BICS and Fastweb combine to link Europe and MEA

Connectivity vendor BICS has joined forces with Italian operator Fastweb to augment communications links between Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The strategic partnership aims to combine BICS’ pan-European network with Fastweb’s fibre backbone in Italy and its access to submarine cable systems originating in Sicily. The point of this joint effort is to offer intercontinental connectivity services wholesale to other operators.

“We are highly satisfied with this partnership agreement with such a major international player as BICS, which highlights the strength of our network and the solid nature of our strategy,” said Fabrizio Casati, Chief Wholesale Officer at Fastweb. “The partnership with BICS adds further value to our investments, following on from our participation in the Open Hub Med consortium in Sicily and the development of an innovative and future-proof Flexible Optical Network all along Italy.”

“BICS has always been committed to providing its customers with first-class connectivity, and this partnership confirms our position as a bridging partner for operators expanding their capacity provision throughout Europe,” said Daniel Kurgan, CEO at BICS.

In case you’re wondering where else BICS connects here are a couple of maps for you. We couldn’t find any for Fastweb, sorry.

BICS Europe

BICS global

The BariMatera5G project seeks to exemplify the potential of 5G

A collaboration between TIM, Huawei and Fastweb to create one of the first 5G antennas is designed to show why it’s worth the effort.

The BariMatera5G project is a high-profile piece of 5G virtue-signaling by these three tech players. It has left the lab and officially hit the airwaves today with some kind of symbolic switch having been flicked, no doubt. As a result the Italian cities of Bari and Matera will be among the first in Europe to live the 5G dream, or at least be ready for it once devices turn up.

The precise aim of the project is to use the 3.7-3.8 GHz band to achieve 75% coverage of the two cities’ testing area by 2018. The testing has already hit 3 Gbps in the field, we’re told, but it’s about a lot more than just enhanced mobile broadband, which is just as well as merely a step up in speeds-and-feeds is unlikely to be enough to make 5G a success.

The slide below from the latest presentation about the project is a good summary of the various moving parts that full-fat 5G will consist of. The afore-mentioned tests also achieved 2 ms latency, which corresponds with the low-latency network slice (uRLLC) and the third cardinal slice is massive machine-type communication (mMTC), which is geek-talk for IoT and  will be represented at a technological level primarily by NB-IoT.

This project seems to have established itself sufficiently that is reasonable to expect it to be an exemplar for early 5G and what it promises for a while yet. It’s also good to see at least some parts of Europe having a good go at keeping up with China and the US in the 5G race.

BariMatera5G network slide

Huawei claims 5G data connection first in Turin

Huawei teamed up with TIM and Fastweb to test 5G data connections over the 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum band in Italy.

These trials are part of a state sponsored initiative promoted by the Italian Economic Development Ministry (MISE), labelled Project Bari Matera after the first two locations to benefit from it. This initiative is considered to be at the vanguard of European 5G development and was frequently referred to by Qualcomm at its 5G event last week.

The significance of this test seems to be that it was the first data connection tested on an end-to-end 5G network, including the terminal, the New Radio access and the core network. As ever 5G NR USPs such as speed, latency and efficiency were the focus and they managed to his 3 Gbps, 2.6 ms latency and a spectral efficiency of (30 b/s)/Hz, all of which are much better than LTE.

That’s about it for now, since nearly all of the material being circulated about this trial is in Italian. There isn’t even a canned quote, you’ll be devastated to hear, but if there was it would almost certainly make reference to how excited all the participants are and how the trial reflects on their general superiority at everything.