Broadband services

Eurobites: UK Govt Rows Back on '10 Mbit/s for All'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Irish election hopes depend on decent broadband; Inmarsat shares plummet after sales warning; Sonera removes Finns-only sales rule.

  • The UK government is rowing back on its commitment to supply 10Mbit/s broadband to every corner of the country, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. The report says that a consultation on the proposed "universal service obligation" has concluded that it is "unlikely that everyone will want to be connected, even if that option is made available to them," and that a universal rollout would not represent good value for money for the taxpayer. The government's Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, also suggested that individuals in particularly hard-to-reach areas might have to make a financial contribution themselves to get 10Mbit/s downlink -- a suggestion that has not gone down well with rural campaigners. (See Eurobites: UK Govt Ups Pace on '10 Mbit/s for All'.)

  • The ability to deliver decent broadband to remote corners of the country is also a big issue in Ireland, reports Bloomberg. It's so big, in fact, that the issue could decide whether Prime Minister Enda Kenny gets a second term in office, according to the report. One independent MP there complained that broadband services were "better on the moon" than they were in the west of Ireland.

  • Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT), the British satellite company that provides broadband and other communications via satellites for boats, airplanes and remote locations, saw its shares fall more than 7% in Thursday trading, reports the Financial Times (subscription required), following a warning that its sales would be lower than anticipated this year. Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said that recession in the maritime and energy markets was chiefly to blame.

  • Sonera, the Finnish unit of Telia Company , has removed a statement from its website which said only Finnish customers were allowed to buy a mobile phone from it in instalments. The issue, reported by YLE, came to light when a British journalist working in Finland tried and failed to arrange a two-year payment plan for a new phone at Sonera's store in Kamppi.

  • British Airways has struck a deal with Gogo that will see the airline being able to offer satellite-based WiFi connectivity on its long-haul flights, reports the Daily Telegraph. Gogo already has a similar deal in place with Delta Airlines. (See Gogo Approved to Speed Up In-Flight WiFi.)

  • Vodafone UK is introducing bundles that allow its users to roam with their mobile phones in 40 countries without incurring extra data charges, as long as they remain below the monthly data caps, which start at 1GB. Prices for the various bundles start at £18 (US$26) a month.

  • Is it the beginning of the end for DVDs? A new survey by Strategy Analytics Inc. says that this year, for the first time, the amount spent by Brits on video streaming subscriptions and movie/TV downloads will outstrip that spent on buying and renting DVDs.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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