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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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How To Easily Find Electric Car Charging Points Near You

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Electric cars are the future of the automobile industry, with virtually every manufacturer already building electric vehicles (EVs). Many manufacturers have even gone a step further, committing to an all-EV lineup in the near future.

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Despite how quickly the industry is pivoting to EVs, range anxiety is still the biggest issue slowing down faster adoption. For example, one study showed that 1 in 5 California plug-in EV owners end up going back to gasoline-powered vehicles over range anxiety and the difficulty involved in quickly charging an EV.

If you’re a current EV owner or considering becoming one, knowing how to easily find all available EV charging points near you is an important step in easing range anxiety and enjoying your EV. Fortunately, there’s a couple of easy ways to do it.

Use Google Maps In Your Vehicle

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One of the easiest ways to find nearby EV charging stations is by using Google Maps.

Google’s in-vehicle version of Google Maps offers a number of features designed to reduce range anxiety. For longer trips, the software can help plan your route according to available charging stations, and even make recommendations on when and where you should stop for a charge.

“Now when you enter a destination that requires two or more recharge stops, algorithms in Maps will search and filter through tens to thousands of public charging stations to find the most efficient route — all in less than 10 seconds,” writes Alex Donaldson, Product Manager, Google Maps. “You can see how long each charge will take and your updated total trip time, so your final ETA will never again be a mystery.”

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the list of EVs with Google’s software built-in is still relatively short but includes the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

Use Google Maps On Your Phone

Google Maps on Android phone

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If you don’t own one of the vehicles that have Google’s mapping software built-in, you can still use Maps on your phone to access many of the same features.

Beginning in 2019, Google started adding EV charging information into Maps, and users can now find charging locations, as well as important information about each location. For example, you can find out what kind of charging ports are supported, what charging speeds are offered, and how many stations are currently available.

“Simply search for ‘ev charging stations’ to see up to date information from networks like Chargemaster, EVgo, SemaConnect and soon, Chargepoint,” writes Donaldson. “You’ll then see how many ports are currently available, along with other helpful details, like the business where the station is located, port types and charging speeds. You’ll also see information about the station from other drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.”

Use Apple Maps

Apple Maps on an iPhone

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Similarly, Apple Maps provides an easy way to find nearby charging stations. Beginning with iOS 14, Apple added the ability to plan your route according to your vehicle and compatible charging locations.

“Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types,” notes Apple in the iOS 14 press release.

Thanks to Google and Apple, overcoming range anxiety has never been easier. All the information you need to plan your trip or go about your day’s activity is right at your fingertips.

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2022 Ford Ranger Splash Limited Edition returns with nature-themed color variants

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American legacy automaker Ford started rolling out the Splash Package and Splash Limited Edition for its Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck last year. Both offer a “splash” of unique, one-time-only color themes and bespoke equipment, and Ford promises to drop new Splash themes every few months.

Images: Ford Motor Co.
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Apple CarPlay on a Tesla made possible with this hack

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Tesla might be most controversial for its misunderstood and misused self-driving features, but for a certain number of car owners, its biggest is simpler. Tesla still refuses to play ball with Apple and add support for CarPlay or even Apple Music, no matter how loud its customers clamor for it. It doesn’t seem that things will be changing soon, so a developer tried to take matters into his own hands with relative success.

Image: Tesla

Pi Power

Although initially intended to be more of an educational tool, the Raspberry Pi has become the darling of makers, hackers, and developers who need an affordable yet almost complete computer that’s the size of a credit card (but way, way thicker). It can run a variety of operating systems, including even Windows, and with some add-ons, it can do almost everything that a regular PC can and more.

Image Credit: Michał Gapiński/Twitter

That’s what Polish developer Michał Gapiński did when he set out to solve one of the biggest pain points about Tesla: its lack of support for Apple CarPlay or Music.

Image Credit: Michał Gapiński/Twitter

He installed an Android-based ROM on the single-board computer (SBC) and turned it into a Wi-Fi access point. Connecting the Tesla’s browser to the Raspberry Pi gives access to CarPlay and all its features, making it look like Apple’s in-vehicle infotainment system is actually running on Tesla’s dash. It even works with steering wheel controls

Tesla and Apple

For reasons still unknown, Tesla refuses to support even Apple Music on its cars. Both companies want full control of the software running inside vehicles, so it’s not surprising that their ideologies clash. That said, almost all carmakers today support Apple CarPlay or even just streaming from Apple Music, leaving Tesla as the odd one out.

Image Credit: Michał Gapiński/Twitter

Gapiński’s workaround is hardly ideal, but the lack of any official solution leaves people with very few options. The developer is working on refining the system, but it will always be a hack in many other ways. Gapiński promises to make it available to the public once it reaches a more decent state.

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