Industry News

Industry News


FullFibre plans expansion to 19 more towns in England

The UK wholesale network operator FullFibre Limited announced another 19 towns in England where it plans to roll out its FTTP network. This brings it to a total commitment of over 320,000 premises covered across England, ISPreview reports.

The operator started its rollout in Leominster, Ivybridge and South Hams in 2019. In March this year the company announced plans to cover 11 additional UK towns, and a further 13 places followed in September 2021. Construction has accelerated to around 15,000 premises covered per month.

With the latest 19 towns, the operator is building to over 320,000 premises across 10 English counties. One of the biggest additions this time is Evesham in Worcestershire, where work will start in November to cover almost 22,000 premises.

The other new locations are Malvern, Pershore, Cookley and Wychbold in Worcestershire; Alcester and Bidford on Avon in Warwickshire; Bourton on the Water and Newent in Gloucestershire; Bromyard in Herefordshire; Kinver in Staffordshire; and Bridgnorth, Whitchurch, Market Drayton, Ellesmere, Broseley, St Martins, Weston Rhyn and Whittington in Shropshire.

Backed by infrastructure investor Basalt, FullFibre targets at least half a million premises covered by 2025.

Kcom supports free coding classes for kids during holidays

Children will be able to take part in free coding camps during the half-term holidays, thanks to a programme by Kcom and East Riding Libraries. The three sessions teaching youngsters the basics of how to write computer code will take place at Beverley, Bridlington and Goole libraries 27-29 October, Kcom announced. 

Targeting kids aged 307, the sessions will be led by coding experts from East Riding Libraries and Kcom. They will use a 'Code-a-Pillar' toy, which introduces children to basic programming, sequencing and problem solving skills through games and storytelling.

CityFibre supports Leeds community education group

UK operator CityFibre announced it has teamed up with Leeds community interest group Geeks Room CiC to provide equipment, including laptops and monitors, to support a new programme helping older students gain employment. 

Geeks Room CiC provides an alternative environment to the traditional school, with children aged 8-18 given the opportunity to learn through gaming and practical lessons. Its inclusive approach is intended to pull down barriers and ensure children with differing abilities and needs feel valued, connected to others and able to make positive contributions to the group and wider community.

The team’s inclusive centre is host to a range of courses, including coding clubs, technical classes and design workshops. The partnership with CityFibre has enabled them to expand the programme, including additional support for older students (aged 16-25) to help develop employability, educational, social and life skills.

Geeks Room CiC, based in Armley, is in the build area of CityFibre’s fibre roll-out. Construction of the network formally began in 2019 and upon completion, it will be in reach of nearly every home and business in the town.

Virgin Media offers free kids channels for half-term holiday

Virgin Media is making its full range of premium kids entertainment and learning-based programmes available free for all 3.5 million of its TV customers during the school holidays. The open window runs until 31 October, at no extra cost.

Customers in the UK will be given free access to 13 kids pay-TV channels, including BabyTV, Cartoon Network, Cartoonio, Boomerang, Nickelodeon, NickToons, and Nick Jr, as well as thousands of episodes available on-demand. Customers will also be able to stream hundreds of free educational videos and kids box sets from their mobile or tablet devices, via the Virgin TV Go app.


ANS and UKFast moved ahead with merger

The UK service providers ANS and UKFast have agreed to merge, making a company with greater scale to deliver digital transformation services across both the public and private sectors. The merger follows the acquisition of ANS by UKFast owner Inflexion Private Equity in June.

The combined group expects to better serve existing and new customers as part of an enlarged business reflecting the rapid market growth opportunity for digital and cloud services, ANS said. The merger combines the security and private cloud practice of UKFast with ANS’s public cloud and digital go-to-market expertise. 

The merged businesses will be operating with a combined strategy and operational board from January 2022, and a new brand for the combined business will be announced in due course.

ANS CEO Paul Shannon will lead the new group, and Richard Bishop, the former UKFast chair, will be returning to the business and joins as Group Chair.

EE starts PhoneSmart course for young people

UK operator EE has created PhoneSmart, a new programme to school young people on using phone technology safely and responsibly. After completing the course, kids are given a PhoneSmart 'licence' to show they completed the lessons. 

