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Gold Coast details fibre and Wi-Fi network expansion plans

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The proposed fibre-optic network for the City of Gold Coast

The City of Gold Coast has announced more details of its fibre-optic network expansion, with the main Central Loop of the project set to be completed this financial year.

In Extension of the City-owned optic fibre network: Contractor Briefing tender documents, the City of Gold Coast revealed that the network will consist of three loops: The Central Loop for FY19 completion; the Northern Loop, to be completed the following year; and the Southern Loop, to be completed in FY21.

The Central Loop would include Miami depot, Miami aquatic centre, Burleigh Heads library, Burleigh Surf Life Saving Club, Burleigh Waters library, Robina library, Robina community centre, Mudgeeraba community centre, Mudgeeraba waste transfer station (WTS), Carrara depot, Nerang library, Molendinar WTS, Molendinar water treatment plant, Waterside West, Waterside East, Karp Court, Nerang Admin Building, Nerang Bicentennial, and Varsity Parade.

It would see the fibre-optic network expanded out to Nerang, Helensvale, Broadbeach, Miami, Palm Beach, Currumbin, and Coolangatta, and north past Coomera towards Ormeau and Jacobs Well.

The City of Gold Coast also revealed that it is seeking a panel of telco specialists to work across seven packages: Broadbeach to Miami; Miami to Burleigh Heads; Burleigh Heads Business Centre; Miami to Varsity; Bond University to Robina; Parkwood to Nerang; and Nerang to Robina.

The Gold Coast will also gain new Wi-Fi zones across Burleigh, Miami, and Nobbys foreshores; Waterside precinct; Cultural precinct; Nerang Admin precinct; Robina community centre; all libraries; and its Health and Knowledge Precinct.

This is in addition to its existing Wi-Fi zones in Broadwater Parklands, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, and Coolangatta.

According to the tender documents, the delivery method should combine use of existing conduit networks in parks and roadways; new construction; use of council facilities such as optical transport network outdoor units, lighting and CTTV poles, and toilet blocks; a design change from cabinet distribution to underground access joint; and outdoor cabinets, Wi-Fi APs, and layer 2 network devices.

Project delivery on the Central Loop is set to begin on October 15, 2018, and be complete by June 17, 2019.

The City of Gold Coast had in August announced that it would be spending AU$10 million to add a 37-kilometre loop to its fibre-optic broadband network as part of its Digital City Program.

The expansion of the city-owned broadband network should provide AU$2.5 million through cost savings in addition to the revenue being made by wholesaling the network to retail service providers, according to the city.

Gold Coast chief innovation and economy officer Ian Hatton said the fibre network — currently a 65km network running between Helensvale and Broadbeach that cost AU$4.5 million to deploy — will “support accelerated deployment of 5G”.

“We’re developing a low-latency, high-core-count fibre optic network that has the capacity to deliver the fastest internet speeds in Australia. When finished, the network will be 100 times faster than what exists today,” Hatton said at the time.

The Queensland government had in April revealed that it was undertaking due diligence to assess whether it can provide capacity on its own fibre-optic network ahead of the limited fibre provision of the federal government’s National Broadband Network (NBN).

In late August, the City of Gold Coast then announced that it will also be building out an Internet of Things (IoT) network covering more than 1,300 square kilometres, with plans to use the connectivity for digital water metering, waste management, and support for parks and fields.

The LoRaWAN network is likewise part of the city’s digitisation program, and is being built and operated by Australia’s National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo).

“We’re developing a secure, scalable, commercial-grade IoT network that will enable infinite use cases by businesses, enterprise, and the council,” Hatton said.

“We chose LoRaWAN technology because it supports large-scale deployments securely, reliably, and cost effectively. NNNCo have been engaged because of their proven ability to build the network and bring commercial solutions that have the potential to significantly add value to Gold Coast residents and businesses.”

The network being provided by NNNCo — which has also been chosen to build IoT networks for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie — will lower costs across water management, Hatton added, as well as enabling early detection of any issues.

As a result of hosting the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, the Gold Coast was also the first area in the nation to have a live 5G network courtesy of Telstra, as well as a trial 5G network from Optus that ran during the event.

