Displaying items by tag: UK

Vodafone’s network was down across Europe on Thursday with thousands of customers unable to use the internet or make phone calls.

Issues began at around 14:42 BST according to network monitor Down detector. Customers all over the UK reported issues and so did customers in Spain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece and Portugal.

Many customers took to Twitter to express their frustration on the matter.

Vodafone then acknowledged the outage and tweeted, “We are currently investigating a potential outage to our fixed and mobile services. We thank you for your patience as we work to get this resolved.”

The company has around 19.5 million UK customers and around 444 million globally.

Initially, it looked more like an isolated issue with customers in some UK cities thought to have been among those affected; however, Economics Correspondent Paul Cogan at Virgin Media TV noticed that Down Detector showed more maps with even more outages.

He stated, “Vodafone’s problems don’t seem to be restricted to just Europe. Down Detector outage maps show problems in India, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.”

The global disruption was then confirmed when Vodafone Ghana tweeted, “Vodafone Ghana wishes to apologize for the intermittent network challenges experienced by some of our mobile customers. Resolving it remains our topmost priority. We shall keep you updated. Thanks for your patience.”

Vodafone then apologized for the inconvenience and said the services were back to normal. “This issue has now been fully resolved and normal service has been restored to customers. We thank you for your patience and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

The network outage comes a month after Vodafone set its launch date for its new 5G network in seven UK cities.

The company last experienced an outage in October 2018.

Published in Telecom Operators

Juniper Networks to power BT unified cloud solution

Written on Sunday, 09 June 2019 10:58

Juniper Networks has been chosen by British Telecommunications (BT) to deliver its Network Cloud infrastructure initiative.

This deployment will pave the way for BT’s Network Cloud roll-out - and also enable a more flexible, virtualized network infrastructure that can deliver the technology requirements of various lines of business for BT from a single platform.

BT will also use this platform to create new and exciting converged services bringing mobile, Wi-Fi, and fixed network services together. Furthermore, with the implementation of the Network Cloud infrastructure, BT will be able to combine a range of currently discrete network functions and deploy them on a cloud infrastructure that is built to a common framework and shared across the organization, throughout the UK and globally.

These include services across BT’s voice, mobile core and radio/access, global services, ISP, TV and IT services, as well as a host of internal applications, thereby cutting operational expenditure and significantly simplifying operations throughout the organization.

This project will enable BT to implement a range of new applications and workloads and evolve the majority of its current ones including:

  • Converged fixed and mobile services rollout to consumers and businesses.
  • Faster time-to-market for network services ranging from internet access delivery to TV and business network functions
  • Improved voice and video delivery and scalability.

To accomplish the evolution toward a more agile, virtualized network, BT is investing in a range of Juniper solutions across various tenants within the BT network, including:

  • Dynamic end-to-end networking policy and control for telco cloud workloads using Contrail Networking
  • Cloud operations management using AppFormix
  • Highly scalable and flexible spine and leaf underlay fabric using the QFX Series

Neil McRae, Chief Architect at BT said, “BT is a global leader in ultrafast services, with growing demand from our ultrafast broadband services and ultrafast 5G services and has the perfect opportunity to combine several discrete networks into a unified, automated infrastructure. This move to a single cloud-driven network infrastructure will enable BT to offer a wider range of services, faster and more efficiently to customers in the UK and around the world. We chose Juniper to be our trusted partner to underpin this Network Cloud infrastructure based on the ability to deliver a proven solution immediately, so we can hit the ground running. Being able to integrate seamlessly with other partners and solutions and aligning with our roadmap to an automated and programmable network is also important.” 

“As a renowned global service provider, BT is a shining example of how to evolve networks to become more agile. By leveraging the ‘beach-front property’ it has in central offices around the globe, BT can optimize the business value that 5G’s bandwidth and connectivity brings. The move to an integrated telco cloud platform brings always-on reliability, along with enhanced automation capabilities, to help improve business continuity and increase time-to-market while doing so in a cost-effective manner,” said Bikash Koley, Chief Technology Officer at Juniper Networks.

Published in Telecom Operators

Huawei founder denies ties to Chinese government

Written on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 11:41

The founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei said that he would “shut the company down” if the Chinese government asked them to eavesdrop on phone call conversations, according to a senior executive.

