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Xfinity takes out Ookla’s US broadband report

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(Image: Ookla)

The major city with the fastest fixed broadband in the United States is Kansas City, with the fastest state being New Jersey, according to Ookla.

Ookla’s 2018 US Fixed Report, published on Wednesday, measured speeds from 24.3 million unique users, 66.7 million samples, 115.5 million tests, and 3.2 million data points.

Xfinity was the fastest, with an Ookla “speed score” of 104.67, followed by Verizon — whose FiOS fiber-optic network reached speeds of 8Gbps in a trial of NGPON2 technology across its live network in October — on 102.57.

Cox was third, with a speed score of 101.84; Spectrum fourth, with 87.56; AT&T Internet fifth, with 76; and CenturyLink sixth, with 28.32.

The top five fastest major cities across the nation were Kansas City with its Google Fiber providing mean download speeds of 159.19Mbps and mean upload speeds of 127.03Mbps; Austin, Texas, also with Google Fiber at 143.66Mbps down/70.65Mbps up; Lubbock, Texas, with Suddenlink at 141.48/26.98Mbps; Raleigh, North Carolina, with Google Fiber at 137.7/75.62Mbps; and San Antonio, Texas, with Grande Communications at 133.86/49.86Mbps.

Rounding out the top 10 cities were Lincoln, Nebraska, on Allo at 132/105Mbps; San Francisco, California, on Sonic at 131/69Mbps; Boston, Massachusetts, on Verizon at 131/46Mbps; Henderson, Nevada, on Cox at 131/23Mbps; and Charlotte, North Carolina, on Google Fiber at 128/66Mbps.

Ookla said the slowest five major cities in the US were Memphis, Tennessee, with XFinity on 44/12Mbps; Laredo, Texas, with Spectrum on 55/8Mbps; Toledo, Ohio, with Buckeye CableSystem on 59/10Mbps; Cleveland, Ohio, with Spectrum on 61/21Mbps; and Buffalo, New York, also with Spectrum on 65/17Mbps.

The state with the fastest average broadband speeds according to Ookla’s report was New Jersey, with a mean download speed of 121.45Mbps and upload speed of 56.50Mbps, and Verizon taking out the fastest speeds for the state.

It was followed by Massachusetts with RCN on 117/38Mbps; Maryland with Verizon on 117/63Mbps; Delaware with Xfinity on 114/48Mbps; Hawaii with Spectrum on 114/27Mbps; the District of Columbia with Verizon and RCN equally ranked to provide mean speeds of 109/53Mbps; Nevada with Cox on 109/24Mbps; Texas with Suddenlink on 106/39Mbps; Washington with Xfinity on 106/25Mbps; and Rhode Island with Verizon on 105/63Mbps.

Xfinity also provided the fastest speeds in Colorado, California, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Oregon, West Virginia, and Oklahoma; Verizon provided the fastest speeds in New York and Virginia; Cox took out Arizona and Oklahoma; and Spectrum was fastest in South Carolina, Kentucky, Montana, Wyoming, and Maine.

Google Fiber’s limited rollout means it only provided the fastest speeds in the states of Utah, Kansas, and Missouri; while AT&T Internet was fastest in North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The slowest states according to Ookla were Maine, at 50/9Mbps; Wyoming, at 51/14Mbps; Montana, at 55/15Mbps; Idaho, at 56/17Mbps; and Vermont, at 60/36Mbps.

“With gigabit expanding across the nation, fixed broadband speeds in the United States are rapidly increasing. Speedtest data reveals a 35.8 percent increase in mean download speed during the last year and a 22 percent increase in upload speed,” Ookla said.

“As a result, the US ranks seventh in the world for download speed, between Hungary and Switzerland. The US ranks 27th for upload, between Bulgaria and Canada, during Q2-Q3 2018.

“Though 5G looms on the mobile horizon, fixed broadband speeds in the US continue to outpace those on mobile, showing both faster speeds and greater increases in speed.”

Reflected in its next report will be Verizon’s new 5G Home service.

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Polestar 2 adds a video streaming app to pass the time while charging

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Polestar is adding a video streaming app to the Android Automotive OS dashboard of the Polestar 2, though as you’d hope the EV has some strict limits on playback depending on whether you’re driving or not. Currently in beta, the Polestar 2 video app is designed to give drivers something to occupy themselves as they wait at public chargers.

Certainly, the growing number of DC fast chargers available in the wild have helped with cutting down that time. So, too, has Polestar’s incremental update to just how fast the EV actually tops-up, with an OTA firmware update back in February 2021 nudging the charging rate to 155 kW from the 150 kW it launched with.

All the same, even if you find such a charger, it’s still going to take you longer to top-up than pumping gas might. European Polestar 2 owners will now be able to entertain themselves with some video as they hang out in the cabin.

There’ll be a choice of news programming and national TV broadcasts, where available, Polestar says, along with a video playlist which is curated by the automaker. To begin with there’ll be SVT in Sweden, TV2 in Norway, and GOPlay and RTBF in Belgium. All European market also receive feeds from BBC Ideas, Al Jazeera English, and Germany’s tagesschau. More options will be added over time.