According to the Queensland government’s submission to the to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network’s rural and regional rollout inquiry, it is additionally encouraging the uptake of “competitive” non-NBN fixed-wireless services in areas that are not yet ready to connect to the NBN.

Related Coverage

Gold Coast announces AU$10 million fibre broadband expansion

The City of Gold Coast is adding more areas to its fibre broadband network under an additional loop at a cost of AU$10 million.

Gold Coast announces IoT network

In addition to its fibre-optic broadband expansion and its 5G access via Telstra and Optus, the City of Gold Coast has announced that it is building an IoT network with NNNCo.

Optus launches ‘5G Live’ experience in the Gold Coast

Optus’ live indoor and outdoor trial 5G network in the Gold Coast is providing download speeds of up to 16Gbps, as well as demonstrating a range of 5G use cases including robotics and VR.

Telstra’s 5G network goes live in the Gold Coast

Telstra plans to switch on more than 200 ‘5G-capable sites’ by the end of 2018, starting in the Gold Coast.

Western Tasmania gains fibre broadband under NBN tech choice program

The government has finally made good on an election promise to provide fixed-line and fixed-wireless NBN connections instead of satellite to the West Coast of Tasmania.

5G mobile networks: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

As LTE networks become increasingly saturated, mobile network operators are planning for the 5G future. Here is what business professionals and mobile users need to know about 5G.

Streaming media policy (Tech Pro Research)

Although there are many legitimate business reasons to access streamed audio and video files, such as engaging in training, reviewing industry-related content, and conducting research.

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Biden EV plan “the largest mobilization of public investment” since WW2

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The US government plans to replace its fleet of vehicles with electric alternatives, part of a huge public investment in equipment that President Biden says will be the largest since World War II. The goal was announced today, as Biden discussed the Buy American Executive Order and strategies to strengthen American manufacturing and create jobs in the US.

“The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles,” Biden said during the press conference, “which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, creating millions of jobs, a million autoworker jobs, and clean energy, and vehicles that are net-zero emissions. And together this will be the largest mobilization of public investment in procurement, infrastructure, and R&D since World War II.”

Certainly, there’s no shortage of vehicles being used across the government’s various departments. Each year, those departments are required to submit records on owned, leased, and commercially leased vehicles in their fleets. For 2019, civilian agencies owned more than 158,000 vehicles, while military agencies owned more than 62,000 vehicles.

The biggest fleet, however, is used by the US Postal Service. In the 2019 figures, it reported owning more than 224,000 vehicles. Tallied across all the agencies, there’s more than 445,000 owned vehicles on the books, and more than 200,000 leased in some form, with total costs of around $4.4 billion.

Typically, domestic vehicles already far outweigh the use of foreign passenger vehicles and trucks in use by the US government. Indeed, of the roughly 645,000 strong fleet in 2019, only around 6-percent were foreign-made. However, should even a small percentage be replaced with electrified vehicles, that could represent a huge shift in emissions.

The current reporting does not break down the vehicles by drivetrain type – beyond a separate category for low-speed electric vehicles (LSEV) – so it’s unclear how many might already be battery-electric or hybrids.

Still, it’s only in recent years that there have been viable options for replacing mainstream vehicles with zero-emission alternatives, and even then some categories are still awaiting production EVs. Ford and Chevrolet are both preparing electric pickup trucks, as is Tesla, and several American automakers are working on electric SUVs and sedans.

Startups like Rivian and Canoo are developing both passenger cars and SUVs and electric delivery vehicles, while Ford has an e-Transit in the pipeline, an all-electric version of its best-selling van. Earlier this month, GM announced a new brand, BrightDrop, to focus on electric logistics.

“The dollars the federal government spends on goods and services are a powerful tool to support American workers and manufacturers,” the White House said today. “Contracting alone accounts for nearly $600 billion in federal spending. Federal law requires government agencies to give preferences to American firms, however, these preferences have not always been implemented consistently or effectively.”

Full details of today’s executive order are yet to be published in the Federal Register by the government.

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Arcimoto is planning a tilting electric three-wheeler and it sounds epic

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Get ready for the electric vehicle market to lean over, with Arcimoto announcing it’s acquired a tilting trike specialist to use the tech in future EV three-wheelers. Based in Oregon, Arcimoto currently offers all-electric vehicles for public and business use, with its FUV – or “Fun Utility Vehicle” – available to preorder from around $18k.

