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Chorus and partners underestimated migrant worker risk in UFB rollout

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Chorus trials 10Gbps broadband
Chorus gigabit broadband customers in Auckland and Wellington can apply to be among the first to trial a new 10Gbps-speed service.

While the subcontracting model used for New Zealand’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network was appropriate to meet the uptick of fibre deployment, as was the use of migrant workers. A review has found that Chorus, Visionstream, and UCG did not manage well or understand how this model became vulnerable to such a risk.

“There is evidence that the ‘UFB Connect’ part of the UFB work programme is where the model is exposed to breaches of labour standards and migrant exploitation,” the review by MartinJenkins said.

“These problems relate to services delivered by two of the service companies, Visionstream and UCG, through a range of subcontracted delivery partners.”

In October, the Labour Inspectorate arm of Employment New Zealand announced it had completed 75 visits alongside Immigration New Zealand and Inland Revenue in June of 2018 and identified 73 subcontractors in Auckland in breach of minimum employment standards.

The MartinJenkins report said that number represented one in five subcontracting companies involved in UFB Connect, and after further work by Chorus, VisionStream, and UCG, that number was closer to one in three, with 109 companies being examined in total.

“This was sufficient for us to form a view that there was potentially a systemic issue that needed to be addressed,” the report said.

The report said Chorus relied too heavily on its Australian service companies, Visionstream and UCG, to manage worker risk and the contracts only forced to pair to meet legal minimums.

“Within the past two years, both Visionstream’s and UCG’s workforce have rapidly grown, predominantly through an increased use of Indian and Filipino workers,” the report stated.

“Despite this growth, Visionstream’s and UCG’s practices were not sophisticated enough to protect workers in their contracted supply chain from exploitation.

“Adequate protection would have included addressing migrant workers’ fear that complaining about labour standards could threaten their right to work in New Zealand.”

In response to the review, Chorus said it and its partners would “step up” to identify and mitigate risks.

“We underestimated that risk as it emerged, instead focusing on productivity, health and safety and quality. When issues arose we relied too heavily on the assurances given, which are not appropriate checks in a situation where there are a large numbers of migrants,” Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie said.

The company said it would: Require its service companies to appoint people, independent of delivery teams, to ensure subcontractors comply with labour laws; review what companies are paid for task completion and the process used when a job is substandard; require Visionstream and UCG to enforce minimum business standards for subcontractors, as well as provide support services to them; start an on-boarding program for migrant workers; require statutory declarations of compliance from all subcontractors; and establish an ongoing audit program.

Chorus further said it would commit to publishing and regularly reinforcing worker rights and welfare, create a portal to help workers understand their rights, help to transfer visas of workers if required, and establish a trust find to certain workers who cannot secure payment from their employer.

“While the report finds the vast majority of employment law breaches were low level, the way the supply chain is set up means it could still be vulnerable and this will be fixed,” Chorus chair Patrick Strange said.

Chorus said of the 109 companies identified between itself, the Labor Inspectorate, Visionstream, and UCG, 22 were blacklisted, suspended, had contracts terminated, or voluntary stopped working on UFB Connect; 41 were in a “remediation process”; 17 were being audited by the service companies; and 30 were found to be compliant.

“The investigations found that contracting employers were failing to maintain employment records, pay employees’ minimum wage, holiday entitlements, and provide employment agreements,” Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said in October.

“This is simply not acceptable and it is not welcome in New Zealand workplaces.”

Visionstream took on UFB work in October 2016 and gained installation work for 80% of the network, with the remaining 20% given to Broadspectrum and multi-dwelling unit expert UCG to be installed.

Meanwhile, New Zealand retailer Spark disclosed it had been fined NZ$675,000 for historical billing issues related to “incorrect implementation of a ‘welcome credit’ when joining Spark for some fibre broadband customers during 2016” and “a billing implementation issue relating to a 30-day notice period when customers left Spark”.

Court proceedings were brought on by the New Zealand Commerce Commission, with Speak pleading guilty to breaches to the Fair Trading Act.

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Can You Use An Xbox Controller On Nintendo Switch?

