Eurobites: BT co-opts street cabinets for EV charging

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone edges toward advanced networks; Ooredoo revenue up 4% in Q1; Meta under the EU microscope, again.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

May 1, 2024

3 Min Read
BT's new-style EV charging points are powered from nearby street cabinets.(Source: BT)
  • BT has unveiled the first of what it hopes will be many electric-vehicle (EV) charging points powered from its street cabinets, the familiar chunks of street furniture traditionally used for storing broadband and phone cabling. The switching on of the charging point, in East Lothian, Scotland, forms part of a nationwide pilot by Etc., BT's sentence-wrecking "incubation hub." Local residents will be able to use the point for free until the end of the month as part of the pilot. It is envisaged that the next such charging point will be set up in West Yorkshire; ultimately BT hopes to have 600 trial sites across the UK. To use the charging point, EV drivers will have to download a dedicated trial app from Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store. The app offers them live updates on battery, information on estimated cost/charge times and access to their charging history. BT's own research found that 78% of petrol and diesel drivers see not being able to conveniently charge an EV as a key barrier to buying one.

  • Vodafone has signed up to LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation dedicated, as its name suggests, to collaboration on edge computing. The operator hopes that membership of the group will allow it to tap into collective open-source edge computing know-how to develop advanced networks for its customers. Sampada Basarker, Vodafone's product and platform engineering director, will have a seat on the project's governing board.

  • A strong performance in Iraq, Algeria, the Maldives and Tunisia helped Qatar-based Ooredoo increase its first-quarter EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) by 6% year-over-year, to 2.5 billion Qatari riyals (US$686 million), on revenue that was up 4%, to QAR 5.9 billion ($1.62 billion). This was partially offset, however, by revenue decline in Qatar and Oman, along with the foreign exchange issues affecting Myanmar and the impact of the Israel-Hamas war.

  • The European Commission has opened formal proceedings to assess whether, Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, may have breached the terms of the Digital Services Act in relation to "deceptive advertising and political content." Among other concerns, the Commission fears that the proliferation of disinformation campaigns on Facebook and Instagram "may present a risk to civic discourse, electoral processes and fundamental rights, as well as consumer protection." No firm timetable for the investigation has been set by the Commission.

  • The European Commission has also launched a consultation on the thorny issue of remote workers' "right to disconnect," in other words, the right not to receive work emails or phone calls at 3 a.m. While there is currently no legislation at EU level that specifically regulates remote working or the right to disconnect, there are EU laws, such as the Working Time Directive, that also apply to the context of remote working and address certain aspects linked to the right to disconnect.

  • Eutelsat Group has appointed Kevin Steen as the president and CEO of Eutelsat America Corp. (EAC). He will also continue in his existing role and president and CEO of OneWeb Technologies (OWT). EAC provides communications services to US government and military customers.

  • A panel of experts commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron has concluded that children under 11 shouldn't be allowed to own a mobile phone of any kind, the use of smartphones with Internet access should be illegal for anyone under 13 and social media platforms should be out of bounds to anyone under 15. As Reuters reports, President Macron has previously pledged to clamp down on children's screen time and use of social media. The movement against children having access to Internet-enabled phones appears to be gaining momentum; in January, UK politician Miriam Cates suggested that under-16s should be banned from using smartphones for the sake of their mental health.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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