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Ex-BT boss will help diversify U.K. telecoms supply chain
by Paul Hill
The government has announced that ex-BT CEO and former trade minister Lord Ian Livingston will lead a new task force that’s working to diversify the U.K.’s telecoms supply chain to reduce reliance on just a handful of firms. It comes after the U.K. banned Huawei from its 5G networks but had only a few companies it could turn to due to a lack of diversity.
With Huawei ploughing lots of money into research and development over the last decade and gaining a major lead in 5G, U.K. telecoms had a limited choice of alternative providers to choose from when Huawei was banned from networks. To address this, the government called for more competition in the sector.
The Telecoms Diversification Task Force, which includes senior figures from Vodafone UK and Openreach, will provide the government with independent expert advice as it works to make the network more diverse.
Commenting on his selection as head of the task force, Lord Livingston, said:
Network providers like Vodafone suggested that the removal of Huawei from the U.K.’s 5G networks would push up prices as alternative suppliers are more expensive. With more competition, however, prices could become more reasonable which will mean customers won’t be burdened with increased phone bills.
Old TV in Welsh village behind broadband outages
by Paul Hill
BT Openreach has revealed that an old television set being used in Aberhosan in Powys, Wales was causing the entire village to lose its broadband connectivity every morning at 7 A.M. The outages were caused by electrical interference being emitted from the TV. Luckily for residents in the area, the TV owner has agreed to stop using it.
Openreach engineers initially tried installing new cable to try and fix the issue, unfortunately, this didn’t work. After 18 months of trying to solve the problem, the engineers finally found the source of the problem by using a monitoring device called a spectrum analyser.
Commenting, Michael Jones, an engineer at Openreach, said:
The TV was found to be emitting a single high-level impulse noise (SHINE), and since the TV has been left off, the problem has gone away entirely. Openreach said a variety of electrical devices can cause interference and impact broadband connections. It recommends that all electrical appliances are properly certified and meet current British standards. Openreach also said that if you have a fault with equipment, report it to your service provider right away.
Source: BBC News
Uber: London operating license decision due on September 28
by Paul Hill
Uber will find on September 28 whether or not it has been given an operating license in London. The operating license issue between the ride-hailing firm and Transport for London (TfL) has been going on for several years now. In November last year, TfL refused to give the firm a new operating license because it believed the firm was neither fit nor proper.
The battle between the two started back in 2017 when TfL denied Uber a license before a judge restored it on probation. TfL’s main issue with Uber is that it doesn’t believe the service is safe. In response, Uber implemented more safety checks but TfL was still able to find issues.
Drivers that make their living with Uber do not have to worry about the upcoming decision too much; if the judge gives the license back to the firm then life for drivers will go on as normal. If the judge refuses to issue a new license then drivers can continue doing their job while Uber appeals the decision which could drag things on for months or even years.
Ultimately, if Uber is forced out of London it shouldn’t hurt commuters too much because the capital is very well connected with trains, the underground, buses, bicycles, and black cabs.
U.K.: 20% of businesses used mobile data to stay afloat in 2020
by Paul Hill
Research from O2 and Development Economics has suggested that one-fifth of businesses in the U.K. used mobile data to stay afloat during the coronavirus lockdown. The firm found that had mobile data not been available, £205 billion in economic output could have been lost.
O2 said that the figures were estimated using ONS data on economic output across the U.K. and employee activity monitoring. Between April and June, the U.K.’s GDP fell by 20.4%, O2 reckons that without mobile connectivity, more pressure would have been placed on the furlough scheme and GDP.
Commenting on the findings, Mark Evans, CEO at O2, said:
During the lockdown, mobile companies such as O2 offered customers discounted or free broadband to help them weather the economic impact. Vodafone, for example, gave small businesses free broadband while EE gave NHS staff unlimited mobile data until October due to the pressure health workers were under.
For its part, O2 says that it has extended 4G and 5G coverage to over 186,000 postcodes around the country since the lockdown started to ensure that people can stay in touch with their friends, family, and colleagues.
By Usama Jawad96
Nvidia is acquiring Arm for $40 billion
by Usama Jawad
Earlier this year, it was revealed Nvidia was considering buying Arm from SoftBank. Then last month, SoftBank confirmed that it was indeed considering selling the UK-based chipset designer, which it purchased for $32 billion back in 2016. Today, Nvidia has confirmed the deal, valued at a whopping $40 billion.
In a blog post, Nvidia stated that the transaction allows it to create the "premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence". Nvidia has clarified that Arm will continue to operate its open-source licensing model with the company's IP to remain registered in the UK. The firm will also be looking to expand its presence in the UK by building a new global center of excellence in AI at Arm's Cambridge campus, and will invest in an Arm-powered AI supercomputer as well.
Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, stated that:
Regarding the financials surrounding the $40 billion deal, SoftBank will remain committed to Arm's long-term success with a 10% ownership stake in Nvidia. It will be paid $21.5 billion in Nvidia's common stock - which equates to 44.3 million shares -, $12 billion in cash, and up to $5 billion in earn-out construct. Arm employees will also receive $1.5 billion in equity. The transaction does not include Arm's IoT Services Group. SoftBank's undertakings with Arm, which were made as a part of its 2016 acquisition, are expected to be complete by September 2021.
As with any deal of this scale, this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, and is expected to be finalized within the next 18 months.