Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: African outage latest; Sunrise takes over Lausanne's multimedia network; Arcep updates on fiber rollout.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

March 15, 2024

3 Min Read
Telegraph pole and wires
Nimbys are on the warpath over pole duplication in the overhead delivery of fiber broadband.(Source: AJTFoto/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • A UK government minister has written a letter to operators telling them to make better use of pole-sharing arrangements when deploying fixed-line broadband. The letter has been prompted, says Julia Lopez, the Minister of State for Data and Digital Infrastructure, by concerns expressed by communities in a "small number of areas in England" over the duplication of overhead fiber networks.  MPs representing those in the areas affected say their constituents feel they have, writes the minister, "no control over how infrastructure is deployed in their local area, and this can negatively affect the overall perception of full fibre deployment." She adds: "In the light of increasing concern, it is more important than ever for you to ensure that you are doing everything possible to explore the possibility of sharing existing infrastructure and underground network deployment before making the decision to use telegraph poles."

  • Large parts of sub-Saharan Africa are still experiencing Internet outages after multiple subsea cable disruptions on Thursday, mostly centered on an area off Côte d'Ivoire. Internet connectivity in Côte d'Ivoire was down to around 4% on Thursday morning, according to cybersecurity firm Netblocks. As the BBC reports, outages have been reported in Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana and Burkina Faso.

  • Swiss operator Sunrise is taking over the SiL multimedia network in the city of Lausanne. The network, which connects more than 17,000 homes in the region, will take place in stages from May 2024 until roughly the end of the year. Service will be offered under the tongue-mangling Bliblablo brand name.

  • Three-quarters of all broadband subscriptions in France were of the "superfast" variety as of December 31, 2023, according to the latest fiber update from Arcep, the French communications regulator. That equates to 24.2 million superfast connections. By contrast, "classic" (or non-fiber-based) broadband subscriptions had dropped to 8.1 million. Rollout-wise, of the 44.1 million premises in Metropolitan France listed by operators, 38 million were passed for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), with 1 million additional premises being passed for FTTH in the fourth quarter of 2023 – 25% fewer than in Q4 2022.

  • The Italian government has expressed its confidence in Telecom Italia's post-fixed-network sell-off "industrial plan," – the same plan that so spooked investors when it was revealed just over a week ago. As Reuters reports, Italy's Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said: "We believe the project presented in the business plan is absolutely sustainable." The operator's share price dipped 14% in a few hours' trading immediately following the announcement of the plan, with analysts expressing unease over the outlook on future debt levels.

  • Vodafone UK is attempting to persuade potential customers to switch to its fiber broadband service by offering them £100 (US$127) to help cover early contract termination fees that may apply when they make the move. It claims that people who are currently with providers that use the Openreach network, including BT, EE and Sky, can get the same full-fiber broadband for less – up to £200 ($255) a year less, in the case of BT – by switching to Vodafone.

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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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