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Eurobites: Poland’s Nexera bags €73 million EU loan for fiber rollout

Also in today’s EMEA regional round-up: Virgin Media O2 grows its gigabit network, recruits field engineers; Spain’s La Liga may stream itself; Telefónica combines with STC on cybersecurity.

  • Poland’s Nexera has managed to bag a €73 million loan from the EU’s European Investment Bank (EIB) to fund a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout in the more remote, less densely populated regions of the country. Around 530,000 households and 1,400 schools will be connected through the project. Nexera will also benefit from national and EU public subsidies, awarded to it following the ‘Digital Poland’ contest for the provision of co-financing for the design, construction and operation of FTTH networks in Poland. Nexera is majority owned by the infrastructure fund Infracapital. The EIB loan is part of a wider financing effort totaling around €227 million.
  • UK converged operator Virgin Media O2 has flicked the switch for another 1.5 million homes to be added to its gigabit network, bringing average speeds of 1,130 Mbps to the likes of Bournemouth, Sunderland and York, amongst others, through its ‘Gig1’ service. More than 8 million homes in the UK are now able to access the Gig1 service, a stat which, says Virgin, makes it the largest gigabit broadband provider in the country. Last month the operator, which has until now relied heavily on cable’s DOCSIS technology, announced plans to upgrade its entire network to full fibre by 2028 at an estimated cost of about £100 per home passed, thus ultimately consigning DOCSIS to the scrapheap.
  • And in related news, Virgin Media O2 is looking to recruit another 400 workers in the UK – more than 300 of them field engineer roles – by the end of 2021. No previous cable experience is required.
  • These are interesting times for Spanish football. Not only is Argentine mini-maestro Lionel Messi apparently leaving Barcelona for France’s Paris Saint-Germain, but now comes news of Spain’s top football league, La Liga, making plans to launch its own streaming platform in cahoots with private equity firm CVC. AReuters report citing Spanish newspaper El Confidencial says current rights holder Telefónica may well be feeling nervous following a deal struck last week between La Liga and CVC, which would see the latter investing €2.7 billion for 10% of revenues and a 10% stake in a new company overseeing a range of the league’s commercial activities, one of them, potentially at least, the new streaming platform. Telefónica’s contract with La Liga expires in 2023.
  • In what seems an unlikely turn of events, India’s Reliance Industries is considering a bid for Deutsche Telekom’s Dutch subsidiary T-Mobile Netherlands, according to a report in the Economic Times. Unnamed people cited in the report say Deutsche Telekom is looking for around €5 billion for the Dutch unit.
  • Telefónica’s digital business arm, Telefónica Tech, has signed a collaborative agreement with ATCSC, the cybersecurity wing of Saudi Arabia’s STC, under which the pair will jointly develop new products and services in the security sphere.
  • Sky has appointed Prasanna Gopalakrishnan as its new group chief technology officer. She will join the company next month, replacing current incumbent Mohamed Hammady. Gopalakrishnan is currently managing director and CIO of consumer tech business operations at Bank of America.

— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies


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