Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: AlcaLu turbocharges copper in Austria; European Commission rethinks digital content rules; Ericsson wins.
UK mobile operator EE has, as widely anticipated, been officially awarded the contract to provide a new, 4G-based emergency services network that is used by police and other agencies. EE's network will replace AirWave Wireless Inc. 's TETRA network, which is based on Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI) technology. The phased transition of users to the new network is scheduled to begin in mid-2017, as current contracts expire, and the project will entail the building of 500 new 4G sites. Airwave had been in the running for the contract but its bid was rejected, and last week it issued a legal challenge to the UK government, claiming unfair treatment during the bid process. (See Motorola Pays $1.2B for UK Public-Safety Operator.)
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has been chosen to soup up the fixed broadband network of Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) subsidiary A1, using a combination of copper-boosting G.fast and Vplus technologies. G.fast can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s aggregate, while Vplus offers 200 Mbit/s over copper at distances of up to 500 meters and 300 Mbit/s over distances shorter than 250 meters. (See Copper Soldiers On: Broadband Special Report Part 1.)
The European Commission has proposed a new set of rules that aim to standardize consumers' access to online goods and services across the European Union. The proposals fall into two categories: one set deals with the supply of digital content, such as streaming services, and aims to ensure that, for example, a UK-based subscriber to Netflix could still access the service when on holiday in Italy; the other proposals deal with the online sale of physical goods, such as clothes, and aim to iron out differences in consumer contract law across the region. The hope is that the proposals, if they become law, will make life easier for both consumers and suppliers of goods sold online. The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has given the thumbs-up to the proposals that relate to digital content, saying in a statement that they "fully support the European Commission in their endeavour to ensure wider access to content in the EU to provide more choice to people and also to allow artists/right holders to share their creative content to a wider audience," though it still believes more work needs to be done on the harmonization of the "private copy levy" regime, which is applied in some countries where copying of content for private use is allowed.
Talking of ETNO, the trade body has just published its Annual Economic Report, which finds, among other things, that the decline in European telecom service revenue growth has decelerated to -1.1%, compared with -3% last year. IDATE, the think-tank behind the report, believes that a return to the positive will happen in the next couple of years. To download the full report, click here.
A couple of business wins for Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) to report: First, Vodafone Portugal has chosen the Swedish vendor's Media Delivery Network to help improve the viewing experience for its mobile video customers; and, second, Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has deployed the Ericsson Network Manager, which provides operators with a common view of network resources and services, in its 4G network. (See Swisscom Deploys Ericsson's Network Manager.)
GÉANT , the European R&D association, has teamed up with African counterparts the UbuntuNet Alliance, ASREN and WACREN in a €26.6 million (US29.1 million) EU co-funded project to provide dedicated high-speed Internet all over Africa. AfricaConnect2, as the network is called, will allow researchers and academics in Africa and beyond to collaborate on a range of R&D projects, and it will seek to build on the success of the original AfricaConnect project.
UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is extending its fiber broadband into pastures new, specifically, six villages in the county of Leicestershire, in England's East Midlands. When the buildout is complete, 16,000 homes will be passed in the area, with residents of Blaby, Countesthorpe and Enderby the first to potentially benefit from a dash of DOCSIS 3.