Eurobites: UK eyes Starlink solution to problem of the unconnected

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Turkcell's lawsuit against MTN is dismissed; Nokia lands DCI deal with AtNorth; Ofcom probes mid-contract price rises.

  • The UK government plans to use Elon Musk's Starlink satellite broadband service as part of its strategy to get connectivity to hard-to-reach areas of Britain. As the Guardian reports, the low-Earth orbit (LEO) technology will be trialed at three locations: Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire, Wasdale Head in the Lake District and two sites within the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. The move could be seen as a surprising one, seeing that the UK government co-owns OneWeb, a rival satellite platform it (along with India's Bharti Global) saved from near-oblivion in 2020. However, the government did say that it was also looking at other options from a range of suppliers. (See Eurobites: OneWeb emerges from Chapter 11, hires new CEO.)

    (Source:  Official Space X Photos on Flickr CC2.0)
    (Source: Official Space X Photos on Flickr CC2.0)

  • The Starlink constellation is also driving the ambitions of World Mobile, which is planning to expand its network in Africa, using Starlink as a backhaul option for providing Internet to its AirNodes (the network's Internet access points). The company says it has started to deploy its hybrid mesh network in Zanzibar through a network of AirNodes and aerostats with a coverage radius of up to 70km, while it is in talks with a number of other African countries, Mozambique and Nigeria among them, about further expanding its network.

  • South Africa's High Court has finally dismissed Turkcell's lawsuit against MTN, an action that was launched in 2013 following allegations of "impropriety" relating to the award of the first private mobile license in Iran. Turkcell and its EAC subsidiary had been seeking $4.2 billion in damages.

  • Nokia has landed a data center interconnect deal with AtNorth, a data center operator based in the Nordics. Nokia's interconnect routers, implementing the vendor's SR Linux network operating system (NOS), will be deployed as core switching data center leaf platforms for AtNorth's data center fabric.

  • As soaring inflation continues to raise the cost of living in the UK, the country's communications regulator, Ofcom, has launched an investigation into the transparency or otherwise of mid-contract price rises imposed by companies on their mobile and broadband customers. Specifically, Ofcom wants to find out whether consumers who took out contracts between March 1, 2021 and June 16, 2022 were provided with sufficiently clear information about such price rises, which are usually applied in March or April each year.

  • A joint project between the UN and EU is looking to digitize the remittance market in The Gambia, helping private sector partners to target marginalized rural communities to unlock the potential of remittances being sent from abroad by mobile phone. The Gambia has one of the highest rates of remittances (as a percentage of its economy) anywhere in the world.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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