BBWN Bites: Liberty Global Seeks UK's OK for Wholesale Network
Also in today's fixed-access broadband round-up, CityFibre to acquire FibreNation, plus its amended deal with Vodafone bodes well for other operators, Zzoomm expands 2-gig service footprint, Scottish group sets ambitious goal for government, privacy concerns hinder smart-speaker adoption and more.
Liberty Global applied to Ofcom to build a broadband service with wholesale aspirations, Bloomberg reported this morning. The Liberty Networks unit wants to "facilitate the construction and operation of a high-speed broadband network across the UK," and is willing to "provide wholesale access to its electronic communications network to other telecoms providers on commercial terms," a document published today said. In the UK, Liberty Global owns Virgin Media, which reported $5.8 billion for the year ended September 30, 2019, and passed 14.7 million homes to serve 5.5 million fixed-broadband subscribers.
CityFibre will acquire FibreNation from TalkTalk for £200 million ($260 million), thereby expanding its planned deployment to 8 million premises from 5 million and increasing pressure on wholesale competitors such as semi-autonomous BT unit Openreach. The deal, which had been rumored for at least a year, requires TalkTalk shareholder approval and mandates the wireless provider will use CityFibre's as-yet unconstructed fiber network for residential and business service delivery. CityFibre is backed by Goldman Sachs.
CityFibre also said it's amended an agreement with key customer Vodafone, allowing CityFibre to sell its wholesale network services to other operators "sooner than planned." As an anchor tenant, Vodafone already uses CityFibre's infrastructure to provide fixed broadband in 11 UK locations.
Still in the UK, full-fiber broadband provider Zzoomm unveiled 2-gig services to residential customers in Henley-on Thames. Download speeds start at 100 Mbit/s, accompanied by free installation, 24/7 customer service and a guarantee to fix any service issues within 24 hours.
Much further north from CityFibre's London HQ, the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland on Monday called on the Scottish government to cover the country with full fiber by 2027. Currently, about 94.5% of Scotland can access 24Mbit/s speeds, 50% have 100Mbit/s access and 8% can connect to full fiber, according to Thinkbroadband.
Privacy and security concerns keep some consumers away from IoT: Among those who don't have a smart speaker and don't plan to get one, 66% cite privacy as an important reason for their decision, and 59% of smart-speaker owners who use voice control have privacy concerns, according to a new report from Hub Entertainment Research.
Grabbing Broadband Opportunities by the Horn
Greg Mesch, CityFibre CEO, said in a statement: "Today's announcement establishes CityFibre as the UK's third national digital infrastructure platform allowing millions more consumers and businesses to benefit from access to faster, more reliable services. The UK is a service-based economy, and this runs best on full fiber. Ensuring national coverage is critical and this can only be achieved by driving infrastructure competition at scale."
(Photo: Greg Mesch, LinkedIn).
Sky inked a multi-year deal with Netflix, allowing the UK pay-TV and broadband provider to add the OTT's basic service on the Sky Q platform. This is Sky's latest content partnership, following pacts with several UK purveyors such as the BBC and WarnerMedia.
Angola Cables provisioned a direct data link between Africa and the US via the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), which connects Angola to Brazil, then on the MONET cable, which runs from Brazil to Florida. Angola Cables is using Nokia hardware that leverages the vendor's Photonic Service Engine 3 (PSE-3) chipset to maximize capacity across this huge span, according to this article on sister site Connecting Africa.
Keeping an Eye on Voice Data
Uncertainty about privacy translates into lost opportunities for IoT device makers -- and broadband providers -- according to a new report from Hub Entertainment Research.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News
(Home page art: Carmela Sarsora, Pexels)
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.