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NBN gives itself until September to get fixed wireless congestion sorted

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(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

The company responsible for deploying the National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia has said it wants to have less than 1 percent of its fixed wireless towers suffering from congestion by late September.

Congestion is defined by the company as having a 30-day average busy hour throughput of under 6Mbps.

In its monthly progress report for November, NBN said it had 0.12 percent of its cells below 3Mbps busy hour speeds, and 3.7 percent sitting between 3 and 6Mbps.

Almost half of NBN’s cells, 47 percent, were capable of over 25Mbps at busy periods.

Responding to Senate Estimates Questions on Notice, NBN said at the end of October it had 416 cells below the congestion threshold, a reduction on the 465 counted on July 1.

“There is not only a dedicated program of work in place to ensure the cells that are currently below the engineering threshold are upgraded as a priority, but also a proactive upgrade program to ensure that cells don’t drop below the engineering threshold,” NBN wrote.

To the end of October, NBN said it had upgraded 3855 cells on 452 sites during 2018, with not all cells necessarily below the threshold. The company added that its upgrade program would continue beyond the September 2019 deadline to “maintain the performance” of its fixed wireless network.

Last month, NBN announced it would be shaking up its fixed wireless plans in mid-2019.

The governent-owned broadband wholesaler will drop its top-tier 25-50/5-20 Mbps plan by the end of 2019, and replace it with a best-effort plan called Fixed Wireless Plus. The new plan will initially be capable of 60Mbps download and 20Mbps upload speeds and will cost the same for retailers as part of NBN’s AU$45 a month fixed line 50 bundle.

After spectrum is reallocated in 2020 to conform to an ACMA edict on interference management, NBN said the plan will have the potential to deliver 75/10Mbps speeds.

“The new wholesale Fixed Wireless Plus product is designed to reflect user demand with our insights showing people connected to the Fixed Wireless network are using their service with a ratio of 10:1 downloads compared to uploads,” NBN chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said at the time.

“We acknowledge there are some users are currently experiencing slower speeds than anticipated in the busy hour on the Fixed Wireless network and want to reassure people that we are working hard alongside the industry to improve network capacity.”

In August, then-incoming NBN CEO Stephen Rue detailed a new wholesale fixed wireless pricing — AU$45 for existing customers and AU$65 for new customers on the 50/20Mbps speed tier — during a joint standing committee hearing; however, after backlash, the company retreated.

A year earlier, NBN had flagged creating a 100/40Mbps fixed wireless tier, but it too was unceremoniously dumped.

Former NBN CEO Bill Morrow told Senate Estimates in May there was no economic case for it.

“We killed it,” Morrow said.

In October, NBN revealed that more than 1,500 fixed-wireless cells had at least one service downloading more than 1TB of data during the month of May.

Despite this, NBN also said it had forecast to have less than 1.4 percent of fixed-wireless users on the dumped 100/40Mbps speed tier by 2022.

Related Coverage

NBN to replace top-tier fixed wireless plan with best-effort service

In mid-next year, NBN will offer a best-effort fixed wireless service that it claims will offer 60/20Mbps in non-busy periods.

NBN says 1.3 percent of FttN lines sit below 25Mbps after co-existence ends

The company has also revealed that it has purchased 27,600 kilometres of copper cable.

17.5k NBN satellite users have no 3G

Around 17,500 Sky Muster satellite users have no 3G coverage, and that’s before obstructions that could also limit mobile coverage are taking into account.

Queensland government moves to improve NBN with state-owned fibre backhaul

FibreCo Qld will use under-utilised backhaul on its existing state-owned fibre network to connect to the NBN in regional areas of Queensland.

NBN and government should co-fund tech choice program: Regional telco review

The regional telecommunications independent review committee has recommended that NBN be clearer about tech upgrades, look into satellite and fixed-wireless issues, and increase data allowances.

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These Are 3 Of The Worst EVs Of All Time

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If you walk into any Chevrolet dealership today, you are more than likely to see a few Chevy Sparks on the lot. The current model is equipped with a 1.4L four-cylinder engine that puts out a grand total of 98 horsepower. It’s Chevy’s cheapest car at just under $14,000 and offers features like CarPlay standard. Until recently, some new Sparks could be configured with manual crank windows — truly innovative.

Back in 2013, General Motors made an all-electric version of the Spark to comply with California’s (new at the time) emissions regulations (via Green Car Reports). The result was a less than valiant effort. Its motors were assembled just outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and shipped all the way to GM’s operations in South Korea for production.

For specs, the Spark wasn’t weak at 140 horsepower and over 300 foot-pounds of torque, but it only had a realistic range of about 80 miles, and it took more than seven hours to charge without a fast charger. An Edmunds review of the 2016 model noted that charging from a 110-volt outlet took over 20 hours for a full battery. To make matters worse, Spark EVs in the United States were only offered in Oregon, California and Maryland, according to Edmunds. 

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Which Is The Better Electric Car?

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If you prioritize acceleration, battery range, and self-driving technology, the Tesla Model 3 is the clear winner. However, the Polestar 2 comes on top if you consider comfort and interior quality. Besides that, the Polestar 2 is a hatchback with hints of a premium Volvo and the Tesla Model 3 is a sedan similar to the Model S — but smaller.

As for the price, the 2023 Polestar 2 starts at $48,800. If you’re buying the 2022 model, it will cost you about $2,500 less than the 2023 model. But if you want the 2023 Long Range Dual Motor trim, it will cost you about $51,900. The biggest improvement of the 2023 Polestar 2 over the 2022 model year is the 11 miles of extra range on the Long Range Dual Motor variant.

The Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive starts at $46,990, while the Long-Range trim is sold at $54,490. The Tesla Model 3 Performance is the most expensive trim at $61,990. But with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, the Tesla Model 3 will become eligible for the $7,500 tax credit starting January 1, 2023 — although only the trims that are sold for less than $55,000 will be considered.

Unless Volvo builds the Polestar 2 in the U.S., it won’t qualify for the new tax incentive under the Inflation Reduction Act. However, we know Volvo is building an electric SUV in the U.S., and it will be known as the Polestar 3. 

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Google Stadia Shutdown Took Employees, Game Devs By Surprise

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Video game designer and founding member of multiple game studios, Rebecca Heineman shared on Twitter that her company was lined up for a Stadia game release on the first day of November, but instead got heartbreak. Indie developer Simon Roth mentioned that neither did he receive any warning in advance from Google, nor did the Stadia division reach out to him via email or phone well after the news broke out.

But it was not just indie developers that Google kept in the dark. Even heavyweights like Bungie, which brought users “Halo” and “Destiny” games, were apparently unaware of the Stadia bombshell dropping out of nowhere. Plaion, which owns multiple publishing units and ten game studios, also pointed out that it wasn’t informed in advance. Publishers Goldfire Studios and No More Robots told Kotaku that they each had a game coming out on Stadia next year.

Pixel Games shared that it finalized the deal to bring no less than three games over to Google’s cloud gaming service just a day earlier. Google, on the other hand, is reportedly working with the affected studios with schemes like reimbursing the costs of development and porting existing games to its platform. According to an Axios report, Stadia reps are reaching out to publishing and development partners with reimbursement deals.

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