This Week In Tech And Telco: Hackers And Mergers

Every week I’ll be curating a small collection of tech and telco news condensed down to a digestible size so complex stories are easy to understand and manage, even when your brain is prematurely in weekend mode. I hope you like our newest feature, and don’t forget to pop in every Friday to catch up on news you may have missed.

Did the UK hack Belgium? // Read Article

A leaked Belgian national security council report has shown the UK’s refusal to aid in a GCHQ inquiry following suspected hacking for at least two years, ending in 2013.

The British security agency is thought to have been spying on Belgium’s largest telco company, Belgacom, which is also state-owned.

When asked to cooperate, the UK Home office is believed to have refused, claiming: “The United Kingdom believes that this could jeopardize our sovereignty, security, and public order.”

Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported that the prosecutor's office warned the response could lead to a “diplomatic incident”.

If the allegations are correct, they would be the first proven example of an EU member state covertly hacking the critical infrastructure of another.

Credit: Giphy

BT and Apple to partner in TV strategy // Read Article

BT is said to be the current frontrunner in a partnership with Apple, where the two will work together to increase Apple’s TV platform reach.

Apple TV devices will come with pre-loaded apps for BT sport, among others, in return for the telco company distributing the product across their broadband network.

Partnering with telco is not new for Apple. The company has established a similar relationship with Salt, the national mobile, fiber broadband, and pay-TV operator in Switzerland.

In the US, they have also established deals with various national telcos like Verizon and AT&T.

The British deal is the latest in a larger TV strategy for Apple, which is set to invest $1bn into original programming.

Budget 2018: £250m to boost rural broadband // Read Article

A budget of £250m will be used to provide rural areas of the UK with superfast broadband, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his statement this week.

The fund will target libraries and schools to ensure rapid, full fiber connectivity in areas that are currently being ‘held back’ from the rest of the country.

Full fiber means to provide customers with the infrastructure to the premises, known as FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises), instead of to cabinets in the area, FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet), which is the currently the most common method for broadband connections today.

The announcement has been welcomed by trade unions representing farmers and rural business owners.

The Chancellor also announced a digital services tax, where a levy on UK-generated revenue of specific firms is expected to raise around £400m per year.

CityFibre details £2.5bn full fibre investment // Read Article

CityFibre, the UK's largest alternative provider of wholesale fiber infrastructure, has set out plans to invest over £2.5 billion for the roll-out of full Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) across the UK.

The fund is set to aid FTTP acceleration, alongside Openreach, the UK’s largest broadband network, who are also working towards increasing FTTP connection.

The company currently has fiber assets in 37 UK towns and cities and aims to offer a faster, “future proof” broadband network compared to competitors Virgin Media and Openreach through utilizing FTTP.

The investment has been welcomed by the UK government which has a target of 15m full-fiber broadband lines by 2025.

Openreach has committed to three million FTTP connections by 2020 and hopes to reach 10 million by 2025, which leaves five million to hit the government’s target. CityFibre expects to deliver the remaining connections.

Credit: Flicker/Groman123

US Net Neutrality rules backed by appeals court // Read Article

A US federal appeals court has backed net neutrality, reinforcing a ‘free’ internet and so-called Open Internet Rules.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision reaffirms that cable and telecoms companies must treat all internet traffic equally, meaning they cannot block rivals or selectively speed up service to sites that pay for the privilege.

The Open Internet Rule is a law that protects consumers. Without it, ISPs will able to throttle data and increase costs for different services.

Telecoms providers said they would continue to challenge net neutrality rules, all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Hybrid cloud: The IBM and Red Hat merger // Read Article

IBM’s plan to buy Red Hat, a small but fast-growing software maker, is driven by the hybrid cloud, according to Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty.

The hybrid cloud is where companies run some software in their own data centers alongside other elements in centers run by service providers like IBM, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud.

IBM is likely to utilize Red Hat’s investment into “containers”, which makes it easier to divide computing across different data centers.

Combined, the companies will have a cloud, including physical servers, their own operating system and will also sell software that runs on other clouds and hardware. This puts them in competition with companies like Microsoft.

The merger has not yet gone ahead but IBM has paid a large premium to ward off any challenges, and the breakup fee is said to be among the highest recorded within tech.

CreditL Giphy

So there you have it; this week in tech and telco. Don’t be a stranger - pop back next week for your run-down of industry news. Until then, have a good weekend!

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