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Cloud Services

Eurobites: BT Flags Up Cloud Salvo

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Europe's boffin cloud; Vodafone does FTTH in Italy; Africa-1 cable system takes shape.

  • Following its recent acquisition of mobile operator EE, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has flagged up the launch of a "new wave of innovative services" in the next few weeks as part of its so-called Cloud of Clouds strategy. The launches will include, among other things, UK and global mobility services leveraging EE's network; an expansion of cloud connectivity as well as additional SDN and consultancy capabilities, and new security and professional services. (See BT Gets Final Go-Ahead for $17.9B EE Takeover.)

  • Elsewhere on the cloud front, the European Commission has announced the launch of the European Open Science Cloud, which offers researchers, scientists and technology professionals a virtual environment where they can store and share their data. It will be underpinned by the European Data Infrastructure, using high-bandwidth networks and large-scale storage facilities.

  • Vodafone Italy launched what it claims is the country's first 500Mbit/s broadband service, taking advantage of fiber-to-the-home technology to achieve the higher connection speeds. The service is currently available in the cities of Milan, Bologna and Turin, according to Vodafone's statement. Vodafone says its 100Mbit/s broadband service is now available to more than 8.5 million households and businesses up and down the country. Incumbent operator Telecom Italia (TIM) is also investing in fiber-based networks, while energy company Enel SpA recently announced plans to spend €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) on an FTTH network covering about 7.5 million homes. Telecom Italia was recently reported to be considering as many as 15,000 job cuts in Italy as a result of Enel's move into the fiber broadband market. (See Eurobites: Italy's Enel in $2.8B FTTH Plan and Eurobites: 15,000 Telecom Italia Jobs at Risk.)

  • Vodacom Pty. Ltd. , Vodafone's South African unit, is mulling over a bid for Broadband Infraco, a state-owned Internet company, reports Bloomberg. Last month Vodacom abandoned a plan to acquire another ISP, Neotel, for 7 billion rand (US$479 million).

  • World Telecom Labs, an emerging-markets networks specialist based in Belgium, has joined the likes of Nokia and Deutsche Telekom as a member of Facebook 's Telecom Infra Project (TIP), a consortium that was launched at Mobile World Congress and is working towards "open sourcing" communications networking technologies to help realize Mark Zuckerberg's vision of connecting everyone on the planet. (See Facebook TIPs Telcos Towards Open Source Networks.)

  • MTN Group Ltd. , PCCW Global, Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) , Telecom Egypt and Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a view to building the new "Africa-1" cable system connecting Africa with the Middle East, South Central Asia and onwards to Europe. Africa-1, which is scheduled to come into service in the third quarter of 2017, will have at least a three-fiber pair core that extends more than 12,000km along Africa's east coast towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, with up to an additional 5,000km for branches.

  • Orange Business Services has joined forces with Konetik, a UK startup, to help it launch a fleet management system. OBS will supply SIM cards for the system, which will initially launch in Germany.

  • A new report from Which?, the UK consumer rights organization, has revealed that mobile customers were only able to access 4G 53% of the time on average across the UK's four networks. EE customers were found to have the best 4G coverage, with customers able to access a 4G signal 60.6% of the time. The full findings of the report, conducted by OpenSignal, can be found here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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