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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 Back Up Your Mac To iCloud

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iCloud can come in clutch in a variety of situations. For example, you may not need to wrestle with Migration Assistant when setting up a new Mac if you’ve backed up all your important data to iCloud. However, there’s a reason Apple still puts Time Machine on every Mac the company sells: Time Machine backs up your Mac’s entire system, including all your apps and files. Not only that, but Time Machine also keeps a version history of every change you make to your Mac on an hourly and daily basis.

Depending on the sizes of both your Time Machine drive and your Mac’s internal storage drive, your Time Machine history could stretch back days, months, or even years. Time Machine can be a real lifesaver, too, if the developer of an app you use stops publishing it since you can always just reinstall it from your Time Machine backup. You almost can’t have too many backups of your important data, so there’s not much reason not to take advantage of both Time Machine and iCloud when protecting the files on your Mac. And since both options handle backups differently than the other, you’re not getting duplicate backups but rather a more expansive backup overall.

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Honda Prologue EV SUV Gets First Design Preview Ahead Of US Launch

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Honda has big ambitions for the Prologue, though we’ve expressed skepticism about the automaker’s projected sales targets in the past. Since then, of course, the world has changed considerable. The global fuel crisis — led in no small part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — has seen prices spike worldwide, and the car market could have taken on a much different shape by the time Honda’s EV finally hits the ground in 2024. As reported by The Washington Post on May 18, 2022, United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the cost of gasoline has increased by $4 across the country, and there’s no expectation for that to change any time soon.

That requires actually building EVs to meet demand, however, something every automaker has experienced issues with in the past few years. The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains has been considerable, and shows no signs of alleviating any time soon. Honda may have plenty of demand for the 2024 Prologue, then, but whether it can actually meet that remains uncertain. 

At least the dealerships themselves should be ready for the EV future, even if production lines aren’t necessarily at capacity. The early designs for the modular, charging station-equipped locations show a layout that Honda claims will scale according to the total number of EVs it actually sells. The automaker plans to roll out 30 different EV models by 2030, using not only Ultium but its own Honda e:Architecture, at which point it also expects to have sold a whopping 500,000 EVs overall.

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The Real Reason Michael Burry Bet Millions Against Apple

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Wright explains that Buffett is a long-term investor while Burry shorts stock on short-term plays. Buffett is not in the business of predicting company stock prices but invests in companies that he believes have business value down the road. Burry, on the other hand, is looking at what Apple stocks will do in the near future. Inflation, supply chain issues complicating the technology sector, China’s COVID-19 lockdowns, and the performance of NASDAQ are bound to affect Apple stock in the short term.

Burry has been open about his vision of the market, assuring that “the greatest speculative bubble of all time in all things” is inevitably leading to the “mother of all crashes” with investors piling up on cryptocurrencies (via Business Insider). Burry’s put options on Apple stocks give him the right (but not the obligation) to sell shares at a certain price, at a certain time. “If Apple doesn’t fall beneath a certain price by that time, the put options would expire worthless,” Billy Duberstein explains in a separate post for Fool.

Benzinga adds that Burry’s bearish position is valued at around $36 million if he exercises it. It is the largest position in his portfolio. Apple stock had a big run, quadrupling its stock price since early 2019. However, by May 2022, Apple stocks are down 20% year-to-date. The company from Cupertino saw a 16% drop in the stock price in this past quarter alone. Burry’s portfolio reveals his confidence in the U.S. market. He slashed it from 20 holdings to just six in the third quarter of 2021, with a value that dropped from $140 million to $42 million. In the fourth quarter, he swapped three of his remaining six holdings, lifting his portfolio to $74 million. “Short sellers on a stock have nothing, zero, zilch, nada, to do with the success or failure of the underlying business,” Burry tweeted on April 27.

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