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TPG keeps top spot for download speeds in fourth NBN report

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TPG has held onto first place in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) broadband speed-monitoring report, delivering 87.3 percent of its maximum plan speeds overall and 86.1 percent during busy hours for downloads in the final quarter of 2018.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) speed report saw Aussie Broadband come second, providing 85.7 percent of maximum download speeds overall and 84.8 percent in busy hours; followed by Optus, at 85 percent and 83.9 percent, respectively; iiNet, at 83.7 percent and 79.8 percent; Telstra, at 83.3 percent and 82.7 percent; MyRepublic, at 82.8 percent and 82 percent; and Exetel, at 82.6 percent and 81.7 percent.

Dodo and iPrimus came in last place, delivering 80.8 percent of maximum plan speeds overall and 78.9 percent in busy hours for downloads.

Across uploads, however, Exetel took out first place by delivering 90.1 percent of maximum plan speeds overall, and 89.9 percent of maximum plan speeds during busy hours.

It was followed by iiNet, which provided 88.4 percent and 88.2 percent of maximum plan speeds overall and during busy hours, respectively; Aussie Broadband, at 86.3 percent and 86.1 percent; TPG, at 86 percent and 85.9 percent; MyRepublic, at 83.7 percent and 84.4 percent; Optus, at 83.1 percent and 83 percent; Dodo and iPrimus, at 82.4 percent and 83.3 percent; with Telstra coming in last on upload speeds, at 82 percent and 81.9 percent.

During the “busiest hour”, TPG provided 71.8 percent of maximum plan speeds; Telstra 69.8 percent; Optus 69 percent; Aussie Broadband 67.9 percent; MyRepublic 66.8 percent; Dodo and iPrimus 61.1 percent; Exetel 60.1 percent; and iiNet just 48.3 percent.

Exetel also had the lowest latency of 11.2ms overall, followed by Telstra with 11.5ms; Aussie Broadband with 13ms; TPG with 14.6ms; Optus with 14.9ms; Dodo, iPrimus, and iiNet with 15.6ms; and MyRepublic with 18.1ms.

The ACCC also revealed that fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) connections are delivering the most on speed promises, with 88.9 percent of maximum plan speeds overall and 89.4 percent in busy hours.

Hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) was the second-highest connectivity option, providing 88.1 percent overall and 89.5 percent in busy hours; while fibre-to-the-node (FttN) delivered just 79.6 percent of maximum plan speeds overall but 89.1 percent in busy hours.

“It is good to see that providers have generally managed the transition to NBN Co’s new wholesale products without too much impact on customers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said on Wednesday.

“We expect NBN Co and RSPs’ focus to remain on fixing speed-related problems and ensuring consumers receive good speeds on their current plans, regardless of which NBN fixed-line technology is supplied to them.”

The ACCC had in August 2017 issued guidance on how broadband providers should package and advertise their fixed-line services along the lines of evening peak speeds in order to improve accuracy and prevent misleading claims.

Included in these guidelines is that RSPs should advertise the speeds typically experienced during “the busy evening period”, and utilise a labelling system outlining the “typical busy period speed” in the categories of basic evening speed, standard evening speed, standard plus evening speed, and premium evening speed.

In November last year, the watchdog then published a review of the speed guidance, using the opportunity to propose an extension of the rules to fixed-wireless services.

Specifically, the ACCC wants consumers to be given more information on how services may be affected by distance and line of sight to cell towers, as well as fixed-wireless cell congestion.

However, it has previously said that it would need an additional AU$6 million in government funding to extend the speed-monitoring program to fixed-wireless services.

The ACCC’s first fixed-line broadband speed monitoring report, published in March, had followed the consumer watchdog forcing Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, Internode, Dodo, iPrimus, and Commander to compensate tens of thousands of customers for not providing them with the NBN speeds they were paying for.

The ACCC is still seeking volunteers for the broadband speed-monitoring program in order to increase the pool of data, especially across smaller RSPs.

