Broadband services

Eurobites: We're Watching You, Ofcom Tells Openreach

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Openreach tests 25G/100G symmetric PON prototype with Huawei; Deutsche Telekom enters network-sharing agreement with EWE; Colt teams up with Equinix.

  • UK regulator Ofcom is to set up a unit dedicated to keeping a close eye on Openreach , the BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) network access division that is being legally divorced from its parent company. The Openreach Monitoring Unit will aim to assess whether new governance rules are being followed by both Openreach and BT, and that they are, as the Ofcom statement says, "creating a successful culture that values Openreach's independence." Pressure was put on BT to distance itself from Openreach to ensure that BT cannot use Openreach ownership to gain an unfair advantage over broadband rivals that rely on Openreach's networks. (See BT Agrees to Openreach Split, BT Bulks Up Openreach Board to Appease Ofcom and Eurobites: Ofcom Closes In On Openreach.)

  • Away from the politics, Openreach has been testing a 25G/100G symmetric PON prototype with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd in order, as the Chinese giant puts it, to "prepare for 5G speeds." The prototype supports a single channel of 25 Gbit/s and supports two or four channels for business and mobile backhaul services. When tested in Openreach labs, the prototype supported four channels, delivering a maximum symmetric bandwidth of 100 Gbit/s.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has entered into a network-sharing agreement with EWE TEL GmbH , an arrangement the pair hope will improve their respective broadband services in north-west Germany. The agreement covers nearly 400 local networks in Lower Saxony, Bremen and parts of North Rhine-Westphalia.

  • Colt Technology Services Group Ltd has teamed up with Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) to interconnect Colt's IQ Network with the Equinix Cloud Exchange. The deal will allow Equinix to offer access to more than 50 cloud service providers, while Colt customers will be able to enjoy high-bandwidth connectivity to Equinix's global platform of data centers.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has won a legal battle in France which means it will not have to pay €1.1 billion (US$1.25 billion) in back taxes. As the BBC reports, a court in Paris ruled that the search giant's Irish subsidiary was not liable for tax in France. Google employs 700 people in France, but contracts for advertising intended for display in France are booked through its subsidiary in Ireland.

  • UK-based Rockley Photonics is to match government funding to unlock a £4.8 million ($6.2 million) investment in its partnership with the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) to support research into how silicon photonics technology can be used to improve data center communications networks.

  • Vertu , the British manufacturer of jewel-encrusted "luxury" smartphones, has been wound up with the loss of 200 jobs, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). The owner, Murat Hakan Uzan, had attempted to buy the company back out of administration, but his bid failed. Uzan is, however, keeping hold of the Vertu brand, technology and design licenses, so the brand may return in some form one day to serve the "more money than sense" vertical.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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