Tag: BT

BT losing a pizza the action after Italian accounting scandal

banner_pizza_The BT Group is facing two shareholder lawsuits in the United States, after a fifth of the telecommunications company’s market value was wiped out in a single day amid a growing accounting scandal in Italy.

The lawsuits accusing the British company and three top executives of securities fraud were filed in the US District Courts in Manhattan and in nearby Newark, New Jersey.

Both lawsuits were brought by individuals seeking class-action status, and named Chief Executive Gavin Patterson, his predecessor Ian Livingston, and Finance Director Tony Chanmugam as defendants.

A spokeswoman for BT declined to comment on behalf of the defendants. BT had launched an internal probe into its Italian business after a whistleblower flagged concerns.

The price of BT’s shares in London and American depositary receipts in New York fell nearly 21 percent.

BT wrote-down its Italian division to £530 million from £145 million after Patterson expressed disappointment with the “inappropriate behaviour” uncovered.

BT reported slowing demand from government and corporate customers following last June’s vote by Britons to leave the European Union. It said that slowdown, together with the accounting problems, would weigh on results for two years.

But the lawsuits accuse BT of having concealed or made misleading statements about the accounting practices in Italy, causing it to inflate earnings and its stock price.

Companies are frequently sued in the United States after releasing negative news that investors say they did not expect.


Equinix puts hand up for huge BT outage

equinix-se3The outfit behind the Telecity data centre has admitted that it was its fault that 10 per cent of BT internet subscribers were without a service yesterday.

Equinix confirmed that the outage started at its LD8 site in London’s Docklands where it has nine server warehouses which look after more than 600 businesses.

The company said it experienced a power problem “with one of its UPS system at 8/9 Harbour Exchange (LD8)”. It said it was carrying out a full investigation into the incident to identify the root cause of the fault.

This is not the first time that Telecity has experienced power problems. It had a major problem at its Sovereign House data centre last year which took two days to fix.

A spokesman from the company said: “Equinix can confirm that we experienced a brief outage at the former Telecity LD8 site in London earlier this morning. This impacted a limited number of customers, however service was restored within minutes. Equinix engineers are on site and actively working with customers to minimise the impact.”

A BT spokeswoman said the power problem affected around 10 percent of internet usage. But the  problem has now been fixed and services have been restored.

Telcos try to blackmail the EU

KraysEuropean telcos are having a go at blackmailing the EU by saying they will only bring in 5G if the community abandons its net neutrality rules.

A group of 20 major telcos including Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Vodafone, and BT has said that it will launch 5G networks in every country in the European Union by 2020 — so long as governments decide to weaken net neutrality rules.

In a pretty blunt and open extortion plan called the “5G Action Plan.” They say that 5G will change the world giving shedloads of benefits in cars, health, public safety, smart city, and entertainment scenarios by 2018. To add insult to injury they also want the EU to invest in it.

However the companies are also pushing for what they call the “right regulatory environment,” which would involve addressing the “dangers” that would come with open internet policies.

“The EU must reconcile the need for open Internet with pragmatic rules that foster innovation. The telecom industry warns that current net neutrality guidelines, as put forward by BEREC [the Body of European Regulators], create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment. Investments are therefore likely to be delayed unless regulators take a positive stance on innovation and stick to it.”

“The EU must reconcile the need for open internet with pragmatic rules that foster innovation.””

So far the EU has already told the telcos to sling their hook and rejected amendments to legislation passed last fall that would have protected net neutrality in Europe. The laws currently feature loopholes that allow so-called “specialised services” like self-driving cars and medical operation to hop onto internet fast lanes.

So far supporters of the manifesto include companies like Airbus, Siemens, and Phillips. The EU’s Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Gunther Oettinger, praised the document, stating, “The manifesto is a valuable input for the 5G action plan that will be presented in September, together with the proposal for the review of the telecom regulatory framework.”

