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TPG takes out third NBN speed-monitoring report

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TPG has taken out the third National Broadband Network (NBN) speed-monitoring report, with MyRepublic again coming last across most categories.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report [PDF], TPG delivered 88.7 percent of its maximum plan speeds overall and 88.4 percent during busy hours for downloads.

It was followed by Aussie Broadband — the winner of the previous report — at 87 percent overall and 85.8 percent in busy hours; iiNet, at 85.9 percent overall and 84.8 percent in busy hours; Optus, at 84.9 percent overall and 84 percent in busy hours; Telstra, at 83.9 percent overall and 83.5 percent in busy hours; and MyRepublic, at 83.5 percent overall and 82.1 percent in busy hours.

TPG likewise scored highest on average upload speeds, providing 89.2 percent of its maximum plan speeds overall and 89.1 percent during busy hours.

Aussie Broadband was ranked second for upload speeds, providing 87.8 percent overall and 87.5 percent during busy hours; iiNet was third, providing 87.1 percent both overall and during busy hours; MyRepublic came fourth, at 85.3 percent overall and 84.6 percent in busy hours; Telstra was fifth, providing 83.2 percent overall and 83.1 percent in busy hours; and Optus came in last, with 82.8 percent overall and 82.7 percent in busy hours.

“Industry says it is working hard to contact customers whose NBN connections aren’t able to deliver the maximum speeds of their plan,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said on Monday morning.

“We note NBN Co has reported that congestion has increased slightly in recent months. Our results suggest that ISPs not featured in this report could be contributing to this, as the overall results featured in this MBA report do not show an upward trend in congestion.”

Telstra again had the lowest latency, at 12.1 milliseconds overall and an average web page-loading time of 2.4 seconds. TPG’s overall latency was 12.4ms; Aussie Broadband’s was 13.5ms; Optus’ was 14.1ms; iiNet’s was 16.2ms; and MyRepublic’s was 17.1ms.

Average page-loading time for iiNet and MyRepublic was 2.6 seconds; Aussie Broadband clocked 2.7 seconds; Optus 3 seconds; and TPG 3.2 seconds.

The “very busy hours” metric — which takes the fifth-lowest hourly average speed measure during the 120 busy hours of the period — again saw poor results, with Telstra pulling down the highest score by providing just 71.9 percent of maximum plan speeds.

Aussie Broadband followed, providing 69.3 percent of maximum plan speeds during very busy hours, then TPG, at 69.2 percent; Optus, at 68.4 percent; iiNet, at 66.9 percent; and MyRepublic, at 61.1 percent.

Upload speeds during very busy hours were best delivered by TPG, at 82.5 percent, followed by Aussie Broadband, at 81.4 percent; iiNet, at 80.5 percent; Telstra, at 78.9 percent; Optus, at 77 percent; and MyRepublic, at 76 percent.

Aussie Broadband co-founder and MD Phillip Britt last week told ZDNet that the speed-monitoring reports — in conjunction with NBN’s Focus on 50 wholesale pricing discount and the mandate that RSPs advertise typical evening speeds — is “really what cleaned up the big boys behaving badly” in terms of provisioning enough connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) capacity.

“Ultimately, they weren’t provisioning enough CVC; they basically were going to get caught with their pants down,” Britt told ZDNet.

“NBN needed to fix the customer experience. NBN ultimately blinked first, rather than the providers provisioning more bandwidth.

“It eroded our competitive advantage overnight, because we were provisioning enough bandwidth, and suddenly everyone was on this level playing field from a bandwidth perspective … we’ve still come out on top [of the second ACCC report], but the whole congestion thing was a massive selling point for us, and customers were churning to us in droves because of that. The churn in market these days is not as strong, I think because of that.”

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.

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

The ACCC has also said it would need an additional AU$6 million in government funding to extend its speed-monitoring program to fixed-wireless services.

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Callaway Chevy Silverado SC602 Signature Edition trounces Ram TRX in a drag race

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American performance vehicle builder Callaway Cars has debuted its newest creation: The Chevy Silverado SC602 Signature Edition, now officially the best sleeper truck on the road. How fast? Hold your breath: This Chevy Silverado has trounced the mighty RAM TRX in a drag race. That’s saying a lot since Ram made it clear the TRX is “the quickest, fastest, and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world.”

But as it turns out, Callaway has other plans. The company has a long and cherished history of building quirky yet high-end performance cars like the C4 Corvette Sledgehammer and C7 Corvette AeroWagen. However, what we really love about the Silverado SC602 is the way it looks.

It may resemble a factory-stock Chevy Silverado from some angles, but there are telltale signs of the truck’s outstanding stoplight-to-stoplight ability. Like those 20 or 22-inch Callaway lightweight wheels, for instance, or the bevy of chrome Callaway exterior badging, including a bold CALLAWAY script on the carbon fiber front grille.

As with any Callaway vehicle, what matters most is hiding under the sheet metal. The SC602 starts life as a Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, or High Country with a standard 6.2-liter V8 motor and four-wheel drive. Next, Callway installs a GenThree Eaton TVS R2650 Supercharger with a TripleCooled intercooler. The blower offers 15-percent more displacement yet requiring 18-percent less power output.

