BBWN Bites: Liberty Global Wants to Stir Up UK Wholesale Market
Also today, Italy's top regulator turns on TIM, Netflix gets friendly with AT&T, Virgin Media's Prime pact and a tale of two CEOs.
Liberty Global wants to create a wholesale fiber network joint venture to compete with CityFibre, BT Openreach, Hyperoptic and regional wholesalers like MS3 Networks of Hull, the Financial Times reported (subscription required). Liberty Global's Virgin Media would then extend full-fiber beyond metro regions by leveraging Openreach's ducts and poles, and potentially make infrastructure available to other operators to accelerate broadband deployment across the UK and increase competition, the article said.
Putting one national fiber network under Telecom Italia's control would be a "backward step," the head of Italy's Communications Regulatory Authority, according to Angelo Cardani, Reuters wrote. Last week, Italy's regulatory agency rejected TIM's proposal to spin off its fixed networks business into a separate, wholly owned division. And the two major shareholders within TIM want different futures for the operator: One wants TIM to keep network control, the other wants a split or merger with Open Fiber.
Looking for growth in new ways, Netflix seeks content bundling partnerships with pay-TV, broadband and mobile providers across its worldwide footprint. Under a new partnership with AT&T in the US, Netflix will be integrated into AT&T's new set-top box, Alan Breznick wrote in Light Reading today. This follows other pacts with Comcast, Charter, Altice USA, Dish Network, Verizon and T-Mobile: Among the heavy-hitters, only AT&T had been absent, Breznick said. No longer. (See Netflix thinking inside the box.)
Speaking of OTT and choice-overload, Virgin Media subscribers now can access Amazon Prime Video directly via Virgin TV. The app was automatically downloaded to all Virgin TV V6 boxes in the UK, and members of Amazon Prime Video may log into the app using their existing account information, Virgin Media said.
Jonathan Spalter will stay on as USTelecom CEO for at least three more years, following a contract renewal. Spalter, formerly chair of Mobile Future, succeeded Walter McCormick when he joined the organization in January 2017.
However, Ofcom needs a new CEO after Sharon White decided to leave the top spot to take over the corner office at UK retailer John Lewis. Those under consideration, according to the paywalled Financial Times: Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority, and Christopher Woolard, strategy and competition director at the Financial Conduct Authority.
Hands-On for OTT
Netflix signed a partnership with hold-out AT&T.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.