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Eurobites: Musk sets up Isle of Man beachhead for UK broadband assault

Also in today’s EMEA regional round-up: UK government updates on Project Gigabit; Telecom Italia makes quantum leap; O2 turns on 5G street light in Frankfurt.

  • Space cowboy Elon Musk has secured a licence to build a ground station on the Isle of Man that will enable his company, Starlink, to provide satellite broadband to rural parts of northern Britain. As the Telegraph reports (paywall applies), Starlink already has similar bases in the southern English counties of Buckinghamshire and Cornwall. The agreement with the Isle of Man’s communications regulator will also, adds the report, allow Starlink to take advantage of the island’s less crowded spectrum bands, which are awarded to service providers separately from the UK’s.
  • Meanwhile, back in the realms of ye olde UK fixed broadband, the UK government has been updating the world on the progress of Project Gigabit, the ultimate aim of which is to get gigabit broadband to 85% of UK premises by 2025. According to the government’s announcement, 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 English counties will get access to gigabit speeds, bringing the total number of premises in line for government-funded coverage to 2.2 million, with more to be announced over the coming months.
  • Telsy, a cybersecurity company owned by Telecom Italia (TIM), has completed its purchase of a minority stake in Quantum Telecommunications Italy (QTI), a start-up that operates in the quantum communications sector, exploiting emerging areas of physics such as quantum mechanics to allow faster and more secure communications between devices such as computers and quantum sensors.
  • Telefónica Deutschland (O2) has teamed up with energy company Mainova to install the German state of Hesse’s first ‘smart’ 5G street light, in the city of Frankfurt am Main. According to Telefónica, O2 customers within a 250 metre radius of Gutleutstraße 280 will receive “excellent” 5G coverage. The operator plans to cover the entire German population with 5G by the end of 2025.
  • Definitely not wanting to be covered by 5G are the people behind Action Against 5G, a UK-based campaign group convinced that the latest mobile technology is bad for your health. As the BBC reports, the group is vowing to fight on after having its crowdfunded legal case blocked by a High Court judge, Mrs Justice Foster, who said in her ruling: “The real issue is that the claimants disagree with a large body of international opinion as to the safety of 5G.”
  • Worldstream, a global infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) company with data centers in the Netherlands and more than 15,000 dedicated servers installed, is expanding its presence across Europe with the deployment of a new data center in Maincubes’ FRA01 facility in Frankfurt, Germany. The deployment allows allows Worldstream to offer private cloud, dedicated servers, block and object storage, DDoS protection, colocation and other IaaS services from the city.
  • Anonymised data from the UK’s Virgin Media O2 mobile network is to be used by local authorities in the southern county of Berkshire to give them a better idea of how people are travelling around the region and ultimately a more accurate picture of issues such as potholes in roads and traffic pollution. The Thames Valley Berkshire Live Lab includes five trials that will use technology to help shape future town planning policy.

— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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