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FibreCo Queensland officially established with first board members

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FibreCo Qld given AU$8.6m to establish state-owned fibre backhaul
The Queensland government will be spending the cash over two years to stand-up the state-owned entity.

The Queensland government-owned fibre backhaul provider, FibreCo Queensland, has been officially established this week with its first two board appointments.

Taking their seats will be Energy Queensland company secretary Jane Nant and Powerlink CEO Merryn York, whose companies are responsible for operating FibreCo. The chair and independent directors will be named in the coming weeks, the government said.

FibreCo was first announced at the end of last year, and created to make use of extra capacity on the state’s existing 6,000 kilometres of fibre cabling. FibreCo will act as a wholesaler and sell connectivity to ISPs.

The network will target regional areas and is slated to be available across Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, and Mackay.

“By using the government’s fibre optic network, we can provide significantly greater capacity than what’s currently available in regional Queensland,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said previously.

“Currently, Telstra and Optus dominate the wholesale market in regional Queensland, and this makes it harder for new players to get on the scene.”

In the state’s recent Budget, FibreCo was handed AU$8.6 million for the 2019-20 financial year.

Minister for Small Business Shannon Fentiman said on Tuesday the network would be a win for small businesses.

“Internet is vital to small businesses, particularly in regional Queensland — that’s why we’re establishing FibreCo to make best use of assets that are owned by the taxpayer,” she said.

“There’s no denying that the federal government’s National Broadband Network has fallen short. We hope this initiative helps to pick up the slack.”

The government added that FibreCo’s office would be set up in August at The Precinct in Fortitude Valley, which in 2018 received part of AU$50 million over five years to be the state’s startup hub.

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Gunther Werks will build 25 modernized 993-based Porsche Speedsters

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A tuning house based in California called Gunther Werks has launched onto the custom car scene an incredibly attractive run of 993-generation Porsche 911 cars that are heavily customized. The vehicle is a modern interpretation of an extremely rare 993-based Speedster, and Gunther Werks will build 25 of the cars. The entire run is likely to sell out.

The customized cars put a hard stylized cover over the back of the 911 where the rear seats would typically reside. The tuner redesigned the front bumper, added new rear lights, and created a deck lid with an integrated spoiler. Most of the custom body panels are built using carbon fiber.

When the top was chopped off the car, rigidity was maintained using bracing under the body. Gunther Werks also added roll hoops behind the seats to protect the occupants of the vehicle in the event of a rollover accident. The company will build the car without a windshield for those willing to risk being hit in the face by bugs at speed.

Copious amounts of carbon fiber are used all around the vehicle, including on the interior with the floors, seat shells, and much of the dashboard manufactured using carbon fiber. The pedals were moved for a more ergonomic driving position. Power comes from a naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six tuned for 435 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque.

The engine is paired up with a six-speed manual transmission for a traditional sports car feel. Those who decide to order the slick Speedster will get to work directly with the styling department to create their custom-designed car. One major mystery is pricing, with no mention of cost for the Speedster. However, the company previously designed a vehicle known as the 400R and that ride sold for $525,000 per unit. Presumably, the incredibly sexy Speedster will carry a similar price tag.

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This Coyogar Mercury Cougar by Ringbrothers is packing a Ford Coyote V8

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Custom car builder and parts maker Ringbrothers has unveiled its newest 1969 Mercury Cougar restomod. Affectionately called the Coyogar, it’s a masterful interpretation of the highest-selling vehicle from Ford’s now-defunct Mercury brand. This first-gen Cougar restomod is a feast for the senses, but wait until you see what’s under the hood.

“We put our heart into each car we build, and this Cougar is no exception,” said Jim Ring, co-owner of Ringbrothers. “The finished product is mild and classy, yet any enthusiast instantly knows it’s not stock.”

Ringbrothers went for an engine swap, but they wanted to keep it within the family, so to speak. The next best thing is a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter Ford Coyote V8 from a first-gen Ford F-150 Raptor truck. But instead of a standard manual stick, this Cougar has a slick 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Yep, this ’69 Cougar is packing some new tech underneath, but the frame-off restoration stays true to the car’s original design. Ringbrothers gave its latest creation new floor pans and a new transmission tunnel. Suspending Coyogar on all fours is a custom DSE suspension kit. Meanwhile, the HRE Series C1 C103 three-piece forged alloy wheels are wrapped in sporty Michelin tires. It also gets upgraded anchors for better stopping power.

Finished in Augusta Green Metallic paint by BASF, this green hue is the same Highland Green factory paint option from 1968. “I imagine this is what Mercury designers would have come up with if they were building the Cougar today,” added Mike Ring.

Inside, the period-correct cabin with its wooden tiller and fancy wood appliques is slightly ruined by a single fault: That fat, unpleasant gear shifter that looks out of place in an otherwise brilliant restomod. We’re sure the judges at SEMA will see it as an eyesore, but the Coyote V8 makes up for this glaring oversight.

Other than that, this 1969 Mercury Cougar looks as fresh as the day it left the factory 53 years ago. “While we couldn’t bring the cart to the SEMA show, we hope it can be shown to the public soon,” concluded Mike Ring, co-owner of Ringbrothers. “We had never done a Cougar before, so this was a fun build.”

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Apple Car made by Kia might still be on the table

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The past few weeks saw a rather amusing circus of reports, leaks, rumors, and speculation about who Apple will choose to work with to make the long-rumored “Apple Car” electric vehicle. A slip of the tongue may have cost Hyundai that prized position but, as always in the world of business, not everything is what it seems from the outside. Industry sources are now talking anew about how things may still work in Kia’s favor but that partnership might not be what people or even shareholders expect it to be.

Earlier this year, Hyundai slipped and revealed that it was in talks with Apple over electric car plans. Other names were thrown around, including Kia, which is part of the Hyundai Motor Group, but Hyundai later retracted its statement, denying it was in such talks. According to rumors, Apple was none too happy about the way Hyundai handled the secrecy.

That, however, doesn’t mean things are over between Apple and Hyundai, especially for Kia. The latter was considered one of the best options to make the Apple Car considering it has a production plant in Georgia in the US. Korean news site Chosun Biz reveals that negotiations between Apple and Kia haven’t completely collapsed but it might revolve around electric cars specifically.

According to its sources, Apple and Hyundai Motor Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last year that covers collaboration in eight sectors. That does include electric vehicles but the latter also covers what is referred to as “last mile” mobility, covering the short distance between car or vehicle to the door. Analysts say that Hyundai’s statements about its communication with Apple don’t negate this possibility.

Unsurprisingly, Kia shares rose after this news broke out, even if it may not be the Apple Car envisioned and expected by everyone. It might, however, be an easier market for Apple to break into instead of jumping into self-driving electric cars immediately.

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