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Eurobites: Sky Goes Dishless

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT faces shareholder lawsuits in US; restructuring costs send Tele2 into the red; O2 hooks up with BAE Systems on cybersecurity.

  • Sky , the UK-based pay-TV giant, is planning to launch an over-the-top (OTT) version of its full TV service that won't require the recipient to have a satellite dish. The operator hopes that this new service -- which could be regarded as a fleshed-out version of its popular Now TV streaming product -- will reach those customers who are unwilling or unable to go down the satellite route, for whatever reason. The announcement was made as part of its financial results for the first six months of its fiscal year, ending December 31. The results revealed that Sky's operating profits had been hit by the high price it paid for UK Premier League soccer rights -- up by £314 million (US$395.1 million) -- with profits down 9% year-on-year to £679 million ($854.2 million). Group revenues, however, were up 6% to £6.41 billion ($8.06 billion). In the UK & Ireland market sector, customer churn was up to 11.6%, reflecting, says Sky, the increased proportion of broadband-only customers, who have a greater propensity to switch providers.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s Italian accounting fiasco has opened up potential damage on another front: the US. Reuters reports that at least two shareholder class-action lawsuits have been filed in US District Courts. The lawsuits accuse the UK incumbent of misleading shareholders about the accounting practices in Italy, thereby inflating its share price. (See BT's Patterson Feels Italian Heat, Dodgy Italian Job Savages BT Earnings, Share Price Tanks and Eurobites: BT's Italian Bother Claims Sciolla's Scalp.)

  • Sweden's Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) recorded a net loss of 493 million Swedish kronor ($55.8 million) in the fourth quarter on sales that rose 18% year-on-year to SEK8.217 billion ($920 million). The operator attributed the loss to "restructuring and integration." Looking ahead, Tele2 is guiding for a capex level of between SEK3.8 billion ($430 million) and SEK4.1 billion (464 million) for 2017.

  • Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) has joined forces with British defense company BAE Systems to provide a "device to cloud" security offering for enterprises. The partnership will provide O2 customers with access to BAE's range of cybersecurity services. O2 claims to be the only mobile operator in the UK able to guarantee its customers that it meets the security measures required to achieve government-defined CAS(T) certification.

  • Dailymotion , the French take on YouTube, has boosted its data center interconnect capabilities with 200Gbit/s fiber-optic transport gear from Ekinops SA . With 40 optical channels live, the equipment can deliver up to 8 Tbit/s of capacity for the video-hosting company, claims Ekinops.

  • Irish incumbent eir saw EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rise 4% year-on-year to €121 million ($129.5 million), on underlying revenues that were up 2% to €336 million ($359.7 million). The operator is confident that it remains on track to reach 1.9 million premises with high-speed broadband by the end of 2018; it currently passes 53,000 homes and businesses with fiber-to-the-home technology.

  • UK altnet CityFibre reports that the first businesses in Northampton have been hooked up to the town's pure fiber network, enjoying, claims CityFibre, Internet speeds of up to 100 times the UK's average. CityFibre's ISP partner in the Northampton venture is DBFB.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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