The material was developed in collaboration with experts from Internet Matters, and in consultation with Home-Start, ChildNet, Marie Collins Foundation and the Anti-Bullying Alliance. The around one-hour course comes with four modules on online hate, digital wellbeing, staying safe online and digital & media literacy.

According to research from Ofcom, half of UK children aged eight to 11 have smartphones and over 90 percent of 12-15 year-olds. More than eight in ten said they have had at least one potentially harmful experience online in the past year.

To launch the licence, EE has unveiled a new short film, featuring musician Clement Marfo, on YouTube. Singer and actress Louise Redknapp also will help promote the course. 

The licence is part of BT Skills for Tomorrow, a programme designed to help 25 million people in the UK make the most of life in the digital world. It offers a wide range of free courses, webinars and advice on digital tools and technology. 

Tesco opens first checkout-free store in central London

Tesco opened GetGo, its first checkout-free store in central London, giving customers the opportunity to shop and pay without scanning a product or using a checkout. The rollout of this technology to Tesco Express High Holborn follows a successful trial at Tesco’s colleague store in Welwyn Garden City, which has been in place since 2019. Tesco Express High Holborn has been a cashless store since it first opened in 2018. 

The company's technology means that customers with the app will be able to check-in to its store, pick up the groceries they need and walk straight out again without visiting a checkout. A combination of cameras and weight-sensors will establish what customers picked up and charge them for products directly through the app when they leave the store.

Tesco partnered Trigo for the launch of this store. There will be a section in the store specifically for age-restricted products, with a separate exit where colleagues will manually check ID verification. 

As the first public GetGo store launched by Tesco, this new technology will create an even more convenient shopping experience for customers.

Emtelle to help Ogi deploy fibre network across south Wales

Emtelle, a global manufacturer of pre-connectorised blown fibre, cabling and ducted systems, has won a multi-million pound contract from Ogi, based in Cardiff. Under the three-year contract, Emtelle will suppy primary duct, subducts, microducts and fibre components for Ogi’s network and customer connections. 

Ogi recently secured an investment from Infracapital for a GBP 200 million phase 1 business plan to build a full-fibre broadband network across south Wales. Emtelle will supply the products for that rollout, as well as support and training.

The deployment plans will bring full-fibre broadband to 150,000 homes and businesses from Haverfordwest to Chepstow as part of the initial phase, with the aim of expanding the offering to 350,000 homes and businesses across south Wales. Towns and villages in Monmouthshire, the Vale of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire, will be amongst the first to benefit. 

Indigo to create 150 jobs over 12 months, 300 more after

Indigo plans to create more than 150 jobs over the coming 12 months, and then 300 more after that, over three years. 

The first phase of recruitment is for Indigo’s Network Operations Centre (NOC) in Magor, South Wales, where new jobs will span a range of support and customer service roles. 

In the second phase, recruitment will start for 300 open-location and office-based roles across the UK and Ireland, and abroad, to support Indigo’s global expansion. The roles will include fibre planners/surveyors, wireless designers/engineers, project managers, field engineers, data centre technicians and business support roles in accounts, sales, and operations. 

Vodafone to add 7,000 European software engineers by 2025

Vodafone has announced plans to add nearly 7,000 software engineers to its European workforce by 2025 in an effort to develop more digital services in-house. The operator, which last year invested EUR 8 billion in technology and digital projects, said the vacancies will be filled over the next 3 years through a combination of recruitment, re-skilling existing employees and insourcing, with the latter generating average savings of 20 percent for the group.

In a statement, the company said expanding its software capabilities will allow it to build differentiated products and services at lower cost and own the intellectual property (IP) rather than sourcing them through suppliers. The new roles will be added to the existing 9,000 employees already working as software engineers to create a new group function called Vodafone Technology that unites all European tech employees as well as the group’s international shared services division. 

Vodafone Technology experts will be tasked with developing new Internet of things (IoT) products, smart network features, digital & IT, and cyber security services across Europe. The operator added that the adoption of leading software practices and the creation of digital skills hubs across the continent will mean it can launch new products and services 50 percent faster and in multiple countries at the same time.

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