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Google UK's Lego Android

How far will Microsoft go with Android?

There is only one destination for companies that fail with their own mobile operating system, and it's called Android. Last month, BlackBerry acknowledged defeat by announcing PRIV, an Android device with a focus on security. What then is Microsoft’s Plan B when it comes to mobile? In the Nadella era we have already seen the …
Tim Anderson, 14 Oct 2015
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Australia’s opposition promises more fibre in national broadband diet

Australia's shadow communications minister Jason Clare has promised to deploy more fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections on Australia's national broadband network (NBN) should the opposition Labor party (ALP) of which he is a member win the nation's next election. Clare hasn't revealed just how the ALP will re-introduce …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Oct 2015
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nbn™ loses chief operating officer Greg Adcock

nbn™, the entity building Australia's national broadband network (NBN), has announced that chief operating officer Greg Adcock has departed the company. nbn™ is not saying why, but says he's staying on in “an advisory role reporting direct to the Chief Executive Officer until his departure.” Adcock was an early Turnbull-era …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Oct 2015 suspends broadband connection voucher scheme

The government has suspended its broadband connection voucher scheme, following last month's announcement that more than 40,000 SMEs had got their hands on the funds. In September, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport warned small businesses that time was running out to sign up to the scheme that helps them get …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Oct 2015
NASA's OCSD cubesat

NASA preps test of broadband-from-spaaaaace project

NASA is getting ready for the first test of a cubesat as a broadband-in-space platform, after receiving confirmation that last week's Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) satellite is in position and operational. Hoisted into orbit last Thursday, the OCSD CubeSat demonstrator managed by The Aerospace …
Google provides great mobile coverage for Yetis

Google says Loony broadband balloons are 'nearly perfect'

Google is promising that its Project Loon balloon-broadband initiative is ready to go and wants to announce its first operator partners in Africa soon. Last Friday, Google [x] regional business lead Wael Fakharany told the GSMA Mobile 360 conference in South Africa the company has “almost perfected” the Loon technology. …

Netflix in Australia slower than Mexico, Chile or New Zealand

Optus takes crown from TPG by the barest margin but Australia lags Mexico, Chile and New Zealand Telstra has improved its Netflix download speeds by .46 of a megabit per second, but is still the slowest of the Australian internet service providers the video streamer rates. Netflix today released the September version of its …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Oct 2015
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Android users left at risk... and it's not even THEIR FAULT this time!

Tardiness in providing security updates is leaving the vast majority of Android devices hopelessly insecure, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge. Over the last four years, an average of 87 per cent of Android devices were vulnerable to attack by malicious apps, according to the research, which blames a …
John Leyden, 12 Oct 2015

Dot-gay bid fails again: This time because it is too gay

This time last year, the applicants for the internet top-level domain .gay were stunned to find that their application to be recognized as a "community" was rejected because they weren't gay enough. After successfully arguing for re-evaluation and waiting nine months for the result, Dot Gay LLC has now been told the self-same …
Fibre Optic by Barta IV cc 2.0 attribution

BT to shoot 'up to 330Mbps' into 2,000 Gosforth homes

BT customers in Gosforth, Newcastle, are being given a chance to test copper's last hurrah, The DSL standard is hoped to help the extension of broadband access to fibre-foiling locations. It has been cooked up in Suffolk by BT, Alcatel-Lucent and its Bell Labs research arm. BT claimed "eliminates the …
Sharon White, new head of Ofcom, former Second Perm Sec at the Treasury

Ofcom chief warns that carrier aggregation may be bad for consumers

Analysis The mergers of O2 and Three, and BT and EE, could drive prices up for consumers and be A Bad Thing. This is the warning given by Ofcom boss Sharon White in a presentation to the London School of Economics this week. She warned that fewer mobile operators could lead to prices rising. The mergers of telcos is pretty much the …
Simon Rockman, 9 Oct 2015

Vodafone joins calls to pry Openreach from BT's hands

+Comment The political ding-dong over prising broadband biz Openreach out of BT’s hands entered another round today with the release of a Vodafone-commissioned report on the £6.5bn in “excessive profits” BT has been making from the UK broadband market. The blows and counterblows come during Ofcom's once-a-decade Strategic Review of …
Simon Rockman, 8 Oct 2015
Wile E. Coyote goes over the edge again