The AU$6.5 million speed-monitoring program will take place over four years, with SamKnows appointed in December 2017 to monitor speeds thanks to the government providing funding.

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BMW iX5 Hydrogen Production Starts, But Don’t Expect To See This Fuel-Cell SUV In Dealerships

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The reality, though, is that even with a small number of BMW iX5 Hydrogen SUVs being produced — using individual fuel-cells supplied by Toyota, but assembled into a stack by BMW using the automaker’s own processes and technologies — the expectation is that hydrogen as a fuel will be predominantly of interest to non-passenger vehicles. Instead, it arguably makes the most sense, BMW suggests, for larger vehicles like medium- to heavy-duty trucks, along with the marine and aviation sectors. We’ve already seen Toyota reveal its plans for such an FCEV truck.

Despite that, and an acknowledgment that battery-electric vehicles will undoubtedly lead in the mainstream, BMW still believes there’s a place for FCEVs. After all, the automaker argues, if the infrastructure is being built to cater for trucks, there’s no reason not to also use it for passenger vehicles like the iX5 Hydrogen.

The results of the small-series production beginning today will be used as technology demonstrators across select regions from spring 2023, BMW says. It’s unclear at this point how many will be built. Depending on the reception and the strengths of the technology, series production of a first model could follow mid-decade, ahead of a potential full portfolio of BMW FCEVs from the 2030s onwards.

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Tesla Set To Deliver The First Semi To Pepsi

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In October, Tesla’s CEO revealed that the production of the Tesla Semi had begun, and it was bound to be delivered today. Tesla has already started the countdown, and we expect the unveiling event to go down at the Nevada factory. The electric truck will be dispatched to Pepsi, which had ordered 100 units. Investor reports that Tesla’s stock price increased by 7.7% on Wednesday, probably in anticipation of Tesla’s Semi first delivery.

Musk tweeted on Saturday that the “Tesla team just completed a 500-mile drive with a Tesla Semi weighing in at 81,000 lbs!” However, considering that Musk said that the company is dealing with supply chain issues and market inflation, it’s unclear if Tesla will stick to the original $180,000 price it intended to sell at when it was announced in 2017. Then again, Tesla offers a cheaper Semi that will be available for about $150,000 — but it can only achieve up to 300 miles at full load capacity. For now, we can only wait until it’s on the road to confirm if the specs match up to what was promised five years ago.  

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Coinbase Joins Elon Musk In Slamming The Apple App Store Tax

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Coinbase complained that Apple’s insistence on its cut unreasonably interfered with its business.

Coinbase’s argument was largely the same as Elon Musk’s, and the basis of Epic Games’ aforementioned lawsuit. According to all of the above, Apple was half of a duopoly: with Google, it controlled the global app marketplace. The “duopoly” part of the argument is pretty much incontrovertible: As of October 2022, both Apple and Google control 99.43% of the global smartphone market between them (via StatCounter). Both get a 30% cut of everyone’s action on its marketplace. From the perspective of Coinbase, that took too much money out of too many elements of its business.

Epic sued over that and, as noted above, won with an asterisk. Apple had restricted in-app purchases, and courts found that anticompetitive, but did require that Apple get a 30% cut of the profits, even though they took place in someone else’s app. In short, according to the Verge, the court said that if you’ve found a way to make money using iOS, you owe Apple 30%, period.

Epic thought in-app purchases should be exempted from the tax. Coinbase thinks elements of the NFT development process — in this case, gas prices to run the processing equipment necessary to mint NFTs — should be exempt from Apple’s app tax. Apple treats all user expenses on an app as in-app purchases and, per the Epic court decision, in-app purchases mean Apple gets a cut.

It’s not a simple problem, and it’s not likely to be solved anytime soon. Stakeholders and regulators have barely begun to integrate cryptocurrency and NFTs into the conventional marketplace. Who gets paid for what is likely to be a conversation for years on end. For now, all that’s certain is that conversation has begun.

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