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Airbus and NTT DOCOMO have tested the possibility of supplying future wireless broadband access using the solar-powered Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS). The experiment was conducted in August in the United States, when the Zephyr S aircraft flew in the stratosphere for 18 days to assess different capabilities.   The Airbus Zephyr S, which is equipped with an onboard radio transmitter, offered a highly flexible data link during its stratospheric flight to mimic future direct-to-device connection. Test data was collected at different altitudes and during various hours of the day and night, with the goal of determining how weather conditions, varied elevation angles and aircraft flight patterns influence connectivity in the stratosphere.   Various bandwidths were used in the tests to replicate direct-to-device services from the HAPS to end-users at low, nominal and high capacity. The demonstration proved the practicality and adaptability of the 2GHz spectrum for HAPS-based services,…

 Viasat, a worldwide communications company, and Inmarsat, a major UK-based supplier of global mobile satellite communications services, have announced the signing of a formal agreement under which Viasat will buy Inmarsat for $7.3 billion.   The merger will establish a global communications leader with increased size and breadth to link the globe more economically, safely and securely. The new organization’s complementary assets and resources will allow the launch of innovative new services in both the mobile and fixed segments, giving customers more options in broadband communications and narrowband services, such as IoT.   The merged business intends to combine both companies’ spectrum, satellite and terrestrial assets into a worldwide high-capacity hybrid space and terrestrial network able to offer exceptional service in the rapidly developing commercial and government sectors.   Together, these businesses will establish a formidable multi-spectrum, multi-orbit powerhouse. With production and people capacity around the world, the new company…

Qualcomm Technologies has developed a drone platform with an artificial intelligence and 5G-based reference architecture. The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform aims to speed up the growth of commercial, corporate and industrial drones.   The Flight RB5 5G Platform is designed to serve as a foundation for commercial, enterprise and industrial drone development, assisting organizations in successfully capturing and processing data from drone cameras. The new 5G platform combines several complicated systems into a closely connected drone system. Mapping, inspection, film and entertainment, military, security and emergency response and delivery are some of the use cases for this technology.   The platform, which is powered by the Qualcomm QRB5165 processor, expands on Qualcomm Technologies’ most recent solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), delivering a solution that will power the next generation of high-performance, low consumption 5G drones. AI and machine learning are key to the platform, assisting in the…

Telecom Italia (TIM) has inked a deal with the Italian branch of Xavier Niel’s Iliad to co-invest in TIM’s last-mile grid firm FiberCop in order to accelerate the deployment of fiber broadband lines in Italy.   Under the terms of the agreement with TIM, Iliad will co-invest in FiberCop to assist in the development of the network that connects street cabinets to people’s houses. Iliad will receive access to Telecom Italia’s core fiber network, allowing it to provide ultrafast fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connections to clients.   According to TIM, the agreement validated FiberCop’s investment strategy, which aims to link 75 percent of Italy’s so-called grey and black zones, including cities and industrial districts, with FTTH connections at speeds of more than 1 gigabyte per second by 2025. The agreement’s financial terms were not disclosed.   According to analysts, the FiberCop agreement might help TIM counter some of the heightened competitive pressure…

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it will fund new broadband rollouts across the country through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The FCC has announced its readiness to give the green light to more than $311 million in funding for the provision of broadband in 36 states.   A total of 48 providers have been authorized for funding, and the FCC has noted that this financing will help nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in 36 states get access to gigabit speeds over the next ten years. Companies on that list include 3E8 Broadband Solutions, 4-County Fiber LLC, Aeneas Communications, Allen’s TV Cable Service Inc., Cincinnati Bell, Consolidated Communications, Cox Communications and more.   Additionally, the FCC has issued a statement about its steps to increase oversight in the RDOF program. The Commission has stated that it will not approve of any service provider participating in…

Spain’s leading telecommunications group, Telefónica, has announced the sale of a controlling stake in its fiber network in Colombia to a global investment company KKR. With the sale of this majority stake, the telecommunications company expects to reduce its debt by $169 million.    As part of the agreement, KKR will hold 60% of the shares in the new Colombian fiber company, and Telefónica will retain the remaining 40% and contribute its existing fiber assets in the country. The new company will start operating with a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network, covering 1.2 million locations in 50 cities and municipalities and serving 380,000 customers by the end of the first quarter 2022. In three years, their goal is to reach 4.3 million sites in almost 90 cities.   The deal between Telefónica and KKR values the new company at $500 million. This entity will be the first independent Colombian open access wholesale…

The new UK joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica officially became operational on 1 June, merging the two household names to form Virgin Media O2 (VMO2). This joint venture has committed to providing a unique choice to consumers and has also promised to boost the UK economy. While, at the moment, the company is not changing any of its current services, later this year it plans to offer seamless broadband, entertainment and mobile services all in one place. The Liberty Global-Telefónica merger is devoted to investing at least £10bn in the UK over the next five years. This investment will help businesses further contribute to the UK Government’s goals of connectivity, upgrading infrastructure all around the country, creating stiffer competition and providing a wider variety of choices for customers. The merger instantly makes the new business one of the largest in the UK, with 47 million…

DIDWW joins GSMA DIDWW, a global cloud communications service provider, has announced that it has become an associate member of the GSMA, an industry organization that represents the interests of mobile operators around the world. The GSMA supports the latest technological innovations and the development of the mobile ecosystem to promote digital transformation and industrial growth. GSMA membership allows DIDWW to actively take part in technical working groups, establish new business relationships, and develop strategies that will greatly contribute to the wider adoption of hosted VoIP services. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/4urtcbtz Mediacom to expansion broadband to 500K locations The US operator Mediacom has revealed its plan to provide high-speed broadband to another 500,000 under-serviced homes and businesses over the next three years. This scaling-up will include a combination of new facilities supported by state and federal broadband grants, line extensions and the development of fixed wireless access (FWA) using recently…

FCC establishes Emergency Broadband Benefit program The FCC has recently held an open meeting in order to discuss its next priorities. One of the most important matters discussed was the new Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which Congress has instructed the FCC to initiate. As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress has allocated $3.2 billion for the program. Broadband providers participating in the program will be able to offer discounts of up to $50 per month for Internet services and up to $75 per month for those services on tribal lands. Currently, it is unclear how long these broadband benefits will last. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/jj52hlfl Sinch acquires Inteliquent Sinch AB, a Sweden-based company primarily engaged in the provision of cloud computing services, has signed a final agreement to acquire Inteliquent, the largest independent voice communications provider in the US, for an all-cash offer of $1.140 billion. The deal expands…

Orange Romania, the largest provider of broadband Internet and mobile services in Romania, has entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in the fixed operator Telekom Romania Communications (TKR) in order to strengthen its position in the country and increase its market share in the sector. The reason given for Orange paying over $268 million for TKR, is that it is aiming to become the popular choice among customers for combined services in the Romanian market. Orange will gain a controlling 54% stake from the Greek company OTE, most of which is owned by Deutsche Telekom. According to Orange, the deal gives TKR a value exceeding $590.5 million. The transaction is subject to normal regulatory scrutiny and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021. TKR, being the second largest fixed line provider in the country, achieved revenues of over $739 million in…