Strike one – First net neutrality gripe against an ISP is nixed by FCC

What is believed to be the first complaint that a telco is breaking America's new net neutrality rules has been rejected. The CEO of Commercial Network Services, Barry Bahrami, tried to use the US Federal Communications Commission's "informal" complaints procedure to ask the regulator to look into Time Warner Cable's peering …
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Verizon now owns AOL, so AOL now owns your web browsing habits, other personal info

US telco giant Verizon has given notice it will be providing information on its subscribers to AOL for targeted advertising. A notice in Verizon's privacy policy warns users that beginning next month, information such as device information, addresses and whereabouts, and browsing habits, will be given to AOL so it can sling …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Oct 2015
Rotary phone

Netflix launch brings Australia's biggest ever download deluge

The arrival of Netflix in Australia has brought with it the largest-ever spike in downloads recorded in Australia. New Australian Bureau of Statistics Internet Activity shows that in the six months to June 2015, Australian users of fixed line broadband collectively downloaded 1,349,975 terabytes of data. The ABS measures …

Cisco hooks Angler Exploit Kit infrastructure

Security researchers at Cisco have struck a blow against crooks behind the notorious Angler Exploit Kit, blocking or re-routing access around dangerous domains on the interwebs. Angler has been linked to high-profile malvertising and ransomware campaigns over recent months. The utility uses software vulnerabilities (in …
John Leyden, 6 Oct 2015

Phone thieves to face harsher penalties for data theft

New laws which value the “emotional harm” of a crime could be brought to bear in mobile theft. The Sentencing Council for England and Wales has issued new guidelines for judges ruling in theft cases and in the section on “general theft”, which includes : Theft from the person Theft in a dwelling Theft in breach of trust …
Simon Rockman, 6 Oct 2015

Rights groups: Darn you Facebook with your 'government names'

The ZuckerBorg's continued refusal to assimilate anyone who won't provide their "real" name to the site has provoked an angry letter from 75 human rights, digital rights, LGBTQ and women's rights advocates. Facebook has always claimed its "real name" policy protects users from harassment, as without the right to anonymity …

Startup promises to cancel your hated Comcast subscription for you for just $5

Free marketeers would be proud; a startup in the US has just started up to deal with one of the toughest and most frustrating corporate trials – cancelling a Comcast subscription. Airpaper, which appears to be a two-man San Francisco upstart, will take up the torturous process of navigating the corporate ins and outs of …
Iain Thomson, 5 Oct 2015
Twitter for Mac New

Ex-CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey is new CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey

The ex-CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, who has been the interim CEO of Twitter, has now been confirmed as the new permanent CEO again. Dorsey was voted in as the permanent CEO after another spell in the hot-seat following on from the toppling of Dick Costolo. Dorsey, who tweets from @Jack, has been offering his own thoughts on …
Zuck balloons

Facebook, French sat operator in SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA

Facebook has inked a deal with Eutelsat Communications to beam internet access to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Financial terms of the agreement were kept secret. Eutelsat said this morning that the companies had signed a "multi-year" pact with Spacecom to "utilise the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite", …
Kelly Fiveash, 5 Oct 2015
Wall of Spam. Pic: freezelight

Virgin Media's SPAM-AGEDDON 'fix' silences mailboxes

Virgin Media customers who are account holders have been struggling – one way or another – to access their emails for days now. Subscribers affected by the ISP's migration from Google's Gmail service were first forced to wade through hundreds of SPAM messages to get to their emails, only to later find that over- …
Kelly Fiveash, 5 Oct 2015

Read our lips, no more EU roaming charges*

The European Commission will draw up rules to help mobile network operators set limits on the amount of roaming they will allow their customers to engage in before they can apply charges to the activity, the EU's Council of Ministers has said. The Council has formally approved new EU rules that will generally bring an end to …
OUT-LAW.COM, 5 Oct 2015

T-Mobile US hires someone other than bungling Experian to offer ID theft monitoring to hack victims

First, Experian was hacked by criminals, and its sensitive records on 15 million people who applied for T-Mobile US phone contracts were stolen. Then, bafflingly, Experian was hired by T-Mobile US to provide identity theft and credit monitoring for those caught up in the security breach. Now the telco will let people pick …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Oct 2015

Like your job at Sprint? Yeah, about that ... $2.5bn in cuts coming

US mobile carrier Sprint plans to tighten its belt to the tune of up to $2.5bn in cost cuts over the next six months, a new report claims. The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday that it has obtained a memo outlining the plan that was sent to Sprint staffers this week by CFO Tarek Robbiati. In it, Robbiati reportedly said he …

