Eurobites: Brussels plans pan-EU cyber unit

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: O2 UK accused of return to roaming charges; Openreach rolls on; telcos aim to make parcel delivery more eco-friendly.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

June 24, 2021

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Brussels plans pan-EU cyber unit

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: O2 UK accused of return to roaming charges; Openreach rolls on; telcos aim to make parcel delivery more eco-friendly.

  • The European Commission is proposing a Joint Cyber Unit, which will pool the individual expertise of EU member states to fight large-scale cyberattacks in a more coordinated manner than has been the case to date. The hope is that the unit will have reached its "operational phase" by summer 2022 and be fully established a year later. The unit will be funded by the Commission, primarily through the Digital Europe Programme. Additional contributions, especially to develop member states' cyberdefense capabilities, may come from the European Defence Fund.

    • O2 UK has caught some flak for apparently reintroducing roaming charges for Brits traveling to the EU, albeit in a limited way. As the Independent reports, an email to customers revealed that from August they would be charged £3.50 (US$4.88) for every gigabyte of data above a 25GB cap. A trade agreement signed by the UK left open the possibility of roaming charges – which the EU scrapped in 2017 – making their return for British citizens heading the continent. (See Roaming Fees Could Return, Warns UK Government on Brexit Day and Eurobites: Dunroamin'.)

    • Openreach has revealed plans to bring full-fiber broadband to 551 more UK towns and cities – equating to around 5 million homes and businesses – as part of its £15 billion ($21 billion) push to reach 25 million UK premises with fiber by 2026. Work will start in these newly identified locations later this year. To date, more than 2,400 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets have been included in Openreach's Fibre First program. (See Fiber push in UK might bode ill for BT, BT ups FTTP target to 25M premises by 2026 and Eurobites: Openreach Finally Puts 'Fibre First'.)

    • The parent company of Openreach, BT, says it will "defend itself vigorously" against a class action being brought by blue-chip law firm Mishcon de Raya on behalf of landline-only customers. The case centers on what was deemed by UK communications regulator Ofcom in 2017 to be BT's overcharging of (mainly elderly) landline-only customers for eight years. In its new statement on the matter, BT is understandably keen to portray itself as one of the good guys, pointing to its introduction of so-called "social tariffs" for broadband customers on low incomes and offers of free texts, data and voice minutes to "those who need it most."

    • Proximus is joining forces with Telenet and a number of other companies to take part in a project that will seek to make parcel delivery to consumers and stores a more eco-friendly process. The initiative, called CULT (Collaborative Urban Logistics & Transport), will bundle goods from companies "in a smart way" in warehouses on the outskirts of Antwerp, thereby grouping and reducing the number of trips into the city.

    • Sweden's Agama Technologies has done a deal with US firm Zodiac under the terms of which Zodiac will integrate Agama's client device monitoring system into its Stack device software for set-top boxes and Android Smart TVs.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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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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