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A quick roundup of the news in Telecoms | Week #20

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Facebook, telcos to build a huge subsea cable for Africa and the Middle East

Facebook, together with a group of telecom companies, including Vodafone, Orange, STC, China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Telecom Egypt, and WIOCC, will build a subsea cable system that is claimed to be one of the largest in the world. The project is called 2Africa and will cover 37,000 km of cables interconnecting Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa. The system is expected to go live in 2023/4, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, with a design capacity of up to 180 Tbps.

Read more at https://tinyurl.com/yahgfe8g

Workvivo raises $16 million to reinvent the intranet in the age of Slack and Zoom

The Irish startup Workvivo, an employee communications platform, has raised USD 16 million in a Series A funding. The funding round and Workvivo’s growth indicates that despite numerous attempts to reinvent workplace communication and collaboration, no solution has succeeded in solving the challenge. Workvivo’s CEO and co-founder John Goulding said that the platform “has been very deliberately designed around the things that are important for employee engagement. And with everybody being remote, engagement is obviously becoming a lot more prominent in people’s minds.” The platform also allows employees to post and monitor Slack messages or schedule and launch Zoom calls.

Read more at https://tinyurl.com/ydfzxpfa

UK broadband networks are standing up to coronavirus pressures – Ofcom

Ofcom, the UK’s telecommunications regulator, has reported that the country’s broadband speeds have coped with a sharp increase in demand during the COVID-19 lockdown. “Broadband in the UK has really been put to the test by the pandemic, so it’s encouraging that speeds have largely held up,” said Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s Group Director for Strategy and Research. Ofcom also noted that average download and upload speeds fell by 2% and 1% respectively, and latency increased by 2% when comparing pre- and post-lockdown performance. Nevertheless, a 2% decrease in download speeds is highly unlikely to have any material impact on the experience.

Read more at https://tinyurl.com/ybq5y5tj

Intel has invested $132M in 11 startups this year, on track for $300M-$500M in total

Intel Corporation, an American manufacturer of semiconductor computer circuits, has announced investments in 11 technology startups totaling USD 132 million. In a statement, Wendell Brooks, Intel senior vice president and president of Intel Capital, said that all their recent investments are “pushing the boundaries in areas such as AI, data analytics, autonomous systems and semiconductor innovation.” The list of the startups includes Anodot, Astera Labs, Axonne, Hypersonix, KFBIO, Lilt, MemVerge, ProPlus Electronics, Retrace, Spectrum Materials, and Xsight Labs. Intel is planning to invest between USD 300 million and USD 500 million in total this year.

Read more at https://tinyurl.com/ya5l2c4a

Microsoft targeting Italy with $1.5 billion investment for cloud datacentre

Microsoft has unveiled its five-year investment plan in Italy to allocate USD 1.5 billion to create its first cloud datacenter region in the country. The plan also includes technology investments in cloud services, digital skilling and re-skilling programs, local partnerships for business innovation, and the new Sustainability Alliance. Microsoft currently has 61 datacentre regions around the world, and the company’s executives say that they expect to significantly increase cloud infrastructure spending in the following quarter.

Read more at https://tinyurl.com/y7grb2na