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NBN flags frozen HFC connections thawing over the coming months

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(Image: APH)

Close watchers of the weekly rollout numbers from the company responsible for deploying the National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia will note the number of Service Class Zero (SC0) premises had spiked just over a year ago, following the November 2017 pause on selling hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) connections.

In May, NBN labelled the ring-fencing a momentary inflating of the SC0 number, but it has stayed high ever since, with 1.4 million premises currently unable to connect to the network across all technology types.

Speaking to Senate Estimates on Tuesday night, NBN CEO Stephen Rue said that of the 1.4 million SC0 premises, 1,251,000 are HFC connections, but salvation could soon be at hand.

“There’s quite a lot of HFC premises will be made ready to connect, quite a lot in the next four months,” Rue said.

NBN was at pains to explain to senators that the number does not represent a static pool of premises, with a number leaving the SC0 classification when the HFC network was relaunched, as more are added to the network.

“At the end of this month, all of those ring-fenced premises will be released back. So what’s essentially happened is we’ve progressed from April last year, we started releasing the HFC network gradually back and testing all of our processes again, and then by June and July, we started releasing back at scale,” NBN chief network deployment officer Kathrine Dyer said.

“We have been building out a lot of new areas in HFC whilst we have been taking the premises out.”

Read: ACCAN: Low-income Australians cannot afford NBN

At the end of 2018, NBN had 512,000 active HFC premises, the company said in its half-year results last week, out of a total of 4.7 million active connections. Overall, NBN has 9.5 million premises labelled as ready for service.

Rue told Estimates that the company is “well on track” to meet its September goal of reducing congestion on its fixed wireless network to less than 1 percent having speeds under 6Mbps in busy hours threshold.

NBN’s wholesale business-grade satellite service will also see a soft launch in mid-year, before a full launch around the end of 2019, Rue added.

Australia is one of the more affordable broadband markets

The NBN CEO opened with a claim that is unlikely to be met with a chorus of agreement from the nation’s NBN retailers — that Australia is one of the more affordable broadband markets. Citing a study conducted for it by AlphaBeta which looked at 4,500 product and pricing plans in 22 countries, Rue said Australia placed seventh overall.

“The medium broadband price in Australia is equivalent to 1.4 percent of Australian per capita income, which is the seventh-lowest amongst the 22 countries analysed,” Rue said.

“And this should come as no surprise, as we must continue to remind ourselves one of the original policy goals of NBN, which was to enable more competition in the retail market through providing a wholesale-only open access service to any retailer who wanted to sell a product.”

In October, Aussie Broadband made the decision to shelve its lower-priced services after NBN ended its discount on 50Mbps connections.

“In our view, it will not be possible for providers offering a service under AU$55 a month floor price and an unlimited offering under AU$69 using the bundles,” Aussie Broadband MD Phillip Britt told ZDNet at the time.

“Providers below this price point will most likely be short-changing their customers on the CVC bandwidth provisioned.”

Also: TPG keeps top spot for download speeds in fourth NBN report

The retailer killed off any plan that was paying less than AU$55 a month, which saw customers on a 12/1Mbps or 25/5Mbps service with less than 100GB of included data.

Last week, Britt said 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.

The Aussie Broadband chief 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 AU$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.”

Meanwhile, Rue told the Joint Standing Committee looking into the business case for the NBN last week 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.”

Rue reiterated on Tuesday night that NBN is banking on enterprise services and customers moving up speed tiers for the company to make its AU$51 average revenue per user (ARPU) target that will see NBN become cash-flow positive.

Related Coverage

NBN half-year revenue jumps to AU$1.3b as CEO confident of positive cash flow by FY22

9.5 million premises are now ready for service, while NBN announced revenue of AU$1.3 billion and negative EBITDA of AU$477 million for the first half of FY19.

Telstra blames NBN for H1 profit plummeting by AU$500 million

Telstra gained mobile customers, but lost revenue due to the migration of customers to the NBN.

Optus also blames NBN for profit drop

Optus has announced a nine-month net profit of AU$431 million and EBITDA of almost AU$2 billion on revenue of AU$6.8 billion.

NBN finally has a 50Mbps or quicker majority network

People will move to higher speeds on the National Broadband Network if its prices are cut.

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.

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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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