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Aussie Broadband kicks off network upgrade

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Aussie Broadband has announced an upgrade of its nationwide core network, as well as purchasing international capacity across subsea cables, with both projects to be complete by late April.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) retail service provider said it would be using Cisco’s ASR9K and NCS5500 platforms for the core network upgrade, allowing the network to support up to half a million customers after it connected the 100,000th customer in January.

Upon the project’s completion, Aussie Broadband will have a 400Gbps backbone between points of presence (POPs) that are in the same state; 200Gbps between Sydney and Melbourne; 100Gbps between Sydney and Perth; 100Gbps between Melbourne and Perth; 40Gbps between Sydney and Brisbane; 20Gbps between Sydney and Adelaide; and 10Gbps between Adelaide and Perth.

“We’re also delighted to say that we will shortly complete protected 10Gbps links to all NBN POIs other than Tasmania, with the final four links due in the next 30 days,” Aussie Broadband Managing Director Phillip Britt said.

Aussie Broadband also worked with Telstra Wholesale on the network upgrade and expansion, with Britt saying his company has already seen a reduction in outages and in areas affected by its stop-sell policy.

The RSP has also been purchasing international capacity, including on the Hawaiki, Southern Cross, and Vocus subsea cable systems, with plans to purchase capacity on Indigo West in the future.

“We have purchased capacity on both legs of Southern Cross and the new Hawaiki Cable system to San Jose and Los Angeles. To match this, we will establish points of presence at Coresite SV1 in San Jose and Coresite One Wilshire in Los Angeles,” Britt said.

“We have also purchased capacity on the Vocus Australia Singapore Cable and will acquire capacity on Indigo West once available, again to be matched by a point of presence at Equinix SG1 in Singapore.”

Speaking with ZDNet in November, Britt had flagged a AU$4 million investment to upgrade its network and capacity as it adds between 5,000 and 7,000 new customers per month.

Its initial network was built for around 130,000 subscribers, but Aussie Broadband predicts that it will reach around 180,000 customers by June this year.

Britt also sees Aussie Broadband growing to more than 200 employees by mid-2019, as it has a policy of one support staff member per 5,000 customers.

Speaking on Aussie Broadband’s NBN outage in October, Britt revealed to ZDNet that it was the result of a betting agency customer being targeted during the AFL grand final weekend.

“We have a customer that’s a betting agency, and we believe that we were targeted to target them,” the MD explained.

“What happened was there was a lot of voice requests hitting our firewall, and we probably didn’t have enough capacity in that firewall infrastructure, and we were fairly open about that. Basically, that triggered this cascading failure from there, we lost authentication out to our equipment, so about half the customers couldn’t authenticate anymore.

“Part of what we’ve done to fix that is all the authentication mechanisms now have a separate direct pathway to each of the POIs and the aggregation points that we use, so that if that firewall infrastructure gets hit again … we might lose access to some of our internal services. We’re still working that through, getting those changes made.”

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Hertz massive Tesla Model 3 EV order sends interest rocketing

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Hertz today made a whopper of an announcement, revealing that it will be ordering 100,000 Teslas over the next year and adding those EVs to its fleet. Not only that, but Hertz will also install several thousand chargers at its network of locations around the US and Europe. With this move, Hertz says that it will “offer the largest EV rental fleet in North America and one of the largest in the world.”

Specifically, Hertz said today that it would purchase 100,000 Tesla Model 3s and those cars will start being available at airport and neighborhood locations across the US and Europe in November. At first, Hertz says its EV fleet will only be available in major markets within the US and “select cities” in Europe, but it seems the company is looking to expand availability rather quickly.

By the end of 2022, Hertz says it plans to have these Tesla Model 3s available in 65 markets, expanding further to 100 markets by the end of 2023. In all, Hertz plans to install 3,000 Tesla superchargers at various locations in the US and Europe as well. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this announcement sent Tesla’s stock on something of a surge this morning, but even more important is the impact this could have on the public perception of electric vehicles.

Hertz says that EVs will comprise more than 20% of its global rental fleet when the order is complete. In addition to placing this order, Hertz has also hired NFL star Tom Brady for an ad campaign centered around renting, driving, and charging these Tesla Model 3s. On Hertz’s website, we see that charging will be included in EV rentals, but only for a limited time. Beyond February 1st, 2022, it sounds like renters will have to foot the bill for charging.

It’s an ambitious plan, but in today’s announcement, Hertz cautions that the order of 100,000 Tesla Model 3s may be impacted by factors outside of its control. Specifically, the company is talking about the global semiconductor shortage, which could impact the production of computing hardware for some time to come. In any case, look for the option to rent a Tesla Model 3 to start popping up at Hertz locations next month.

