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NBN finally has a 50Mbps or quicker majority network

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(Image: ACCC)

The company responsible for deploying the National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia can now lay claim to having a network where the majority of its users are on plans of 50Mbps or faster download speeds, according to the latest quarterly Wholesale Market Indicators Report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

As of the end of December 2018, almost 2.3 million were on 50Mbps tier plans, and another near 400,000 were on plans of 100Mbps or faster.

However, before the champagne corks start flying around NBN offices, it is worth noting that Australia still has 1 million users on 12Mbps connections, and almost another million on 25Mbps. Not to mention that all 93,000 users of the NBN satellite service are incapable of 50Mbps speeds, and arguably have the most need for the touted benefits of high-definition telehealth, video conferencing, and distance education that have long been promised.

Broken down by technology type, fibre-to-the-curb networks have the highest percentage of users on connections of 50Mbps or quicker, with 73 percent; the pilloried fibre-to-the-node networks are next, on 58 percent; this is followed by fibre-to-the-premises which is a percentage point behind; and Hybrid Fibre Co-Axial (HFC) and fibre-to-the-building, both sitting around the 55.5 percent mark. Fixed-wireless has half its users on 12Mbps or 25Mbps plans, and the other half on its 25-50Mbps service.

The shift in users to 50Mbps is a result of NBN’s pricing discounts, which finished at the end of October, and new wholesale bundles for 50Mbps and 100Mbps speeds, the ACCC said.

“It’s good to see that retail services providers have been able to offer higher speed plans at more affordable prices — thereby giving many consumers more choice,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

The ACCC noted the amount of bandwidth purchased by retailers, as measured by the total Connectivity Virtual Circuit charge the NBN imposes, dropped from 1.71Mbps to 1.65Mbps over the quarter to December 31.

Chief of Aussie Broadband Phillip Britt said on Monday that CVC costs are holding back his company from offering unlimited data on plans faster than 100Mbps.

“The CVC pricing construct is the primary limiter here, we’ve only got 2.5Mbps of CVC allocated under the bundled model and someone on an unlimited plan on those higher tiers would have the potential to really cause some damage,” Britt said during a Reddit AMA session.

Britt said the 100Mbps price will come down, but it will need a write-down of the NBN for the price pressure to be passed onto consumers.

“They can’t hold onto the $51 [average revenue per user] amounts they are trying to achieve, because the mobile guys will wipe the floor with them,” Britt said.

“As to when it will occur, that’s hard to predict. They have released a short term promotion around the 100/40Mbps services currently but it has some conditions around it that requires a customer to stay with that service provider for X period of time, so its risky to implement.”

Aussie Broadband already has 26 percent of its users on the 100Mbps tier, Britt said, but added that average users find the 50Mbps price point as the sweet spot.

Giving evidence to the Joint Standing Committee looking into the business case for the NBN on Monday, NBN CEO Stephen Rue maintained that there are no impairment issues that would see the company needing to write down the value of the company, and that those calling for such action are just after a wholesale price cut.

“When people say there should be a write-down, I don’t think that is what they are really calling for. Essentially, they are calling for the wholesale price to fall dramatically,” Rue said.

“Calls for a large wholesale price cut puts at risk the long-term viability of the company … without that, I truly believe you put at risk the digital future of the country, and all the benefits that flow.”

Related Coverage

People calling for NBN write-down actually want dramatic price cut: NBN CEO

NBN claims that should a wholesale price cut occur, Australia’s digital future is over.

Good enough 5G fixed-wireless broadband could change everything

Fixed-line broadband will always be better, but it might be to 5G what Betamax was to VHS.

ACCAN: Low-income Australians cannot afford NBN

Australians have been forced onto higher-end plans, ACCAN has said, and should be offered 50Mbps unlimited NBN connections for AU$30 a month under a government concession.

Aussie Broadband kicks off network upgrade

NBN retailer Aussie Broadband is buying international capacity on four subsea cable systems, as well as upgrading its core network with Cisco.

TPG keeps top spot for download speeds in fourth NBN report

TPG delivered the highest percentage of maximum plan download speeds, while Exetel delivered on upload speeds and latency in the ACCC’s final broadband speed monitoring report for 2018.

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This Tesla Supercar Is The Future Of Electric Cars We Want Elon Musk To Build

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British concept artist Khyzyl Saleem took to Instagram and Facebook to reveal the Tesla Precept Concept, a Tesla supercar/hypercar in the eyes of an under-30 designer. More than just a flight of fancy, the design was Saleem’s final submission for his Meguiar’s art piece dubbed “Electrifying 2020,” and it looks brilliant.

Saleem took influence from modern hypercars like the Czinger 21C, Rimac Nevera, Lotus Evija, and the Porsche Mission R concept to finalize his creation. But in our eyes, the Tesla Precept more closely resembles the offspring of a first-gen Tesla Roadster and a McLaren supercar, particularly a 765LT. The front clip is a bit off with its intricate hood design, and the Tesla “mustache” grille looks like an afterthought, but the rear is not too bad. We fancy the recessed taillight and wing spoiler design, and that swooping design on the diffuser is fascinating.

The artist claims the design is a “super early and kinda rough version” that, given more time, would have been something more unique. Tesla’s incoming Roadster is not a bad-looking car, but the Precept Concept proves what could have been if Tesla designers had taken a swill of scotch before buttoning down for work.

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Indiana Is The First State To Sue TikTok Over Child Safety Worries

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To tech-savvy and/or historically informed readers, the widespread concern about TikTok in the U.S. might smack of earlier moral panics. As mental health nonprofit Take This reports, it’s a matter of record that social media, video and tabletop games, clothing choices, music genres, and virtually anything else enjoyed by the young have been excoriated by American elders on one moral basis or another.

At the same time, serious questions have been raised about the safety of TikTok as a platform. We’ve reported in the past about the successes and failures of TikTok’s content moderation, from its largely hands-off, algorithmic approach to managing content to the borderline unethical treatment experienced by the human moderators the platform does possess. Content capable of generating severe psychological trauma in adult professional content managers certainly shouldn’t be emerging in children’s feeds.

Moderation and data security are also inescapably entwined. Hands-off moderation doesn’t just threaten the possibility of traumatic content in users’ feeds; it allows for sharing media at least some users are likely to see as unethical if not illegal. Add that to the documented pressures that Chinese law puts on social media platforms and it starts to seem like the Indiana lawsuit, right or wrong, at least has some kind of grounding.

Still, TikTok has answered critics and survived plenty of tough talk from the previous presidential administration. Whether it can continue to do so will depend both on the commitment of the platform’s user base and its ability to adapt to the requirements of American law.

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How Fast Is The Electric Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Really?

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According to Livewire, the ONE has some impressive speed and acceleration numbers, going from 0-60 mph in just three seconds and topping out at 110 mph. Sure, 110 mph doesn’t seem awfully fast, but Harley-Davidson motorcycles were never known for being fast. According to testing by CycleWorld, the Livewire ONE lives up to its reputation, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds — a fraction of a second slower than the marketed number.

Interestingly, in terms of acceleration, the Livewire ONE is second only to the FXDR 114, which has a 0-60 mph time of only 2.5 seconds, according to Harley Davidson of Kingwood. Being quick off the line is par for the course for an electric motorcycle, though — there are no gears to cycle through, and electric motor torque is usually much higher at low RPM. The highest top speed for a production Harley-Davidson bike also goes to the FXDR 114, which tops out at a respectable 160 mph, according to Peterson’s Harley-Davidson. As far as the Livewire ONE’s 110 mph top speed, that’s par for the course for Harley-Davidson, with most everything except for the FXDR 114.

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