What you won’t be able to do, though, is play video while you’re actually driving. The Polestar video app can be accessed when the EV is parked; switching out of Park and into Drive or Reverse will automatically flip the stream into audio-only mode. That way you can hear the show, but not see it on-screen which could be a source of driver distraction.

How well it goes down with owners, meanwhile, remains to be seen, and indeed Polestar is seeing this beta version as a way to test out the popularity of new features. “We will receive feedback – both good and bad – that will help to refine the app based on thousands of use cases, rather than a small, defined set,” Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, explains. “We will also continue to add channels in the future, which gives the app huge growth potential since it is realistically able to integrate any web-based streams.”

Sweetening the deal is the fact that viewers won’t have to pay extra for the data used by streaming, since that will be included in the car’s own data plan.

It’s unclear when – or even if – the app will come to Polestar 2 cars in North America. Current legislation certainly doesn’t prevent it, with Tesla already offering streaming on its EVs, though again with limits on when you can watch depending on whether the car is in motion. We’ve got a request in with Polestar for more information, and will update when we hear back.

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Brembo introduces G Sessanta Concept brake caliper for motorcycles

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Italian braking expert Brembo is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Commemorating this glorious event is the brand’s newest brake caliper concept for motorcycles. The latest G Sessanta Concept is unlike any brake caliper you’ve seen before. Embodying the desirable traits of a genuine concept, G Sessanta is Brembo’s vision for the future of mobility.

The Brembo G Sessanta Concept has innovative LED lighting technology that is purpose-built on the body of the caliper. It not only enhances form and function but it serves as a communication interface for the driver. “The light takes Brembo’s experience in the use of color to a higher level, giving it new values,” according to Brembo’s PR.

Wireless technology is at the heart of G Sessanta. The colors and lighting effects can be personalized using your smartphone or gadget. You can choose from changing lighting moods or allow the system to select the lighting effects based on existing surroundings.

What’s more, it can relay warning lights to the driver, like when the brake pads need replacing. And if you find it tricky discerning your bike from hundreds of others in a parking lot, G Sessanta can emit a courtesy light to point you in the right direction.

Brembo has been setting new standards in braking technology since the brand’s inception in 1961. Born in Paladina, Italy, Brembo’s 46-year motorsports history is a testament to the brand’s commitment towards performance and innovation. The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing has optional Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes with copper-free brake pads and electronic sensors to monitor the brake pad thickness, all while weighing 64 pounds less than cast-iron brakes.

However, will Brembo’s G Sessanta Concept make it to four-wheeled conveyances? We’ll have to wait and see, and it’s interesting to witness how lighting or wireless technology can benefit auto brakes, as well. Still, it’s good to know that significant OEM and aftermarket suppliers are infusing new technology into their products.

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The Citroën Ami Cargo is an electric microvan for small business errands

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You’ve probably heard of the Citroën Ami EV, a micro EV that’s small enough to be driven by 14-year-old teeny boppers without a full driving license – in France, at least. Nevertheless, the Ami is a brilliant and dirt-cheap city car with a conscience. And now, Citroën has unveiled the microvan version of the Ami, which makes it doubly desirable.

The Citroën Ami Cargo offers all the little goodness of a regular Ami, but it has small or micro-enterprises in mind. “Inspired by the version designed for individuals, My Ami Cargo retains the idea that guided the design of Ami,” said Richard Meyer, Stellantis Commercial Vehicles Strategy and New Mobilities manager.

Small on the outside yet big on the inside, Citroën Ami Cargo has a vertical partition and modular shelves to store cargo boxes, plants, small kennels, and whatever you fancy. The modular rack can hold 40 kg of weight and has a flat top to form a mobile desk. “This is why we created an innovative interior space, allowing us to make an offer that’s unique on the market while retaining the simplicity and clever design of the Ami,” added Meyer.

What’s more, Citroën’s electric microvan has a flat floor with two levels of height adjustment, allowing you to carry taller objects up to 1.2-meters. All told, Citroën Ami Cargo can accommodate up to 400 liters or 140 kilos (308 pounds) of stuff. In the rear, it also has a closed storage box to secure valuable things like smartphones, tablets, small laptops, and parking tickets.

Otherwise, the cargo version remains a basic Ami minus the passenger seat. It still measures 2.4-meters by 1.4-meters, perfect for tight parking spots. It has a single electric motor and a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. It only has eight horsepower, but how many horses do you need to motivate a tiny van?

As it turns out, it doesn’t take much. The 6 kW electric motor enables a modest 30 mph (45 km/h) top speed, so don’t expect to be blown away like in a Tesla Model Y. The tiny battery achieves 47 miles of range on a good day. But when the battery runs out of juice, it replenishes in just three hours using a primary 220V domestic socket.

Also, the Citroën Ami Cargo is endlessly customizable to fit any purpose. The best part is the price: You can purchase the Ami Cargo in France for as low as €6,490 ($7,800) with a €900 ($1,081) deductible, or you can rent it as part of a long-term lease agreement starting at under €25 ($30) monthly

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