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Bently Mulliner to unveil new bespoke collections at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

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Bentley Mulliner has curated three new bespoke design collections for its American clientele. The Mulliner Nauticus Collection will debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this October 27 to 31, 2021. The Nauticus Collection includes four Continental GT V8 Convertible models dressed in a fancy yachting theme.

The Continental GT Nauticus Collection has Aegean Blue and Ghost White paint with custom 22-inch Aegean Blue polished wheels. Wearing Bentley Mulliner’s carbon fiber Styling Specification, each Nauticus Bentley also gets a carbon front splitter, side skirts, rear spoiler, and rear diffuser. Also, the interior is resplendent in Brunel, Linen, and Portland leather in bespoke color splits, while the center console is home to open-pore chevron light veneers.

“This timeless classic further highlights the infinite possibilities and abilities in which to blend art and technology into a unique emotion and experience,” said Peter Brandt, Holmann Automotive Vice President and General Manager of Bentley Fort Lauderdale. “The individuality and distinctiveness of the Mulliner design aesthetics perfectly align with our pursuit of creating unique customer experiences.”

Meanwhile, Bentley of Manhattan commissioned the Mulliner Skyline Collection for the Flying Spur, Continental GT Convertible, and Bentayga luxury SUV. As expected, the Skyline Collection draws inspiration from the breathtaking skyscrapers of the Big Apple.

All members of the Mulliner Skyline Collection will wear a unique Onyx black paint applied by hand and robots, said Bentley. Other noteworthy features include 22-inch black and silver alloy wheels, darker exterior trim, LED welcome lighting, and premium silver interior trim.

Last but not least is the Mulliner Miami Collection, inspired by Miami’s colorful lifeguard stations and pulsating art scene. The collection includes the Flying Spur, Bentayga, and Continental GT finished in bright Orange, Blue, and Lime Green paint. Inside, Bentley’s Miami Collection gets two-tone painted piano veneers, Klein Blue leather upholstery, and bespoke quilting, among many others.

“Our dealers are very involved in each of their local markets and communities with appreciation to maximize the ability to promote Bentley’s craftsmanship,” said Mike Rocco, Vice President of Sales & Operations for Bentley Americas. “The opportunity to expand inventory offering to customers and present a truly unique experience through the Personal Commissioning Guide is remarkable.”

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Vazirani Ekonk is possibly the world’s lightest electric car

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Indian electric automaker Vazirani is not as mainstream as Tesla and other legacy EV makers, but what will soon change with the launch of Ekonk performance EV. The Ekonk is a low-drag performance concept that signifies the birth of Vazirani’s assault in the burgeoning EV category. The name ‘Ekonk’ is a derivative from Indian scriptures representing the divine light, “where for the first time design and innovation comes together,” said the company.

From the looks of it, the Ekonk is a dedicated performance contender, and it’s doing it the old school way: By shedding weight. Vazirani claims Ekonk is the world’s lightest electric car, and losing pounds in an EV is hard to do without losing a wheel or two. Tipping the scales at around 1627 pounds (738kg), the Ekonk is almost as lightweight as other three-wheeled EVs like the Arcimoto (590 kg) and Daymak Spiritus (620 kg).

In addition, Ekonk is lighter than the Aptera solar EV (816 kg), and it has four wheels instead of three, so Vazirani may be up to something here. How did they do it? “Biomimicry – studying how animals and humans use breathing to regulate their body temperatures – combined with some ancient Indian manufacturing techniques resulted in the invention of the DiCo technology,” said Chunky Vazirani, CEO of Vazirani.

Vazirani’s proprietary DiCo battery cooling technology “allows the batteries to cool directly with the air, as opposed to needing liquid cooling,” adds Vazirani. The carmaker adds DiCo is the first solid-state direct cooling system that utilizes nanoparticle technology to enhance the range and performance of any EV.

The automaker did not mention the battery capacity, but it did say Ekonk can rush to 60 mph from a dead stop in 2.5-seconds and has a top speed of 192 mph. Also, we have no idea how many motors are hiding underneath Ekonk’s aerodynamically optimized body shell, but Vazirani claims 722 horsepower and mountains of torque.

Additionally, Ekonk is a proper driver’s car. Vazirani said Ekonk has no driver aids, with just the electric motors and the wheels separating the driver from the road. It’s not a bad-looking thing, either, but the absence of a fixed or foldable roof means this car is a genuine track toy. If you don’t like a speedster, Vazirani also has the Shul hyper EV (with two doors and a roof) with the same DiCo battery cooling technology.

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