Eurobites: VMO2 restarts digital switchover

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: OneWeb improves connectivity in the Antarctic; how Telefónica benefits the world; Arm targets edge AI with new processor.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

April 9, 2024

2 Min Read
VMO2 technician at work
(Source: Virgin Media O2)
  • UK converged operator Virgin Media O2 has restarted its digital landline switchover program after a three-month pause, but only for those who are not classed as "vulnerable" or using a telecare device such as a pendant. The program, which is intended to ensure that all home phone lines will be delivered over Virgin's digital network in the future, has faced something of a customer backlash, as has BT's equivalent program. In February VMO2 was investigated by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, over its compliance with rules intended to protect vulnerable customers during the switchover – not least the potential loss of connectivity caused by the fact that digital lines, unlike traditional copper lines, are susceptible to power cuts. VMO2 is now calling on the UK government to create a "telecare charter" that encourages telecare providers, local authorities and others to work more closely with the telecom industry.

  • Eutelsat OneWeb is bringing better broadband to ice-bound boffins carrying out research work in Antarctica. Previously, scientists at the Rothera Research Station had to put up with, at best, 1-5 Mbit/s on both uplink and downlink but now, thanks to the launch of OneWeb's low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite services in the region, they will get data rates of up to 120 Mbit/s. The new system includes a ground station in Chile along with a user terminal at the research station some 1,000 miles away.

  • Telefónica is trumpeting the economic benefits it brings to various corners of the Earth through its operations. Citing its Consolidated Management Report 2023, the Spain-based operator says its various business activities generated €49.14 billion (US$53.42 billion) in gross domestic product (GDP) in the main countries where it was present in 2023. In addition, claims the company, for every euro generated by its business, an additional 1.6 euros was gained through expenditure and investment, while each Telefónica employee created more than ten additional indirect jobs. The company also says it coughed up a total tax contribution of €7.58 billion ($8.23 billion) in its main markets in 2023.

  • UK chip design company Arm has unveiled a new processor aimed at the edge AI market. Called the Ethos-U85, Arm says it delivers four times more performance and 20% better power efficiency than its predecessor. Arm says the processor will address applications such as factory automation and commercial or smart-home cameras.

  • UK Internet service provider LilaConnect is rolling out fiber coverage to more than 6,900 homes and businesses in the Midlands region over the next 12 weeks, with parts of Leek and Stoke being brought into the LilaConnect fold. LilaConnect is owned by Freedom Fibre.

  • Testing services company Element has joined the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), the cross-industry organization that brings together automotive, technology and telecom companies – BMW, Ericsson and Nokia among them – to develop products for the connected mobility market.

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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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