Telecom operators try more fiber in their diet

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The pandemic and working from home have made internet bandwidth as essential a supply as water and electricity.

Network providers should reap the dividends – and they have a lot more options to add value and monetize their pipes compared to older utilities. And yet, the telecoms sector is in a declining and unhappy state, says Nic Fildes.

In a farewell column after 20 years on the beat, he says the industry entered 2021 with stocks trading at their lowest level in a decade. Investors have been put off by high capital spending, mediocre returns, huge debt and unconvincing promises of growth.

In response, telecom leaders have renewed their calls for consolidation and deregulation in a European market that has experienced a downward growth spiral over the past decade.

Things are looking a little better in the United States. The T-Mobile-Sprint merger is it doesn’t work too well, and Verizon had to revert to focus on your network after the failure of its content strategy, by selling its Verizon Media business which included Yahoo and AOL. Here, BT is debating what to do with its sports channels.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the emphasis is on the deployment of fiber and 5G. This is something telecom operators are good at and their “dumb pipes” will get a little smarter. The challenge will be whether, this time around, they can capture the value of this next generation of connectivity, or even enable a new generation of businesses to make money from their efforts.

** This is the last #techFT of 2021. I wish you the best and good health during the holiday season. The newsletter returns on Monday January 10. **

The Internet of (five) things

1. Meta-acts against surveillance companies
Meta has issued cease-and-desist warnings against six companies, including controversial Israeli intelligence firm Black Cube, which it says has spied on around 50,000 of its users worldwide as part of the growing industry “rental surveillance”.

2. Cash on the cloud
U.S. cloud software company chief Snowflake cashed in $ 344 million in company stock this week, bringing total sales in 2021 to more than $ 600 million and capping a wave of sales by executives from companies in the high-end software.

Daily Bulletin

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3. Oracle to take over healthcare IT company Cerner
Larry Ellison’s company is on the verge of closing a deal to acquire the health information technology group for around $ 30 billion, according to people briefed on the matter. The potential deal would be the largest in Oracle’s history and strengthen its ties to the healthcare industry.

4. Palantir to relocate data processing to the UK from the US
Data analytics firm known for its defense and national security ties plans to move all of its data processing operations to the UK from the US before what experts call a ‘regulatory tsunami’ global impact affecting cross-border data flows.

5. Open source needs better support
The Log4j vulnerability exposed the sometimes haphazard way open source software is maintained. In his Inside Business column, Richard Waters examines the various ways in which developers can be incentivized to make these programs at the heart of our networks more resistant to hackers.

Technological tools – Nurosym

More and more non-invasive devices are exploiting the vagus nerve, which runs through most of the body, in order to combat a range of health problems. Jonathan Margolis watched Sensation, which uses sound waves to reduce stress, while my insomniac wife tried Nurosym. It aims to improve the quality of sleep and to treat conditions such as long COVID and depression.

No apps are involved at this point and the rechargeable device is very easy to use. Shaped like a simple remote control, a cable from it clips to the tragus hump on your ear. This is powered by micro-pulses of electrical current targeted at the vagus nerve, the intensity of which is controlled by the plus and minus buttons on the remote control. One hour per day of use is recommended.

It is difficult to say if this improved my wife’s sleep, as many other factors are involved, but the makers of Nurosym claim that clinical studies have shown that “very significant improvement” is possible for the long symptoms of COVID after 10 days of use. Nurosym is available for £ 599, which seems expensive for such a simple gadget, but the company points out that it is a medical device. Rivals can cost much more: the tVNS® L is sold for € 3,000 and the gammaCore device is paid per use at approximately $ 3,000 per year.

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