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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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Here’s What Hackers Are Really Doing With Your Info

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F1 Solutions explains what hackers are really doing with your data: selling it, exposing it, holding it for ransom, mining it for valuable info like credit card numbers, using it for other hacks, or simply showing it off. Some hacks have nothing to do with money; instead, the attackers are out for revenge. Others hack into “unhackable” systems or organizations just to show off or leak data in retaliation for something.

However, most cybercriminals are out for financial gain, and stolen data can contain valuable information. From credentials to credit cards and social security numbers, everything today is stored online. Hacked data is also sold in bulk on the dark web. F1 Solutions says social security numbers can sell for as low as $1, credit or debit cards from 50 cents to $1 per card (they’re often sold in bundles), and Paypal credentials can be worth as much as $200. Driver licenses, digital and physical passports, and even medical information are also sold online.

Ransomware, meanwhile, is a growing trend where hackers usually target small and medium organizations, take control of their systems and data, and then offer the company the chance of recovering their computers once a ransom is paid. Given the rise of blockchain technology, it’s also not surprising to learn that digital wallet credentials and credentials to NFTs sites are also increasingly stolen. Finally, data can be used to steal identities, commit fraud, do more hacking, and even vandalize websites.

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How To Send An Email Draft From Google Docs Directly To Gmail

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Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is arguably the most tightly integrated office productivity suite available. The services it features — Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Form — already interconnect with other apps like Google Meet, Keep, and Drive, and with smart chips, Google Docs now seamlessly links with Gmail. The update makes the two apps more cohesive, allowing you to draft and send your emails without leaving Docs.

Smart chips belong to the Google Smart Canvas project, which is Google’s vision for tying all of its Workspace products together. You can access smart chips by simply typing @ in Docs. In addition to the new email feature, Google offers chips for rapid formatting and quickly attaching files, media, menus, and even calendar events (via Google Blog). You can also collaborate on your email drafts with other people just like you would a regular document. These other users can make suggestions, comments, or edits without hopping to a different window. Plus, Google Docs’ grammar and spelling checker now works on Gmail, too.

How to send a Gmail draft directly from Google Docs

You can draft emails within Google Docs, and when you’re ready, you’re given a preview inside a pop-up window and the option to directly send the message (via Google Support).

  1. Create a new Google Docs file (you can use this shortcut to create new documents quickly).

  2. Type @ and select Email Draft from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can navigate to Insert > Building blocks > Email draft.

  3. You’ll be greeted with the standard template for an email.

  4. In the “To” section, you can use @ to add saved people or type out their email addresses manually.

  5. Write the subject and email message.

  6. Hit the blue Gmail icon floating next to the template.

  7. A small pop-up window will load the Gmail Compose panel with the relevant text fields already filled out. If Gmail doesn’t support your Google Docs font, you might see a related warning.

  8. You can also make additional formatting changes at this point, attach files, insert signatures, schedule the draft to be sent later, or discard it within the Compose Mail pop-up.

  9. Hit send and close the preview window.

Why you should draft an email in Google Docs

Google’s powerful AI grammar and spellcheck tools will help you write strong, clear, and error-free messages. That may not be a big deal if you’re sending a straightforward reply or question, but you should consider drafting your next important email in Google Docs. Long-form emails sometimes require outlines, charts or tables, which can’t be designed in the Gmail Compose window. You can create, integrate, and email those tables, outline menus, and charts directly from Google Docs, saving you the hassle of copying and pasting them back and forth.

Google Docs also saves a copy of the draft; it can be quickly found with search, retrieved, and edited on the fly. The autosave feature should come in handy when sending an email to multiple addresses, as well. Instead of loading a new window for each recipient, you can simply hit the mail button next to the Gmail template every time. For emails that require approval or contribution from your team members, turn on the share feature built into Docs (via Google). You can then collaborate on emails and receive suggestions without leaving the Google Docs window.

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Elon Musk Just Put Up Even More Of His Money To Fund Twitter Takeover

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Musk has at least one reason to pull away from the Twitter purchase: the company’s shareholders are already beginning to push back against him. The board opted against re-electing longtime Musk supporter Egon Durban, who is the co-CEO of Silver Lake, a private equity firm that Musk could potentially have planned to tap for financial assistance in his campaign to build equity towards the Twitter buy.

Noted by Insider, the deal can be terminated at any point before it becomes finalized in October, for a meager $1 billion. Twitter has asserted that the deal will indeed go through at the full price agreed upon by both parties — $54.20 per share — regardless of any reasoning put up by Elon Musk to back away from the deal, or to drive the price down. Regardless, the Twitter purchase debacle hasn’t been good for Elon Musk’s net worth, which is still heavily tied into Tesla stock prices.

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