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Telstra calls for near halving of NBN wholesale price

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(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

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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Galaxy Z Fold 4 Under-Display Camera May Get A Stealthy Makeover

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According to a tweet from the account @SamsungRydah, which was first spied by SamMobile and has since been removed by Twitter based on a copyright claim (seemingly lending credibility to the leak), the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will rectify the poor invisibility of the UDC. The model will reportedly use a different arrangement of pixels to make it denser, providing a 132ppi circle, up from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 model’s measly 94ppi. The result is that the hole will hopefully be less visible, and text should be less distorted in that area. Unfortunately, it’s not completely invisible, at least not based on the leaked slide.

What isn’t clear, however, is whether Samsung is also upgrading the camera sensor itself to something more than just 4MP. Increasing the sensor’s own pixel count could help offset whatever side effects the UDC panel might have in terms of quality. While the Galaxy Z Fold 3 foldable’s internal camera was moderately usable for video calls, it just didn’t sit well with buyers considering how much they’d paid for the premium phone.

An upgraded internal camera would be in line with upgrades to the other cameras expected for the Galaxy Z Fold 4. These include a 50MP main sensor and a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. These are moderate upgrades, of course, but Samsung seems to be taking a page from Apple’s book here by improving quality through software and other minor tweaks rather than going all out on what would be a bulky sensor that wouldn’t fit the Galaxy Z Fold 4 model’s slim profile.

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Today’s Wordle Answer #416 – August 9, 2022 Solution And Hints

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The answer to today’s Wordle puzzle (#416 – August 9, 2022) is patty. Its meaning varies across cultural contexts — to the British, it’s a small pie or pastry; to North Americans, it’s a small, round, and flat chocolate-covered peppermint sweet. More generally to Americans, it’s a small flat cake of minced or finely chopped food, especially meat (via Merriam-Webster). To Mr. Krabs of SpongeBob, it’s a veggie burger (and a moneymaker). Seeing as the word patty has roots in the French word “pat,e” which means dough, Mr. Krabs obviously knew what he was doing. 

We solved the puzzle in four tries today, just like yesterday and the day before. We began guessing with the word roate, which is an uncommon but excellent first guess (even the WordleBot thought so). After following up with fluid, we hit a lucky strike with catty — only one letter short of the correct answer.

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The Reason Ford Won’t Build A Mustang GT500 Convertible

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Ford won’t be making a convertible Mustang GT500 because… it’s too powerful.

Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform, and operations officer confirmed the S550 platform on which the Mustang was built had reached “the top end of the capabilities” (via Muscle Cars & Trucks).

Dave Pericack, former Director Enterprise Product Line Management — Ford Icons, backs up those comments even more bluntly. “The real reason” Ford isn’t making a convertible model is because, by removing the roof, the car would lose all its structure and stiffness in the chassis and body. The power of the GT500 is simply too much for a convertible car to handle.

The only way it could make a convertible model would be to “spend a lot of money in exotic material” to compensate for the loss of the roof and the structural integrity it provides (via Ford Authority). Ford is not prepared to do that, considering the S550 platform is nearing the end of its road. The S650 platform — the seventh generation of Ford Mustangs — is on its way and will, in all likelihood, be the last Mustang with an internal combustion engine.

Fear not Ford faithful. The Blue Oval is already looking to the future and has already built a 900hp electric Mustang to show the world that an EV can also be a muscle car.

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