Today’s deal sees Arcimoto snap up Tilting Motor Works, which offers a leaning kit for motorcycles. Its TRiO system can adapt existing bikes, promising to keep their natural lean but adding stability with a second front wheel. It’s currently offered for Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Indian models, priced at $14k plus installation.

Now, TRiO will be used for future Arcimoto trikes. The system will allow the EVs to lean into corners for more engaging driving dynamics, as well as lock upright when at a stop. The extra front wheel aids in traction too, Tilting Motor Works says, as well as improving braking; the company will continue to offer its kits for traditional motorcycles as well.

Arcimoto’s current FUV supports two occupants, sitting one behind the other. It has a 75 mph top speed from dual electric motors, and a range of 102 miles of urban driving; the doors are detachable, and rather than a steering wheel inside there are handlebars with heated grips. Currently, the company is taking preorders in Florida and on the west coast of the US.

It’s not the only vehicle Arcimoto has in mind, however. Late in 2020, the company showed off its latest prototype, a three-wheeler it called the ROADSTER. Roofless, and with a chopped-down windshield, it promises a more traditional take on the electric trike segment.

Electric drive and three wheels is arguably where some of the most interesting experiments are taking place in mobility right now. Last month, for example, we took the ElectraMeccanica Solo EV out for a spin, a single-seat electric trike that aims to reboot commuting. Based on the fact that almost 90-percent of Americans typically drive alone, it trades cabin space and seating for much cheaper running costs.

What it doesn’t do, however, is tilt. For an example of that, you have to look to something like Toyota’s i-ROAD, a distinctive electric three-wheeler that could lean into corners according to how aggressively you steered. Offered in select locations in Japan, and part of Toyota’s aggressive electrification push for the next few years, the i-ROAD was never officially offered in the US.

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Lotus teases sports car future as Elise, Exige and Evora face the axe

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Lotus is preparing a huge shake-up, with the iconic British sports car company confirming it’s axing three of its most memorable models to pave way for an all-new line-up. 2021 will be the end of the line for the Evora, Exige, and Elise, Lotus said today, dropping a new teaser about just what is intended to take their place.

We’ve already seen one element of that plan, in the shape of the beastly Evija hypercar. Announced in mid-2019, it promised to tap electrification for its potency, something Lotus demonstrated in action at its public debut in October last year.

Not everyone will be able to afford – or even find a spot on the waiting list for – a $2m+ EV behemoth. For that audience, Lotus has confirmed a new series sports car range, with the Lotus Type 131 expected to go into prototype production later this year.

It’ll be built at the automaker’s Hethel, Norfolk facility in the UK, which will undergo a $127m+ investment and see around 250 more engineers and manufacturing recruits added to the payroll. Helping foot the bill are shareholders Geely and Etika, which took ownership of Lotus in September 2017.

You can’t accuse Lotus of not making the most of its outgoing range. The first-generation Elise made its debut all the way back in 1995, a new model for Lotus but epitomizing its ethos of reducing weight in the name of increasing engagement. Though never the most powerful sport car, it nonetheless carved out a lingering reputation across several generations for its purity behind the wheel.

The Exige, meanwhile, arrived in 2000. A coupe to the Elise’s convertible, it built on the platform with race-focused technology to maximize performance. Come 2008, the Evora gave Lotus an entrant for the super-sports sector, tempering some of the automaker’s notorious focus on paring back creature comforts with a more luxurious, GT-minded approach.

The Type 131 range – part of what Lotus is calling its Vision80 strategy – will include at least three new models, replacing the Elise, Exige, and Evora. “Our renowned team of engineers, designers and technicians who are working on the new cars are acutely aware of the legacy from the Elise, Exige and Evora,” Matt Windle, executive director of engineering at the automaker, says. “Indeed, many were around when Elise was being developed.”

Earlier in 2020, rumors suggested Lotus could reboot the classic Esprit name for a new model. The new Esprit, it was hinted, could use a hybrid V6 powertrain, combining gas and electric power, though unlike James Bond’s car it would be unlikely to turn into a submarine.

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