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Nokia becomes BT's largest infrastructure partner
by Paul Hill
Nokia has announced that it has signed a deal with BT to become the latter’s largest infrastructure partner. The new deal focuses on 5G technologies and will see Nokia provide equipment and services at BT radio sites across the UK allowing customers to experience high network speeds.
According to the Finnish firm, BT already uses Nokia equipment in its network in Greater London, areas of the Midlands, and rural locations. Under the new deal, Nokia equipment will be used in Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Carlisle, Cheltenham-Gloucester, Chesterfield, Dundee, Exeter, Grimsby, Hull, Ipswich, Lincoln, Newbury, Northampton, Norwich, Peterborough, Plymouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Torbay, and York.
Commenting on the deal, Philip Jansen, CEO, BT Group, said:
Earlier this year, the UK government announced that Huawei equipment should be removed from the country’s 5G networks. With this deal, BT will move towards complying with the ban. In July, BT claimed that it would be impossible to remove Huawei equipment from UK networks before 2030 but today’s deal brings that closer to reality.
With regards to the UK's 5G networks more broadly, Lord Ian Livingston was recently selected to head the Telecoms Diversification Task Force which will help the government make telecoms networks more diverse in terms of the number of businesses competing in the market.
By Ather Fawaz
UK launches four nanosatellites to space, two have a supercomputer onboard
by Ather Fawaz
Image via Spire UK Four nanosatellites developed under the European Space Agency (ESA) Pioneer program have been launched into space today. Built in Glasgow by Spire Global UK, these satellites are about the size of a shoebox and are among the smartest satellites ever built in the United Kingdom. Although their primary purpose is to monitor shipping movements, "they can do almost everything a conventional satellite does," wrote the UK Space Agency.
Out of the four nanosatellites, two have a supercomputer onboard that will use machine-learning algorithms to predict the locations of ships and subsequently track arrival time at ports. This will help port authorities manage docks effectively. The other two will forge inter-satellite relays that will be used to send data to one another and down to ground stations. This will cut the time between data collection and its delivery. Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:
The idea of nanosatellites has been around for a while. However, in recent years, due to improvements in optics and remote sensing, the market for such satellites has grown considerably. Among other advantages, nanosatellites allow us to observe the Earth’s environment intricately and regularly. The UK government believes that the launch of these four nanosatellites will create new opportunities in the satellite communications market. In addition, the £10 million backing this project will help bolster the country's role as a leader in space innovation.
Uber granted London operation license in court appeal
by Paul Hill
Two weeks ago, we reported that Uber would find out on September 28 whether or not it would be given an operating license to continue offering its service in London. According to BBC News, a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has decided that Uber is now ‘fit and proper’ despite its "failings" in the past and has awarded it the operating license.
Uber first lost its operating license in 2017 when Transport for London (TfL) declined to issue a new license over safety concerns. A judge issued the license on probation and Uber implemented more safety checks to try and address TfL’s concerns. Last year, TfL again refused to give the ride-hailing firm a new license because it said that the improvements had not gone far enough.
With the license having been granted to Uber, drivers that use the platform can stop worrying about their livelihood going forward. BBC News estimates the number of drivers in the capital city to be around 45,000.
While London does have excellent public transport links including trains, the underground, buses, bicycles, and black cabs, Uber vehicles offer commuters a convenient way to get around late at night or to areas that are a little far from bus stops or train stations. With politicians trying to clamp down on private vehicles in London, having Uber operating in the area could make it easier for people to forego cars.
Source: BBC News
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