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Eurobites: France, Germany suit up for cloud 'moonshot'Eurobites: France, Germany suit up for cloud 'moonshot'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Switzerland ahead in Europe's 5G race, says Omdia; Telecom Italia cuts more jobs; COVID-19 app confusion in the UK.

Paul Rainford

June 5, 2020

3 Min Read
Eurobites: France, Germany suit up for cloud 'moonshot'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Switzerland ahead in Europe's 5G race, says Omdia; Telecom Italia cuts more jobs; COVID-19 app confusion in the UK.

France and Germany have given their backing to a cloud-computing "moonshot" project, Gaia-X, which is seeking to establish common standards for storing and processing data within Europe and thereby reduce the continent's dependence on the likes of Amazon and Microsoft for their cloud needs. As Reuters reports, ministers from the two countries used a news conference in Berlin to underline their support for the project, revealing that 22 French and German companies have set up a nonprofit foundation to run Gaia-X. Switzerland is winning the 5G race in Europe, with UK puffing along in second place. This is according to market research firm Omdia, whose 5G Market Progress Assessment report examined the deployment progress of 5G based on operator launches, network coverage, subscriber takeup as well as 5G spectrum availability and the prevailing regulatory regime. In soaraway Switzerland, Omdia found that by January 2020 there were 426 localities in which operator Sunrise had more than 80% 5G population coverage, while rival Swisscom had achieved 90% coverage with "a basic version of 5G," according to Omdia analyst Stephen Myers. The full report can be bought from Omdia by contacting [email protected]. Like Light Reading, Omdia is part of the Informa Group. (See 5G wacky races.) Telecom Italia, which has already cut thousands of jobs in a bid to make it more efficient in the face of competition from upstarts such as Iliad, is to shed a further 700 workers this years, according to a Reuters report. The redundancies will be achieved through a voluntary early retirement scheme which was agreed with the labor unions on Thursday. (See Telecom Italia crumbles like a Roman ruin.) Confusion continues to swirl around the UK's COVID-19 contact-tracing app, which is currently being trialed on the Isle of Wight, located just off England's south coast. According to business minister Nadhim Zahawi quoted in this BBC report, it's looking likely that the app will be rolled out nationwide by the end of the month. However, the Guardian reveals that Tony Prestedge, the chief operating officer of the team behind the National Health Service's coronavirus test-and-trace system, of which the app is supposed to form a part, believes the system won't be fully operational – or "world class," to use the ridiculous preferred parlance – until the fall. Stable doors and horses spring to mind. Telefónica UK has been revealed as one of the foreign-owned companies to have benefited from the UK government's Covid Corporate Financing Facility, which provided emergency loans for companies who claimed they needed financial help in the face of the pandemic. According to the Daily Mail, the operator received £200 million (US$252.5 million) through the scheme. The scheme has come under fire for granting cheap loans to the UK subsidiaries of companies such as Chanel, which are owned by billionaires. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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

During the nougthies he 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 sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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