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It’s worth noting that some of the Xbox controller’s functions do not work on Switch, nor are many of the Switch’s unique features supported by the controller. Specifically, it lacks support for rumble, NFC, analog triggers, trigger vibration, the audio jack, IR input, and the LED doesn’t correlate to any Switch functions, including player indicators. You also can’t wake the Switch up from sleep using the controller.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that Xbox controllers swap the positions of several face buttons in relation to Switch controllers, so the labels won’t match up perfectly. For instance, the positioning of the “A” and “B” buttons on the Xbox controller correspond to “B” and “A” on the Switch controller, respectively. The same is true for the “X” and “Y” buttons. Otherwise, the Switch’s controller scheme perfectly matches the Xbox controller’s available buttons and triggers.

None of this is the fault of the 8Bitdo adapter. These limitations are simply the byproduct of marrying two devices that were not designed to work together. If that’s a dealbreaker, then your best bet is to buy an officially licensed Nintendo Switch controller. The best alternative for Xbox fans is Nintendo’s official Pro Controller.

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The Incredible Capabilities Of The US Air Force’s New Supersonic Training Jet

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According to the USAF, Boeing will produce over 350 Red Hawk aircraft as part of a contract worth more than $9.2 billion. There’s also speculation that the Red Hawk’s design could be easily modified to incorporate radar systems, electronic warfare equipment, or under-wing weapon stations, making it an attractive purchase for other U.S. military branches or even international allies.

The training jet features a glass touchscreen cockpit that provides a more modern flair — as well as a more practical piloting experience, one would hope — and tiered seating, so both the instructor and the trainee have sufficient ability to pilot the aircraft without visual obstructions.

Production models of the T-7A Red Hawk sport a red tail section, a reference to the red-painted tails of the aircraft flown during World War II by the 99th Fighter Squadron, better known as the “Tuskegee Airmen.” One of the planes they flew was the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, which influenced the design of the T-7A Red Hawk.

In the same tradition of equality that the Red Hawk’s name and design aspire to embody, the training jet is built to safely accommodate a wider variety of pilot body types and sizes than previous jets, allowing for a larger recruiting pool including more women than has historically been the case. Let’s hope similar updates make their way to the USAF’s other next-gen aircraft.

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How To Transfer Digital Games To A New Nintendo Switch

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Let’s say you’ve just gotten ahold of a brand-new Nintendo Switch console, but this isn’t your first. Maybe it’s an upgrade to the fancy OLED model, perhaps you’ve been sharing with family, and this one is just for you. Whatever the reason, if you already have or have had a Switch, and now you have a new one, you don’t have to start building up an entirely new games library (or even start your games over).

Thankfully there are ways to transfer your digital games from one Switch to another, along with your user accounts and saves. While the process is a bit different depending on whether you have access to that original Switch console, it’s still doable either way. Just know that it might take a little more effort without the console where all of your info was previously saved. And you’ll likely lose any game progress that wasn’t backed up using Cloud saves.

If you still have the original Switch console

Assuming you do have both the previous Switch and the new one you want to transfer everything over to, here’s what you do:

  1. From the original Switch, open System Settings (the icon looks like a gear) on the Home menu.
  2. Select Users, then select Transfer Your User Data.
  3. Select Next twice, and then choose Source Console to mark this Switch as the transferrer.
  4. Select Continue, then grab the new Switch console to which you want to move everything.
  5. From the new Switch, open System Settings and select Users, then Transfer Your User Data.
  6. Select Next, Next again, then choose Target Console to designate this Switch as the transferee.
  7. Select Sign-in, then sign into your Nintendo Account using either the associated email or sign-in ID.
  8. Select Sign-in, then Next, then go back to the original Switch.
  9. Wait for the systems to find each other, then select Transfer.
  10. Wait until the transfer is complete (this may take several minutes), then select End to finish.

If you no longer have the original Switch console

Things are a little more time-consuming without access to the original Switch console on which your account was created or primarily used. Also, note that any saved data that hasn’t been backed up via Cloud storage will not be able to carry over.

  1. First, ensure the original Switch console has been deactivated (via Nintendo), which can be done remotely through your Nintendo Account via the official website.
  2. Next, if you haven’t done it yet, link your Nintendo Account (via Nintendo) to the new Switch console.
  3. Log into the eShop on the Switch using your Nintendo Account, which will designate it as the primary console.
  4. You can download cloud backups of your game saves — if you have a Switch Online subscription and have been using the feature.
  5. You can also access your account’s download history through the eShop and begin installing any of the digital games you’ve previously purchased. This will, of course, take longer when dealing with more or larger games and will require an adequate amount of storage space.

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