However, we are not quite sure if he read it properly. Unless the telcos can make commissioners interested in their plan to hold the web hostage it is pretty likely that the EU will see it in the following manner – the telcos will make a fortune out of 5G and it is in their competitive interest to adopt the technology as soon as possible. They can did this with or without an open internet and it is better for EU citizens to have an open internet.

This does not apply to the UK of course. Now it has Brexited, it no longer has any protection from the telco gangsters.


BT gets provisional nod to take over EE

Telephone BoxThe Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will not oppose BT’s proposed takeover of UK mobile company EE.

The deal, which will cost BT £12.5 billion will see it become a major contender in the mobile market again.

Competitors, including Vodafone, thought the acquisition would make BT too powerful.

The CMA, however, believes that there will be no real harm done to either ordinary people on the street or to the mobile industry.

Although the CMA has given provisional approval to the merger, competitors will have a further three months to make further objections before a final ruling comes in January next year.

If the deal does go through, the four biggest operators in the UK will be Vodafone, O2, Three and BT-EE.

Virgin Media uses customers’ routers to provide free wi-fi

Virgin Media launch 50Mb with Rachel Stevens December 2008Virgin Media is planning to use its customers own routers to create a free public wi-fi scheme in London.

Neil Berkett, chief executive of Virgin Media said he was in “quite advanced negotiations” with London councils over the plans and said he was optimistic the rollout would begin “in the not too distant future”.

Virgin Media’s wi-fi network will be freely available to anyone at 0.5Mbps, and to its home broadband subscribers at up to 10Mbps.

The approach contrasts with BT’s extensive Openzone network, which although free to BT broadband customers, is charged at as much as £5.99 for 90 minutes’ browsing.

Berkett described the plans as “a punt” that will cost Virgin Media “a few million pounds” and will keep BT honest.

3G mobile broadband networks were not satisfying consumers’ demands for data on the move and suggested that the few years’ delay expected before 4G networks and devices are widely available left a gap in them market, he said.

The gap that is increasingly occurring between consumers’ need for data outside the home and what they can get on 3G.

Virgin Media plans to install wi-fi routers in its existing infrastructure, including the street-side cabinets that distribute its cable network into home. The talks with councils are focused on gaining permission for the necessary works.

Virgin, not really. They’ve promised that any outsider who connects to one of the router will be given a completely separate connection so it won’t affect a customer’s wi-fi performance or the speed of the internet.

If customers are uncomfortable about sharing wi-fi with others, Virgin says you can easily opt-out, but it does mean you then won’t have access to anyone else’s WiFi.

BT burger hits out at USA

the-pot-calling-the-kettle-blacBT has attacked the US telecoms cartel with its paid politicians as being against the free market.

Bas Burger, president of the British company’s American wing,  called for the United States to make its telecommunications companies  allow access to their networks at regulated prices, similar to rules in place in the United Kingdom.

Burger said that a lack of regulation has hampered competition in the United States to the point where AT&T and Verizon control 80 percent of the telephone and broadband lines used by homes and businesses.

This means that BT must charge customers more because it has to pay large fees to the US rivals to carry data over these wires. Even then they can sit on their hands whenever there is an outage and watch their rival’s suffer.

Burger called for regulation to guarantee a minimum quality of service, he said. For example, the U.S. companies have no specific time frame for fixing an outage that takes down one of BT’s networks.

Ironically, the British telecom regulator, Ofcom is considering a breakup of BT, the country’s dominant provider, after its rivals accused it of abusing its market position and failing to invest in the broadband networks that the rivals rely on.

Ofcom addresses UK digital challenges

Ofcom logoComms regulator Ofcom said it has finished the first stage of its digital communications review and has outlined challenges the UK faces.

It published a discussion document today which covers investment, competition, education and regulation or deregulation.

Sharon White, Ofcom’s CEO said the organisation wanted to promote competition, investment and innovation “so that everyone benefits from even better coverage, choice, price and quality of service to come”.

White said 4G mobile broadband can now be had to 42 percent of premises from the four operators, while one has managed 90 percent availability.

On the other hand, superfast broadband is available to 80 percent of premises in the UK, with a range of providers.

