Eurobites: OneWeb bags more funding from SoftBank, Hughes Network Systems | Light Reading

Eurobites: OneWeb bags more funding from SoftBank, Hughes Network Systems | Light Reading

Also in today’s EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom’s Access 4.0 platform goes live; everyone loves Tim Httges; CityFibre rolls into Sunderland; EE extends unlimited mobile data offer for NHS workers.

  • OneWeb, the satellite communications company jointly owned by the unlikely combo of the UK government and India’s Bharti Gobal, has secured additional funding from SoftBank Group and Hughes Network Systems, bringing OneWeb’s total funding to $1.4 billion. OneWeb was declared bankrupt in March 2020, but in July the British government and Bharti said they would each invest $500 million in the operator to build a satellite-based navigation system that can be used as an alternative to Galileo, a European Union project, following the UK’s departure from the EU. (See Eurobites: OneWeb emerges from Chapter 11, hires new CEO and Bharti Global, British government consortium wins OneWeb bid.)
  • Deutsche Telekom‘s Access 4.0 platform, a software-based FTTH/B activation gateway, has gone live, recording its first commercial user, in Stuttgart. DT’s partner in the Access 4.0 project is Reply, an Italian consulting and systems integration company.
  • In other DT news, its boss, Tim Httges, has landed the top spot in the latest “reputation rankings” for the CEOs of the 30 companies listed in Germany’s DAX index. The index is based on a survey conducted with business journalists; criteria include “likeability” and having an “open approach to the media.” And the company he runs has also topped the DAX rankings of German companies, rising from fifth spot in 2019 and knocking carmaker BMW off its perch in the process.
    Smooth operator: DT's Tim Hottges bags top spot in DAX's CEO rankings

    Smooth operator: DT’s Tim Httges bags top spot in DAX’s CEO rankings

  • CityFibre, the alternative network provider, continues its relentless fiber rollout across the UK in the north-eastern city of Sunderland, which will benefit from a 62 million ($84 million) investment. According to CityFibre, the network, once complete, will bring gigabit speeds to “nearly every home and business” in and around the city.
  • In related news, CityFibre has, after a spell in the wilderness, returned to the fold of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA): CityFibre’s head of regulation, Alex Blowers, has been appointed as the organization’s new board chair.
  • As the UK’s third pandemic lockdown stretches on, with no certain end in sight, UK mobile operator EE has extended its offer of unlimited mobile data to employees of the National Health Service to June 2021, by which time, vaccination program permitting, some sort of normality may have returned. Since it was introduced in April 2020, more than 300,000 NHS staff have taken advantage of the offer, says EE.
  • Less charitably, Marc Allera, the CEO of BT‘s consumer division (BT being the owner of EE), has been having a go at his rivals for making what he feels are flimsy if not downright misleading claims about their mobile networks. One rival, he says, claimed to have the “best 5G in London,” quoting results from a report that Allera claims tested very selectively, while another trumpeted itself as the UK’s “best network” but, says Allera, failed to make clear that this was for customer service rather than coverage. For more details of alleged network truth-bending, see this story on our sister site,

    Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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