing Beyond Now's Infonova business support systems (BSS) software, at least according to Beyond Now, which says that Adamo's subscriber base has increased by 237% since it brought Infonova into the mix. The software, says Beyond Now, has helped Adamo push further into more rural areas of Spain.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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