But Ofcom believes that a broadband speed of 10Mbit/s is needed to use today’s online servers, but eight percent of UK householders can’t get those speeds, particularly in rural areas.

Ofcom is actively looking at how BT spinoff Openreach works and is considering how it might work better for both business and people at home. It will also investigate how companies like Virgin Media help or hinder the competitive arena.

Ofcom is now canvassing comment to its discussion document, with a deadline of the 8th of October next.

Gigaclear scores the Battle of Epping Forest

battleofeppingforestFibre broadband supplier Gigaclear has won the Battle of Epping Forest  to deploy a network in Epping Forest as part of Superfast Essex’s Rural Challenge Project

The Essex project will cost £7.5 million and is part of a deal signed with Superfast Essex, Essex Council’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Superfast Essex wants to connect 65,000 properties at a cost of £24.6m during the first phase of the scheme. So far it has managed over half this with a year left to run.

Phase 2a was won by BT which will add 51,000 properties at a cost of £18.9m and will begin in 2016.

Gigaclear won Phase 2b which was a pilot programme aimed at filling gaps that BT could not reach.

Gigaclear has accepted state aid before. In Essex it will invest £2 for every £1 of government money, contributing a total of £5.5m.

It expects to start digging in October and aims to have its first customers in some of the hardest to reach communities in Epping Forest live before Christmas.

BT Openreach slammed by Bob the Builder

bob-the-builder-icon-v8BT has been slammed for not connecting new building sites with broadband fast enough.

The Guardian  brought to light several cases where BT Openreach was dragging its feet providing broadband to new building estates.

A new development in Cambridge has been without broadband for months and while everyone has a phone line for some reason BT can’t provide the ‘correct cables’ for broadband”.

Without broadband, the owners can’t get other sorts of services which most Brits take for granted, such as Sky.

Openreach claims that 93.5 percent  of new lines were installed in time in the last quarter of 2014. It’s the 6.5 percent that fail that concern developers who have to face the flak from angry buyers.

Steve Turner of the Home Builders Federation said: “During a site’s development house builders put in the infrastructure to carry the cables, but are then totally reliant on the broadband suppliers to install and connect up the telecom lines.”

“The industry is as frustrated as those new-home buyers experiencing delays to broadband connectivity,” he said,

Openreach blames the delays on “the explosion of housebuilding across the UK”, however it is not clear where it is getting its numbers from new homes built rose only 8 per cent last year.

“We are working flat out but we recognise that there’s more to do,” says a spokesperson.

Turner said Openreach needs to address poor performance. The Federation is helping them better plan resources to ensure that these problems don’t persist as the industry expands housing supply.

Last year the telecoms regulator Ofcom ordered Openreach to get its act together and imposed a “quality of service” requirement which obliges it, among other things, to send an engineer within 12 days of a new line being ordered.

It has until next April to meet the new targets and Ofcom says it’s currently assessing how it has fared in the first 12 months since they were imposed.

Telecom Italia becomes takeover target

riskThe former state monopoly Telecom Italia is becoming increasingly a tempting target for the latest wave of telco disintegration.

On the face of it the outfit has little to offer. Run in a typical Italian way, which involves a lot of shouting and nothing being done, the outfit desperately needs to invest in its aging infrastructure. But like most things Italian, it is flat broke.

However it has most of Italian telecommunications under its quasi-monopolistic belt and that is where it is a good deal for a company with the readies.

France’s Vivendi has been tipped as a likely buyer, although so far it has been talking about increasing its stake in the company. It is already Telecom Italia’s biggest investor with 14.9 percent.

CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine told daily Corriere della Sera it had raised its stake in Telecom Italia to just under 15 percent, replacing Telefonica as its biggest shareholder and gaining a foothold in a country it said had significant growth prospects.

Asked if the company would increase its stake further, De Puyfontaine told Corriere della Sera: “Time will tell, never say never.”

All this will be good news for Italian consumers who are likely to get a much better service if Telecom Italia is better invested and under new management.