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Eurobites: UK rows back on gigabit ambitions

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica edges towards Andalusia; Nokia helps Graz cut it as a smart city; Tele2 beefs up IoT offer with Cisco.

  • It was always considered unrealistic by some, and now the UK government has come around to the skeptics' way of thinking and abandoned its plan to make gigabit broadband available to everyone in the nation by 2025. As the BBC reports, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak used Wednesday's government spending review to revise the gigabit target from 100% coverage to 85% coverage by 2025. The Internet Service Providers' Association described the change of plan as a "blow to rural communities." Last month the National Audit Office described the original target as "challenging," saying that build rates would have to increase fourfold to meet it. (See Boris broadband plan is way off pace, says UK spending watchdog.)

  • Telefónica is hoping to give Andalusia's economy a shot in the arm with its introduction of a virtual data center service, VDC-Edge, based on edge nodes in the city of Seville. The operator already deploys similar edge nodes in Madrid and Barcelona.

  • Nokia will be getting its 5G private network toolkit out from under the stairs again, this time for Citycom Telecommunication Graz, in Austria, which in turn will offer private 5G networks to enterprises and public services in Graz and the surrounding area. The initial focus will be on smart-city IoT applications, using Nokia's Impact platform. The first phase will see the deployment of 50 macro basestations, with more than 200 sites eventually coming on stream.

  • Also getting busy on the IoT front is Sweden's Tele2, which has hooked up with Cisco to launch an updated version of its 2Control IoT connectivity management service.

  • The European Commission is proposing new rules that will make it easier for citizens' personal data to be shared with companies and research organizations in a safe manner, in a bid to help the bloc compete with rivals in the US and Asia. As Reuters reports, the Commission suggests the creation of trustworthy "data intermediaries," which would be in charge of such data sharing. However, such intermediaries would be forbidden from selling the data to other companies.

  • Belgium's Proximus is to start deploying its fiber network in Mechelen and Sint-Niklaas, with the ultimate goal of connecting at least 62,000 households and business premises. The operator's fiber rollout is already underway in 16 Belgian cities, with more than 400,000 homes and businesses hooked up.

  • Iskratel, the Slovenia-based broadband access outfit, has launched a new home gateway that it says provides a "multi-gigabit experience" over copper, fiber or mobile on a single device. The Innbox U92 has a Wi-Fi 6 access point with Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) that, says Iskratel, improves wireless connectivity and performance significantly for multi-streaming and gaming.

  • And finally, in the "good luck with that" corner, Reuters reports that France's finance ministry has sent out official notices to (largely US-based) tech titans politely but firmly asking them to pay the digital service tax levy – which equates to 3% of revenue – in December. Negotiations at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) regarding a complete overhaul of international tax rules have apparently stalled, which has prompted France to act now.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading


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