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Eurobites: Telenor takes cellular coverage to Antarctica

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: meet the environmental A-Team; progress made on the Gigabit Infrastructure Act; CityFibre lands Project Gigabit contracts.

Paul Rainford

February 6, 2024

3 Min Read
Men working on basestation in Antarctica
Dude's not even wearing gloves.(Source: Telenor)
  • There are harsh environments, and there are harsh environments. Nordic operator Telenor has opened the world's southernmost basestation, in Antarctica, providing mobile coverage for the Norwegian Polar Institute's research station in Troll. And counterintuitively perhaps, this southernmost basestation is operated from the world's northernmost one, at Ny Ålesund on the Svalbard archipelago (formerly known as Spitsbergen). Should the mobile signal fail, a satellite link from Troll to the KSAT-owned TrollSat satellite can also be used.

  • A dozen European telcos have achieved an "A" rating in CDP's latest interrogation of large companies' environmental credentials, an annual survey that is intended to cut through the greenwashing and the cynicism that can taint this particular corner of the corporate world. (CDP began life in 2000 as the Carbon Disclosure Project.) Just 2% of the 21,000 companies examined came away with the top rating. The European telco A-Team is made up of BT, Cellnex, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, Proximus, Swisscom, Tele 2, Telefonica, Telekom Austria, TIM, Turkcell and Vodafone.

  • The European Council presidency and the European Parliament have reached provisional agreement on a proposal to replace 2014's Broadband Cost-Reducing Directive (BCRD) with the Gigabit Infrastructure Act (GIA). Following pressure from the telco lobby, a number of amendments to the original proposal have been made, among them a mandatory conciliation mechanism between public sector bodies and telecom operators, which is intended to grease the wheels of the permit-granting procedure. The GIA's aim is to reduce what are seen by many in the industry as the unnecessarily high costs of infrastructure deployment.

  • CityFibre, one of the UK's gaggle of alternative network providers, has been awarded five new contracts under the state-backed Project Gigabit program, subsidizing to the tune of £394 million (US$494 million) the rollout of fiber infrastructure to more than 200,000 rural properties in the Midlands and southern England – in areas that would otherwise be considered unviable for commercial rollout. CityFibre has been awarded a total of nine Project Gigabit contracts to date, worth £782 million ($981 million) in subsidies.

  • MTN South Africa and Huawei have completed what they claim is Africa's "first scale deployment" of an 800G optical network. The 800G links were set up, with single-fiber capacity of 48 Tbit/s, to connect data centers in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Huawei deployed its Optical Cross-Connect (OXC) and Automatically Switched Optical Network (ASON) products in the project.

  • Orange Cote D'Ivorie has opted for data traffic analysis and policy control software from Sweden's Enea. For the implementation, Enea will be working with systems integrator Smart Innovation Centre. Orange Cote D'Ivorie has more than 15 million voice and broadband customers.

  • Nokia is bringing its DAC PW Compact industrial private 5G networks offering to Europe following its launch in the US last year. DAC PW Compact provides wireless connectivity for applications, devices and machines in warehouses, such as autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), workers' handhelds, machines, asset trackers and sensors.

  • The UK government has stumped up £10 million ($12.5 million) to train regulators so that they are better able to address the risks and take advantage of the potential opportunities presented by AI. This might include the purchase of new technical tools for closely examining AI systems.

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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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