NZ government backs Chorus on funding shortfall

New Zealand’s government has sided with telecoms infrastructure player Chorus in its assessment of the impact that regulated price cuts would have on planned investment in a nationwide broadband network.

According to a government report prepared by Ernst & Young, price cuts mandated by New Zealand’s telecoms regulator for access to copper-line networks would leave Chorus (Auckland) with a funding shortfall of about NZD1 billion ($825 million) assuming it did not implement any cost-saving measures.

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio form network-sharing partnership

Indian operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm have announced a network-sharing plan aimed at avoiding “duplication of infrastructure” and lowering costs.

The companies said they would share inter- and intra-city fiber-optic networks, submarine cable networks, towers, internet broadband services and other technologies that might emerge in future.

Besides avoiding duplication and freeing up capital for other projects, the operators said that comprehensive network sharing would help to “preserve the environment”.

AT&T considering more widespread fiber deployment: report

Set to launch a ‘gigabit’ fiber-based service in Austin, Texas this week, US telecoms giant AT&T is reportedly considering plans to extend the deployment of super-fast broadband services to other cities in the country.

According to a report from the UK’s Financial Times newspaper, Randall Stephenson, the operator’s chief executive, told attendees at an investor conference in New York that he saw “lots of other opportunities around the country … for Austin-type projects”.

BT Openreach chief executive to quit in Spring 2014

UK operator BT has announced that Liv Garfield, the chief executive of its Openreach division, will step down in Spring 2014 to join water company Severn Trent.

Garfield has been responsible for overseeing a £2.5 billion ($4 billion) commercial rollout of fiber broadband services by Openreach, BT’s (London, UK) local access network business.

BT also says she played a “pivotal role” in developing the business case for that fiber deployment in her previous role as Group Strategy Director.

Chorus withdraws dividend guidance on regulatory uncertainty

New Zealand’s Chorus has withdrawn its full-year dividend guidance, blaming the ongoing regulatory uncertainty over wholesale pricing for its move.

The company – which rents capacity on its broadband network to retail service providers, including Telecom New Zealand (Auckland, New Zealand) – had previously issued dividend guidance of NZD0.25 per share, but its financial plans have recently been thrown into disarray by regulatory proposals to lower the price of it services.

Deutsche Telekom agrees 546 million euros takeover of GTS Central Europe

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom has announced a €546 million ($731 million) takeover of GTS Central Europe aimed at allowing it to provide fixed-line services in parts of central Europe where it is currently a ‘mobile-only’ player.

The German incumbent said the takeover would also allow it to provide cross-border services to business customers – addressing an important pillar of its strategy for European regeneration.

Chorus says regulation will jeopardize fiber investment plans

New Zealand network player Chorus has lashed out at new pricing regulations for jeopardizing its plans to invest in a new fiber-optic network.

In a statement published on its website, the operator described recent regulatory proposals as a “black hole” that would put funding at risk.

Numericable unveils plans for initial public offering: report

France’s Numericable is reported to have announced plans for an initial public offering valuing the cable company at some €5.57 billion ($7.69 billion).

According to a report from Dow Jones Newswires, the operator plans to raise around €652.5 million in new capital, including €250 million from a capital increase.

Meanwhile, private-equity owners Carlyle and Cinven are looking to sell another €402.2 million as part of the offering, which would give Numericable (Paris, France) an enterprise value of between €5.06 billion and €5.57 billion, including €2.75 billion in debt.

Orange earnings fall 7% on competition, regulation

French telecoms incumbent Orange has reported a slump in earnings and revenues for the three months ending September, with regulation and competition weighing heavily on the operator in its economically challenged European heartlands.

The operator witnessed a 4% drop in revenues, to €10.16 billion ($14 billion), and saw restated earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fall by 7%, to €3.37 billion, in its third quarter.

Interoperability remains key GPON challenge: Informa

Telecoms industry executives have rated interoperability as the key challenge they face in deploying superfast broadband networks, according to a recent survey conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media.

The market-research company surveyed a total of 237 so-called “broadband stakeholders” and said that 54% of respondents cited interoperability as one of the top three challenges they face, with 25% of operators viewing it as the main challenge.

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