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Eurobites: France to Force VoD Giants to Fund Local Productions

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom forms fiber joint venture; Belgian fraud detection startup raises €1.5 million; Liberty Global reshuffles in Europe.

  • The French government is finalizing legislation that will compel video-on-demand companies such as Netflix and Amazon to invest 25% of France-derived revenue in local productions. As Bloomberg reports, the legislation falls under the umbrella of a wider European directive requiring streaming giants to ensure that at least 30% of their catalogs are made up of European-made content. The French parliament will debate the bill in March and it could become law by late summer.

  • Deutsche Telekom is teaming up with utility company EWE to form a new fiber joint venture, Glasfaser Nordwest. The company, which will be based in Oldenburg in Germany's Lower Saxony region, intends to provide up to 1.5 million households and businesses with high-speed Internet. But the joint venture will not be marketing any telecom services directly to end customers; its role will be to provide EWE, Deutsche Telekom and other telcos with access to the fiber-optic infrastructure under open market conditions.

  • Calltic, a telecom fraud detection startup based in Ghent, Belgium, has raised €1.5 million in a Series A round of funding. The company claims to have developed a new way to detect telecom fraud that outperforms existing CDR-based solutions. For more details, see this press release.

  • Liberty Global has announced a couple of significant appointments in Europe, with Severina Pascu joining the UK's Virgin Media as CFO and deputy CEO, and Baptiest Coopmans becoming CEO of UPC Switzerland. Pascu is currently CEO of UPC Switzerland, while Coopmans currently oversees technology, network and operations for Liberty Global across Europe.

  • Following UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's remarks on Tuesday regarding the need for Huawei's critics to offer viable 5G alternatives, Reuters reports comments from Huawei's vice president, Victor Zhang, professing he is "confident that the UK government will make a decision [on Huawei's future role in UK 5G rollout] based upon evidence, as opposed to unsubstantiated allegations." The UK government is expected to reach a decision on the Huawei question later this month. (See UK PM is right: Where is Huawei alternative?)

  • Cambridge, the English city noted chiefly for its bicycling students and tech entrepreneurs, is getting the near-gigabit treatment from Vodafone, with full-fiber broadband bringing speeds of up to 900 Mbit/s to residents and small businesses. The service is already live in the Chesterton and Kings Hedges areas of the city, and will be available in more locations as CityFibre completes the rollout of the necessary infrastructure over the next two years.

  • Virgin Media is bringing top-flight Spanish soccer to its UK subscribers as from tomorrow, with the LaLigaTV channel showing all live matches from the league that features the likes of Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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