Eurobites: Amazon's Prime Air programme enters tailspin in UK – report

Also in today's EMEA regional round-up: Sparkle turns to Infinera to power 400G services; auctions ahoy in French overseas territories; EE puts on its headphones and Hawaiian shirt in the cause of 5G.

August 4, 2021

3 Min Read
Europe Network

By Paul Rainford

Also in today’s EMEA regional round-up: Sparkle turns to Infinera to power 400G services; auctions ahoy in French overseas territories; EE puts on its headphones and Hawaiian shirt in the cause of 5G.

  • Amazon’s Prime Air drone-delivery research programme, based in Cambridge, UK, appears to have gone into a nosedive, if a report on Wired is anything to go by. The report says that more than 100 employees at the Prime Air programme have lost their jobs and “dozens” of others have been redeployed. It also cites anonymous insiders as describing the work conditions as “dysfunctional” and “organized chaos”, with an employee “drinking beer at their desk in the morning”. And your problem with that is…?

  • Sparkle, the international services arm of Telecom Italia, has turned to Infinera to give its new Mediterranean and European optical backbone – which is incongruously called ‘Nibble’ – some extra, erm, backbone. Deploying Infinera’s ICE6 coherent offering will enable Sparkle to launch new 400G services over its existing infrastructure while boosting its network capacity by up to 54%. Sparkle recently completed a trial deploying Infinera’s ICE6 technology on live links from Catania to Milan and from Rome to Milan, achieving wavelength speeds of 500 Gbps across 2,136 kilometers and 700 Gbps over 858 kilometers, respectively.

  • French communications regulator Arcep has fired the starting pistol on an auction of frequencies in the 700 MHz and 3.4-3.8 GHz bands in Réunion and in the 700 MHz and 900 MHz bands in Mayotte, two of France’s overseas territories. The deadline for submissions is 12 October 2021, and licences will be awarded in the first half of 2022.

  • After remotely shaving a bloke on top of a mountain, UK mobile operator EE continues its quest for wacky, attention-grabbing demonstrations of the wonders of 5G with the announcement of a “5G-powered club night” that will take place simultaneously in the frenemy cities of Liverpool and Manchester. Two nights of what the young people are calling “dance music” will bring together simultaneous live sets, one from somewhere called Liberté Rooftop (Liverpool) and the other from the Matou Roof Terrace (Manchester). Just don’t expect to hear Hi Ho Silver Lining.

  • Back of the net! Virgin Media Ireland has secured the Irish TV rights to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League for the next three years. Specifically, the agreement sees the cable operator acquiring the rights to the first-pick UEFA Champions League fixture on the Wednesday of each match week, and the rights to show every game in the UEFA Europa League, as well as the UEFA Europa League final and the UEFA Super Cup.

  • Rlaxx TV, a new ad-supported German streaming service, has done a deal with music network Vevo to add the Vevo Pop linear channel to its box of tricks. Rlaxx TV can be found on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox and Android TV, as well as on most smart TVs in the app store.

  • Edinburgh-based Commsworld has landed a contract to provide upgraded connectivity to Seemis Group, which is the education management information system provider to Scotland’s local authorities. The deal will provide Seemis with access to Commscope’s UK-wide optical core network.

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic is tapping into rising-price paranoia by launching a new 24-month contract for its broadband-only and broadband-and-phone packages in addition to its monthly-rolling and 12-month contract options. Locked-in-for-two-years prices start at £20 a month for the 50 Mbps service, rising to £35 a month for the full gigabit experience.

— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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