It doesn’t stop there. The truck also gets a high-flow intake, low-restriction stainless steel dual outlet exhausts with quad exhaust tips, and a bespoke Callaway ECU with custom tuning. After all the dirty engine work is complete, the Callaway Silverado SC60’s blown V8 is now pumping out 602 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

But wait, the Ram TRX’s Hellcat V8 makes 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, 100 more horses (and 90 more torques) than Callaway’s truck, so how did it trounce the Ram? Two words: weight and tires. The Silverado SC602 tips the scales at only 5,820 pounds (2640 kg), while the Ram TRX weighs around 7,080 (3,211 kg) pounds.

The result is nothing short of astonishing. The SC602 goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.3-seconds, zero to 100 mph in 9.80-seconds, and breaks the quarter-mile in 12.5-seconds @ 113 mph. Meanwhile, the Ram TRX goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.99-seconds, a bit quicker than the Chevy.

But the latter is faster from zero to 100 mph as the Ram needed 10.14 seconds to perform the deed, proof of the Callaway Silverado SC60’s mid to high-range pulling power. And yeah, those sticky performance tires were partly responsible for the Callaway’s drag strip prowess.

What’s more, the Silverado SC602 is 50-state emissions compliant and carries a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty to supplement Chevy’s bumper-to-bumper warranty. Other goodies include aluminum door sills, billet aluminum pedals, an Alcantara-covered horn cover, and ID plaques to let other people know you’re driving the genuine article.

How much? We have no idea. But you can get in touch with Callaway if you fancy the ultimate Ram-beating sleeper truck.

Callaway Chevy Silverado SC602 Signature Edition Gallery

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Ford reveals the custom 2021 Mustang Mach-E to be given away for charity

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Ford has supported various charities for a long time, often donating customized automobiles to be auctioned off. Each year Ford offers a customized car for the AirVenture charity, and typically that car is a Ford Mustang of some sort with a big V8 engine under the hood. This year, the car Ford is donating to the charity is a different kind of Mustang.

Ford has revealed the customized electric 2021 Mustang Mach-E that will be auctioned off this year. The vehicle was built to honor the sacrifices of Women Air Force Service Pilots. The special Mach-E is inspired by the female volunteer pilots and the planes they flew during World War II.

Proceeds from the vehicle auction support the EAA initiative to provide young women and underserved youths more access to careers in the aviation industry. Ford notes that it has worked with AirVenture for more than two decades and has donated 12 custom aviation-themed performance vehicles so far, raising a total of more than $4 million. 2021 marks the first year Ford has donated an electric vehicle.

The custom Mach-E was designed by Ford and has a custom paint scheme with military badging inspired by the warplanes the volunteers flew. Women Air Force Service Pilots flew almost every type of military aircraft in World War II as they rolled off the factory floor after assembly. Ford put badges, including the US Army Air Force star on both sides, wings logos on the hood and fender, and No. 38 on the front fascia, rear bumper, and inside the cabin.

That number represents the 38 volunteers who died serving their country. Women Air Force Service Pilots are a group of American volunteers who transported warplanes to US Army bases worldwide to be used in combat. The female pilots flew more than 60 million miles during the war and weren’t recognized as active military personnel until 1977 when the pilots were granted retroactive military status.

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This Porsche 911 Turbo S pays homage to Mexican driving ace Pedro Rodriguez

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In collaboration with Porsche Latin America, Porsche Mexico, and Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, German automaker Porsche has built a custom 911 Turbo S in memory of the late, great Pedro Rodriguez. Rodriguez is the most successful Mexican racing driver of all time.

He walked away with 11 titles in the World Championship of Makes – now known as the World Endurance Championship – and helped Porsche capture the crown in 1970 and 1971 aboard a Porsche 917 KH in Gulf Oil livery. Rodriguez claimed two Formula Grand Prix wins, four wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans before losing his life in 1971 at the Norising street circuit in Nuremberg, Germany.

Fifty years on after that fateful and deadly crash, Porsche is reliving the glory days with a custom 911 Turbo S ‘One of a Kind’ Pedro Rodriguez. The car debuted at a Sportscar Together Day event at the Centro Alto Rendimineto in Toluca, Mexico, where it drew oohs and ahhs with its custom Gulf attire.

Porsche claims the 911 Turbo S ‘One of a Kind’ Pedro Rodriguez is, well, genuinely one of a kind. “This configuration, with these specific details and equipment, has been locked in the Porsche configurator, as well as in the production system, so that this car is literally unrepeatable,” said Camilo San Martin, Director of Porsche Mexico.

Wearing the iconic Gulf Blue paint with single orange striping, it also has custom high-gloss black wheels, an aluminum center lock, and a black number 2 in a white circle graphic on the doors and front hood. Look closely at the B-pillar and you’ll find a silhouette of the 917 KH race car wearing the colors off the Mexican flag, complete with the name and signature of Pedro Rodriguez.

Other bespoke elements include unique carbon moldings on the lower door frames (which illuminate when the doors are open), Graphite Blue leather seats with orange stitching, and an engraved tribute of the eight races that Rodriguez won aboard the Porsche 917 KH under the rear spoiler.

Also included are a Gulf Blue key fob (with Rodriguez’s signature) and a luggage set wearing the same blue and orange colors. It still has a turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-six pumping out 640 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox under the hood.

The Porsche 911 Turbo S Pedro Rodriguez will hit the auction block later this year. Porsche will donate the auction proceeds to various charities.

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