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Eurobites: BT sidles into SoHo

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia trials satellite Internet service; ADVA supplies gear for TIP proof of concept; Orange makes health-tech move in Africa.

  • BT is making a play for the microbusiness or "SoHo" sector with the launch of a new unit dedicated to its needs and a new, ahem, "unbreakable" Wi-Fi package which offers 4G backup if the fixed-line offering goes down. The new unit will sit within BT's existing Enterprise division and promises technical support and security, among other things, while the broadband package – which is essentially a tweak of the Halo for business tier it launched last year – offers fixed-line speeds of up to 900 Mbit/s plus mobile backup for a monthly price of at least £45 ($63.72) per month.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) is to trial a satellite Internet service for customers in areas not covered by the operator's fixed-line network. The new service offers download speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s via Eutelsat's Konnect satellite. Those who are prepared to give it a whirl (or at least the first 3,000 of them to do so) will be given the free loan of a satellite kit and free installation. TIM says testing will be carried out across "almost the entire country" and that it will be complete by October.

  • Germany's ADVA wants the world to know that its FSP 3000 open line system (OLS) and Ensemble Controller network management and SDN domain controller system played a key role in a recent Telecom Infra Project (TIP) open optical networking proof of concept (PoC). According to ADVA, the PoC showed how multivendor network components can be managed by a unified software-defined networking (SDN) control system.

  • Orange and AXA Assurance Maroc have signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in DabaDoc, a Moroccan health-tech company that is looking to digitalize access to healthcare in Africa. DabaDoc has developed products that are used by thousands of healthcare professionals in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, and the new investment is intended to accelerate DabaDoc's growth in other regions, in particular sub-Saharan Africa.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has begun work on its £25 million ($35.4 million) fiber rollout in the historic city of Bath. Its build partner on the project, which is expected to be completed by 2023, is Kier Group.

  • Irish operator Eir has appointed four new directors to the board of Eircom Holdings (Ireland) Limited, bringing the total number of board directors to 13. The four new faces are: Aoife Beirne, chief transformation officer and director of plastics company Mergon Group; Miriam Hughes, former CEO of communications firm DDFH&B Group; Pierre-Emmanuel Durand, of telecoms investor NJJ; and Alexandre Wauquiez, former CEO of SFR Business, and also a member of NJJ. Richard Moat and Pádraig Ó Ríordáin have both retired from the board following completion of their respective three-year terms.

  • A number of online dating apps have signed up to a UK government scheme that allows users to display an online "badge" to show they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. But, as the BBC reports, there is no way of verifying that users are telling the truth, so how useful the scheme is remains open to question. Tinder, Match, Hinge, Bumble, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime and Muzmatch have all signed up to the scheme, though Grindr and Scruff have not.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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