Published in Telecom Vendors

China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom has pleaded with the British Government to make an independent decision on selecting its equipment suppliers for the buildout of its 5G networks.

Published in Government

UK operator expresses scepticism over Ofcom’s rural plan

Written on Thursday, 18 April 2019 06:41

3 UK has expressed their scepticism over Ofcom’s plans to address poor rural coverage in the United Kingdom, highlighting that the costs of the proposal were too excessive and overall the initiative lacked ambition.

3 UK’s Chief Operating Officer, Graham Baxter has called for the regulator to ditch their plans and work collectively with all UK operators in an effort to find a lasting solution to the ongoing problems experienced by users in rural parts of the UK.

Baxter blasted their plans to remove partial hot-spots in the UK’s countryside, areas which are not covered by any of the country’s four major operators.

As a way to incentivise investment, Ofcom in 2018 said it planned to offer mobile operators a discount in a spectrum auction planned for 2020, if they make binding coverage commitments.

Ofcom said two operators could receive discounts of up to £400 million on the cost of spectrum licences by committing to meet three targets within four years; providing good outdoor data coverage to at least 90 per cent of the UK’s land mass; improve mobile coverage for 140,000 buildings; and install 500 new masts in rural areas.

However, Baxter has criticized the plan for lacking ambition, while also hitting out at the expense incurred by the operator to execute the program.

Instead, he said the regulator should push an initiative for a single rural network, which would see the country’s operators jointly invest in a shared infrastructure.

In addition, he urged authorities to relax planning permission rules for taller mobile masts in rural areas of the country.

In addition to this, Baxter also argued that Ofcom’s plan would only benefit two mobile operators, but conceded that a single network would be beneficial for all four of the country’s operators with regards to coverage.

Published in Telecom Operators

On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British Police at the embassy of Ecuador in London.

Published in Government

EU to ignore Huawei ban suggestion from US

Written on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 08:55

The 28 EU members have been asked to share some data to assess any risks involved with the rollout of 5G technology in Europe, according to Reuters.

The Reuters report stated that Andrus Ansip, head of the European Commission, is set to make the recommendations on Tuesday.

Ansip plans to use the processes which are outlined in the directive on network and information systems from 2016 and has also very recently passed the Cyber Security Act.

For the past couple of years, the US has been trying to dissuade its allies from benefitting Chinese businesses, namely Huawei. The US and Huawei have been at odds recently with regards to 5G deployment. Washington has claimed that Huawei’s products could be used to spy on other countries by the Chinese government which they have no solid proof of. Huawei sued the US on 7 March.

Many countries have not reacted to the claim. However, Australia and New Zealand have barred the use of Huawei gear.

With the UK leaving the EU soon, it is still uncertain whether they will follow the European Commission’s suggestion. Last month at a conference in Brussels, the head of the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre, Ciaran Martin, said that any threat posed by Huawei was manageable.

“Because of our 15 years of dealing with the company and 10 years f a formally agreed mitigation strategy which involves detailed provision of information, we have a wealth of understanding of the company,” said Martin.

He continued, “We also have strict controls for how Huawei is deployed. It is not in any sensitive networks, including those of the government. Its kit is part of a balanced supply chain with other suppliers. Our regime is arguably the toughest and most rigorous oversight regime in the world for Huawei.”

On 9 April, an EU-China summit will take place where discussions surrounding this topic will be held alongside other relevant topics pertaining to the Chinese economy.

Published in Government

Manx Telecom accepts £255m acquisition cash offer

Written on Thursday, 14 March 2019 10:57

Manx Telecom has announced that it has received a takeover offer worth £255m pounds from Basalt Infrastructure Partners LLP.

Published in Telecom Operators

House of Lords call for new centralized Digital Regulator

Written on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 08:16

The House of Lords has called for a new central digital super-regulator to be created in order to inspect the different bodies protecting the internet and to replace the ‘clearly failing’ system of self regulation in place.

The Lords’ communications committee report has recommended a new Digital Authority. The report warns that the contribution of several regulators for the digital realm can be more problematic than helpful as it creates overlaps and gaps.

The report also states that large tech companies have failed to tackle cybersecurity issues and Ofcom should, in the future, expand their services to involve implementing a duty of care on those companies.

Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Chair of the committee, stated: “The government should not just be responding to news headlines but looking ahead so that the services that constitute the digital world can be held accountable to an agreed set of principles.”

He continued: “Self-regulation by online platforms is clearly failing and the current regulatory framework is out of date. The evidence we heard made a compelling and urgent case for a new approach to regulation. Without intervention, the largest tech companies are likely to gain ever more control of technologies which extract personal data and make decisions affecting people’s lives.”

The Lords said that the new Digital Authority should be guided by 10 guiding principles pertaining to online regulation. Some of these basic principles include: transparency, parity, recognition of childhood, accountability, privacy and human rights.

Last month, a Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee held Facebook responsible for being run by “digital gangsters” and as a result, recommending that tech and social media companies could regulate themselves independently under a ‘code of ethics’ which could be overseen by Ofcom.

The report by the Lords echoed this sentiment. It stated that self-regulation from internet behemoths from the likes of Google and Facebook were “clearly failing”.

Lord Panteg wrote: “Policy makers across different sectors have not responded adequately to changes in the digital world.”
He added: "The Digital Authority should be empowered to instruct regulators to address specific problems or areas. In cases where this is not possible because problems are not within the remit of any regulator, the Digital Authority should advise the Government and Parliament that new or strengthened legal powers are needed.”

The report recommends many changes to already existing regulations whether the Digital Authority is created or not. An example of these proposed changes is the public interest test for mergers and acquisitions which would protect peoples’ data from being bought and sold with no prior consent from the individual.

Additionally, the report recognizes the power which this new Digital Authority would hold and justified it by stating: “This is necessary because of the magnitude of urgent social and political problems caused by regulatory fragmentation in the digital world. These problems are less likely to become more complex as technology develops.”

Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook were not held in high regard amongst the Lords, especially in the report.

It concluded, “Major platforms have failed to invest in their moderation systems, leaving moderators overstretched and inadequately trained. Online platforms should make community standards clearer through a new classification framework akin to that of the British Board of Film Classification.”

Published in Government

The US-led campaign against Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei is now facing resistance from a number of major European operators.

Washington has been engaged in a sustained offensive attack on China’s major telecommunication vendors Huawei and ZTE over the last number of years.

However, that has heightened in recent months, with the United States labelling Huawei and ZTE as a severe threat to national security. US President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order later this week which would prohibit both Chinese vendors from being involved in wireless networks in the US.

In addition to this, lobbyists on behalf of the US convinced its allies Australia and New Zealand to prevent either company from participating in the rollout of their respective 5G networks. The US is now pressuring Europe to follow suit.  Earlier this week, comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added further fuel to the ongoing saga when he said that countries that use Huawei technology could hurt their relationship with the United States.

However, that has been met with resistance from major European operators who have discovered that they will have to fork out more to replace equipment from Huawei and ZTE, and that a blanket ban on both companies would significantly impact its ability to launch 5G services in the next twelve months, as Huawei is the global leader on 5G equipment.

A number of prominent executives from Europe’s top operators told The Wall Street Journal that Huawei hardware was much better than the rest on offer and often cost less; not using it could well mean that Europe would lag Asia and countries in other regions that use gear from Huawei for their 5G rollouts.

In addition to this, Nick Read, chief executive of Vodafone Group, was quoted as saying in January that a total ban on the carrier's use of Huawei equipment “would have significant financial cost, would have significant customer disruption and would delay 5G rollout in several countries”. The UK's four major wireless operators — Vodafone, BT Group, Telefonica and CK Hutchison Holdings' Three — were all against a ban.

But it is not only big carriers who prefer Huawei equipment, with Jersey Telecom, a publicly-owned company operating in the Isle of Jersey, also expressing a preference for Chinese equipment.

The company sought bids from both Chinese and Western companies in 2014 for its wireless network and while Huawei's bid 20% below the lowest Western offer, ZTE was 40% cheaper. Jersey Telecom chief executive Graeme Millar went with ZTE, and commented: "I have a genuinely high-class, low-cost supplier with ZTE, who haven’t let me down yet.”

The US stands accused of using Huawei and ZTE as political pawns in the ongoing trade war standoff between Washington and Beijing.

Published in Telecom Operators
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