Telstra calls for near halving of NBN wholesale price
Australia’s incumbent carrier has said something needs to give when it comes to reselling services on the National Broadband Network (NBN), as current arrangements are unsustainable.
Speaking to shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Tuesday, CEO Andy Penn said Australians are paying some of the highest prices in the world for broadband, and that the price is likely to continue increasing unless wholesale charges are addressed.
“The current arrangements are unsustainable, and ultimately this can only lead to poorer service and higher prices for broadband for all Australians,” Penn said.
“[The wholesale price] has to come down, and not by AU$2, but by more than AU$20.”
Penn said the rate charged by Telstra and set by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to its competitors for ADSL services is around AU$20, while NBN is charging AU$44 per month currently, and is set to increase to AU$51 by 2022.
Telstra is expecting that by the time the NBN is completed, it will part with AU$2.5 billion each year to NBN, which is part of the reason why the telco is implementing its Telstra2022 plan.
Must read: Telstra2022: Key takeaways from Telstra’s new strategy
Chair John Mullen said the company had believed there could still be money made from selling NBN services until recently.
“The NBN will have reduced Telstra’s net profit after tax by close to a half when fully rolled out. Not a few per cent, half,” Mullen said. “Having been privatised by the government in 1997, the government is now effectively re-nationalising half of the company again.”
“To give some scale to that impact, what we are losing through this policy of half our business is approximately equivalent to a company the size of Qantas.”
In its August full-year results, the company reported net profit of AU$3.5 billion, down 9 percent, on AU$26 billion of revenue.
The telco reported customer base growth across both fixed and mobile.
On the back of reduced profitability, lower dividends, as well as planned job cuts as part of Telstra2022 and protracted bargaining negotiations with staff, the company is fighting against plans to vote down proposed executive remuneration.
“I personally believe that executive salaries are too high across the board, but changing this takes time and needs to be embraced by all of corporate Australia, not just one company or one industry, as the marketplace for talent is international and is industry agnostic,” Mullen said.
“We are trying to do our bit in Telstra, however, and this can be seen by the fact that David Thodey’s salary was lower than Sol Trujillo’s, Andy Penn’s salary is lower than David Thodey’s, and I expect that Andy’s eventual successor will receive a lower salary again.
“Andy himself has seen his actual remuneration drop by almost 50 percent over the last two years as the company has been under pressure, so we are not only reducing overall remuneration levels, but our remuneration clearly does flex downwards with shareholder outcomes, even when management has done a good job.”
Speaking last week, Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland argued that with the majority of NBN deployment in motion, the political debate must shift from its technological makeup to the future of its economics.
“The NBN rollout has also reached a point where it is almost entirely in design, construction, or deployed — a reality which cannot be undone through political will or legislative change,” Rowland said.
“As a result, there is likely to be less emphasis on the issues which have been the focal point for the last five years, and a greater focus on the medium-term policy settings — namely, the economics of the NBN.
“Looking forward, this becomes the main game … it would be sensible for the major parties to identify common ground on the next steps where feasible to do so.”
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Zoom is also adding an AI-assisted auto-framing system called Intelligent Director to its Zoom Room system. This one relies on a multi-camera setup and picks up the best camera angle to depict a person in a video conference. The company says it paves the way for a “more equitable meeting experience for remote and in-person attendees.” Interestingly, Zoom is borrowing the idea of huddles from Slack, which itself introduced video chats to huddles last year that look a lot like Zoom. Introduced earlier today, Zoom Huddles is a video-centric virtual coworking space with a healthy bunch of collaboration features.
Zoom also wants to offer its very own email inbox and calendar so that users don’t have to jump between the video calling platform and other apps. The result of those ambitions is Zoom Mail, which is now available to all users as a client that can be connected to your existing Gmail or Microsoft inbox. Additionally, if you want Zoom’s very own email service, the company is also offering something called Zoom Mail Service with its very own hosting, but it is limited to paid customers only. Then there’s Zoom Calendar, which lives in the main sidebar and aims to replace rivals from Microsoft and Google that are currently a part of your workflow.
How To Schedule Or Automate iPhone’s Always-On Display
Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first iPhones with an always-on display. The setting is enabled by default in currently-available iOS builds, but you cannot schedule or automate iPhone’s always-on display. That changes with the latest iOS 16.4 beta, adding an option to automate the feature.
That sounds exciting, but here’s a caveat. Since iOS 16.4 is available as a release candidate to registered developers or public testers, you might find getting your hands on it challenging. Even if you decide to download it to automate your iPhone’s always-on display, you might experience some performance issues or bugs, ranging from worse battery life to iOS crashes.
Nevertheless, if you’re sure about trying the new features, head to the Apple Beta Software Program page and follow the instructions to install the latest iOS 16.4 beta, which has a new feature to schedule always-on display on the iPhones.
Automate always-on display using Focus Filters
Two ways to automate iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display in iOS 16.4 are via Focus Filters and Shortcuts. First, let’s discuss the steps in enabling the feature via Focus Filters.
- First, head to the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Focus.
- Create a new Focus by pressing the plus icon in the top right corner. Select Custom from the available options and name the Focus mode. Tap on Customize Focus and head to the next screen.
- Swipe down and select Add Filter under Focus Filters.
- Under System Filters, select Always On Display. Ensure the Filter is enabled and tap Add in the top right corner.
- Now, under Set A Schedule, do one of the following things.
- Enable Smart Activation, which applies the Focus Filter at relevant times of the day based on your app usage, location, and other metrics.
- Select Add Schedule and set when you want the Focus Filter to be active, enabling the always-on display.
You’ve successfully linked the always-on display to the Focus mode, which will now be active during the schedule you set.
Set up a Shortcut to activate always-on display
You can also connect your iPhone’s always-on display to a Shortcut.
- Head to the Shortcuts app and press the plus icon in the top right corner.
- Select Add Action and locate and select the Set Always On Display option through the search bar at the top.
- By default, the Turn and On buttons activate the always-on display when you access the Shortcut.
- Tap Done in the top right corner.
- Accessing this Shortcut will trigger the always-on display.
Now that you know how to schedule or automate always-on display on your iPhone, here are a few things to remember. Currently, the feature is only available in iOS 16.4 beta, so regular users can’t access the feature. Although Apple is expected to release iOS 16.4 as a stable build for everyone soon, we can’t give an exact date. Second, using the always-on display might deplete your iPhone’s battery faster than usual, which is normal.
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The new Microsoft Teams app borrows a lot of design cues from Windows 11, a move intended to make it feel like a native Windows app. The infamous purple color generally associated with Teams is less prominent now. Microsoft has improved the visual experience of group chats thanks to the newly added group profile pics and group theming options.
One of the major pain points of using Microsoft Teams was its inability to stay logged into multiple workspaces or accounts. The newest version of Teams fixes that. This ensures that users can stay logged into multiple workspaces simultaneously. More importantly, they will continue to receive notifications from all the spaces they are part of. These new features align with Microsoft’s efforts to enhance Team’s collaboration features.
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