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Spark copper voice services to be deregulated across New Zealand

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The rise of fibre


(Image: New Zealand Commerce Commission)

With fibre and other new services now available across New Zealand, the nation’s regulator has made the draft decision to deregulate the resale copper voice services of carrier Spark.

“Consumers are making the switch away from legacy copper-based voice services. Other providers offer wholesale voice services that compete with these services, meaning regulation is no longer necessary,” Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said on Wednesday.

“We consider that competition has been established, is increasingly effective, and is no longer dependent on access to these services.”

The three fixed network services being offered via a fixed telco network, that are subject to the recommendation, include local access and calling services; retail services; and retail services offered as part of a bundle.

“Our draft view is that we will recommend to the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media that the three resale services are omitted from Schedule 1 forthwith,” the draft report [PDF] said.

Spark welcomed the decision, noting that it would be upgrading its services with next-generation voice technologies.

“The removal of regulation is a positive signal that our regulatory regime can adapt to reflect changing competitive dynamics,” the carrier said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

“Spark is already well under way in its transition from its legacy PSTN voice network to a future-ready IP-based voice network dubbed the ‘Converged Communications Network’ (CCN).”

Spark had previously said it aimed to have 85% of its broadband customer base come from copper connections by 2020 under its “Upgrade New Zealand” program, through which Spark would shift users onto higher-speed and more reliable wireless and fibre broadband.

The Commerce Commission is accepting submissions to its draft report by May 17, and will provide the final report in July 2019.

Back in 2016, the commission found that broadband services were capable of providing voice services — and for the “very small number” of premises not situated within a fast fibre broadband footprint, or covered by fixed-wireless services thanks to the New Zealand government’s Rural Broadband Initiative or mobile services, Spark’s services were already capped by its Telecommunications Service Obligation.

It also found that there is currently sufficient competition in the market from Chorus, local fibre companies, and fixed-wireless operators.

“Competition has been established, is increasingly effective, and is no longer dependent on access to the resale services. Chorus, the local fibre companies, and fixed-wireless operators all have the infrastructure to offer alternative wholesale voice services to RSPs,” it said at the time.

“Competition from these wholesale alternatives will incentivise Spark to continue supplying the resale services. This competition will also constrain Spark from exercising significant market power in respect of the resale services.”

However, at the time it said there should be a wait time of two years before the issue is re-examined and a final decision is made.

“We propose amending our 2016 final report recommendation from [to] ‘not omit Resale Services from Schedule 1 of the Act at this time’ to say, ‘omit Resale Services from Schedule 1 of the Act with immediate effect’,” the commission’s report said this week.

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How To Earn Microsoft Reward Points While Playing Your Xbox Series X|S

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If you have an Xbox Series X or S, that means you already have a Microsoft account, and, presumably, you’ve linked the account to your console. If you haven’t, you’ll need to sign into the Microsoft account you want to use for earning rewards, so that when you play games and make purchases, the points go toward that particular email address. You can check out the points you’ve already earned, as well as various ways to earn more points, by heading over to the Microsoft Rewards user portal on the Bing website. You can also use the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox.

If you want to grow your points by playing Xbox games, you’ll need to sign up for the Xbox Game Pass subscription, which provides customers with a large library of games they can play, as well as some other perks. Points are earned by completing quests in games that are available in the Game Pass library. Microsoft says you can view these quests in the Rewards app under the Xbox Games Pass section. If you haven’t yet downloaded the app, you can get a snapshot look at how the rewards process works on the Xbox Games Pass Quests web page.

According to Microsoft, it adds new quests to this section of the Rewards app on a daily basis. Keep in mind that you’ll need to manually head over to that part of the app when you finish a quest in order to redeem the points. Once those points have been applied to your account, however, you’ll be able to redeem them for rewards within the same app.

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The 1993 Aston Martin Concept Car Perfect For Any James Bond Villain

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Cream leather, chrome, white dials, and a thin-rimmed steering wheel tell the story of an Art Deco cabin modernized for the mid-1990s. The dashboard, pedals, and wheel featured extensive nickel plating, says David Dowsey, while the dashboard was made from a single piece of laminated beech wood.

According to a Discovery documentary about Lagonda — and in what must have felt thoroughly futuristic at the time — the concept featured an integrated satellite navigation system and built-in laptop computers for rear passengers (or Bond villains) to work on. A final flourish saw the car’s steering wheel move out of the way when the driver’s door was opened.

Although it would surely have been toned down for a production version, the concept’s retro interior details are reminiscent of the Jaguar S-Type that arrived in 1999. At the time, both Jaguar and Aston Martin (as well as Land Rover, Lincoln, and Volvo) were part of the Ford-owned Premier Automotive Group.

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Netflix And GM Have Teamed-Up For A New Super Bowl 2023 Ad Featuring Will Ferrell

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According to a press release from General Motors, the auto giant teamed up with Netflix during past championship games to show off its then-brand-new Ultium EV platform. This year, the ads feature former “Saturday Night Live” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” star Will Ferrell driving around a new GMC Sierra EV in the Netflix original “Army of the Dead.” An ad also features Will Ferrell in the back of a Chevy Blazer EV in the “Squid Game” universe.

Netflix says that it’s already committed to putting as many EVs in its original programming as it can. As such, a Chevy Bolt will be present in an upcoming season of “Love is Blind,” a Bolt EUV will appear in “The Brothers Sun,” a GMC Hummer will star in “Queer Eye,” and Rob Lowe will drive around a Cadillac Lyriq in “Unstable.” 

Blatant product placement can be hit or miss, especially when it comes to a huge financial decision like a car. However, stuffing shows full of EVs with the help of GM is certainly one way to get people talking about electric cars.

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