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Aussie Broadband wants NBN congestion rebates extended to FttN



An NBN FttN node getting a Nokia line card installed

Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet

Aussie Broadband has called for the company responsible for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to pay retailers a rebate on localised fibre-to-the-node (FttN) congestion, following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday flagging a similar AU$20 charge for congested fixed wireless nodes.

The telco widely welcomed Tuesday’s draft decision by the ACCC to shift the NBN rebate system from one-off payments for late connections and faults to a daily penalty, in addition to boosting the amount for the rebate itself.

“We are particularly happy with the fixed wireless pre-connection reporting of congested cells and the congestion rebate proposal, which is a cost that our business has been wearing for many affected customers,” Aussie Broadband managing director Phil Britt said. 

“We would like to see it extended to cases of congestion in other parts of NBN’s network, for example, nodes experiencing localised congestion on FttN.

“We are still concerned about minimum fixed wireless speeds of at least 6Mbps during the busy period, and about how congestion is defined by NBN, as opposed to how customers define it.”

Britt added that the company would also like to see the lift for missed appointments, which the ACCC wants tripled from AU$25 to AU$75, be lifted even further to AU$150.

“We believe it should reflect the true cost to the customer rather than just act as an NBN incentive, given customers often take time off — including annual leave — to attend appointments.”

The ACCC said on Tuesday the rebate for missed appointments would be the only one that requires retailers to pass it directly onto customers.

Aussie Broadband passes on all rebates to customers, Britt said.

The managing director added that although NBN has improved its fault-fixing process, the company knows of a “significant percentage” of customers who don’t bother to get a fault fixed and live with a sub-standard line.

In its decision, the ACCC said NBN needed service commitments on a per-service basis instead of the aggregate basis it previously had.

“We consider that aggregate performance objectives limit incentives to drive improvements beyond the performance objective, and can hide pockets of very poor performance where performance is averaged out,” it said.

Other Australian telcos said the draft decision was a step in the right direction.

Aussie Broadband is currently raising capital in preparation for being listed on the Australian Stock Exchange next year.

“The industry collectively has more to do to lift our game,” Optus vice president of regulatory and public affairs Andrew Sheridan said.

“Paying out rebates should become the exception not the norm as we need to get things right the first time.”

A Telstra spokesperson said the telco is reviewing the decision and would provide a submission by the November 1 deadline.

Yesterday, NBN said it has “every incentive” to improve its levels of service.

“It’s in our best interest for customers to join the network as early as possible, stay connected, and ultimately take up higher value services over time,” an NBN spokesperson said.

“However, we are concerned the draft determination announced today by the ACCC will not drive the right improvements in customer experience and could lead to unintended consequences.”

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The Bizarre Porsche Cayenne That Was Never Actually Made



Porsche’s engineers eventually came up with two designs for the Cayenne-PMF, both of which varied predominantly over the tail light. But ultimately, the entire idea was canned. With the Cayenne-PFM convertible idea, Porsche originally set to answer four key questions:

  1. If the windscreen and A-pillars are reduced, and the roof tapers over the rear half, would the car still offer a comfortable seating experience?
  2. If the Cayenne’s doors are elongated by 20 centimeters and it is offered as a two-door model, does it make sense from a practical standpoint?
  3. Is it possible to accommodate a quick-folding soft-top roof that also meets Porsche’s standards for quality and design?
  4. And the most important question of them all: How the rear should look?

Michael Mauer, Chief Designer at Porsche, remarked that “an SUV as a convertible is a challenge both aesthetically and formally.” Mauer, who wasn’t a part of Porsche back then, added that “very strange shapes” emerge when an SUV’s bulky body is amalgamated with a convertible’s smaller, open-roof looks (per Porshe). However, it was not the just aesthetic and practical failures that put the Cayenne convertible plans on cold ice. 

“Forecasts regarding profitability were not particularly promising and doubts remained as to whether the car would look as appealing as a Porsche should,” says the official blog marking the 20th anniversary of Porsche’s venture into the SUV segment. As for the one-off Cayenne-PMF convertible unit, it lives on at the Porsche Museum in Germany’s Stuttgart.

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Tesla Body Damage Repairs Cost Way More Than You Might Expect



In a YouTube video, Ryan Shaw, a creator who specializes in Tesla and Tech content, described just how much it might cost to repair a Tesla after an accident. According to him, the repair cost of his Tesla Model Y after a rear-end collision was almost $20,000! Some of the most expensive parts that were replaced included the lift gate at $1,200, the quarter panel at $1,150, and the rear bumper at $680. Ryan Shaw’s Tesla Model Y was also involved in another rear-end collision with a repair bill that cost around $10,000. Lucky for him, the repair costs of both accidents were covered by insurance.

It’s not the first time that Tesla vehicles have proven to have expensive repair bills — a windshield replacement for a Tesla Model X could cost you as much as $1,311 without labor. Another YouTuber, Rich Rebuilds, claims he fixed a Tesla Model 3 at his garage for $700 after Tesla estimated the repair cost at $16,000. Also, a Tesla owner based in Finland decided to blow up his Model S after Tesla estimated a cost of $22,600 to replace the battery (via Gizmodo).

Similar stories are all over the internet, and even though the can’t all be verified, it’s a concern that most Tesla owners complain that repair costs are too expensive without a warranty or insurance cover. At the moment, Tesla discourages its customers from taking their cars to third-party repair services.  

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Supercar Brands You’ve Probably Never Heard Of



In 1990, an unnamed businessman from the UAE contacted German racing car manufacturer Lotec and asked for the fastest car in the world. With the promise of a blank check, Lotec began developing the car in 1991, and by 1995, the C1000 was finished. It featured a 5.6L Mercedes twin-turbocharged V8 engine that made over 1,000 horsepower. According to Motor1, Lotec claimed the car had a 0-62 mph time of just 3.2 seconds, and a top speed of 268 mph. The C1000 was strictly a one-off, but at a development cost of $3.4 million, it’s not like many other buyers could have afforded one anyway.

Creating the C1000 gave Lotec owner Kurt Lotterschmid the supercar bug, and shortly after development finished, he set about building a follow-up. By 2001, the brand’s next car, the Sirius, was unveiled. It was planned that five units a year would be created, each car selling for $462,000. The Sirius featured a mid-mounted Mercedes V12 making 850 horsepower, with many of the car’s internals derived from Lotec’s racing parts bin. It was a similar recipe to the Pagani Zonda, which launched just a few years prior, and shared the same engine. However, unlike Pagani, Lotec couldn’t drum up much interest in its ultra-expensive supercar, and only one example of the Sirius ended up being built.

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