Experian-T-Mobile US hack: 'We trusted them, now that trust is broken'

Analysis The IT security breach that spilt the personal details of an estimated 15 million T-Mobile US phone contract applicants has thrown a new spotlight on the risks of breaches at third-party companies. T-Mobile's own systems weren't compromised. Rather, the source of the leak was Experian, the company that processed the carrier's …
John Leyden, 2 Oct 2015

Ofcom: Ahem, about that 28GHz spectrum. Let's talk fees

Having found that it can charge more than it used to for mobile spectrum, Ofcom is planning the same trick for 28GHz Broadband Fixed Wireless Access. The pricing model radio spectrum charges used to be called AIP (administered incentive pricing), which covered Ofcom’s cost of administering the spectrum. But then Ofcom hit …
Simon Rockman, 2 Oct 2015

Three mobile data network GOES TITSUP across Blighty

Three UK is battling what appears to be a major outage affecting its mobile network. The company has been quietly fielding hundreds of messages via micro-blurt website Twitter, which seems to suggest that the disruption is widespread. @ThreeUK what's going on with the mobile data? Down yet again 😬 — james edwards (@ …
Kelly Fiveash, 2 Oct 2015

Five things that doomed the big and brilliant BlackBerry 10

Listicle Clickbait Special BlackBerry wants you to know that the BlackBerry 10 (BB10) isn't dead. But beyond receiving essential maintenance, it simply isn't a priority for BlackBerry, which boasts that it now has over 50 per cent of its staff in software and sales jobs. "We have two confirmed new releases, 10.3.3 and 10.3.4, on the roadmap. These …
An angry mob

Telstra iPhone customers RISE UP as download speeds collapse

Problems with an unnamed submarine cable are hitting in unexpected places: Apple iPhone users on the Telstra network are reporting catastrophically-slow performance downloading updates. The issue seems almost certainly to stem from a combination of where Apple mirrors content it's delivering to Australians (Vulture South's bet …

15 MILLION T-Mobile US customer records swiped by hackers

Experian's servers have been hacked – and now sensitive files on 15 million people who applied for T-Mobile US contracts have fallen into the wrong hands. In a letter published today, T-Mob boss John Legere said miscreants got hold of the database Experian uses when performing credit checks on folks enrolling for phone …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Oct 2015

Want cheaper AT&T gigabit service? Move to a Google Fiber city

Disturbing content Competition works: AT&T has been found to be charging less for its gigabit broadband service in cities where it has to compete with Google Fiber. A report by Consumerist analysts noted that AT&T varies the prices on its 1Gbps Gigapower service depending on where it's rolled out – and the correlation between the lower rates was …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Oct 2015

What does EU farm subsidy get spent on? Yes, broadband for Irish farmers

In its efforts to “get every European digital”, the European Commission has raided agricultural funding to try and get farmers surfing. Despite dedicated funds such as the Connecting Europe Facility being slashed, the Commish has found a new way to get cash for rural broadband roll-out. On Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner …
Fibre Optic by Barta IV cc 2.0 attribution

TPG glasses Vodafone with 4,000 km of new fibre

After Vocus and M2 Communications announced their merger deal, all eyes turned to troubled mobile operator Vodafone, with TPG mooted as the likely buyer. Those rumours will get even more legs, with the two companies announcing a services-for-subscriber swap that will implant TPG deep in the Vodafone network. The no-longer- …

NBN net neutrality under fire following DPI RFI

One-time NBN CTO Gary McLaren called out his former employer on Twitter yesterday following a request for proposal that hinted at plans for deep packet inspection. A report in this morning's Communications Day quotes McLaren, who tweeted: “so much for being a Layer 2 network.” @jxeeno @NBN_Australia So much for being a Layer …
Bill Bennett, 30 Sep 2015

Sky 'fesses up to broken fibre cables as cause of outage woes

Sky has 'fessed up to broken fibre cables as being the cause of an outage in the north west, which has knocked a number of broadband and phone customers offline since Monday. The fault began yesterday evening, with customers taking to Twitter to complain. @SkyHelpTeam looks like a lot have lost service due to outage. Hope sky …
Kat Hall, 29 Sep 2015
Telstra copper in broken pit

Telstra passes on NBN billions, plays it safe

Technology pundits were left scratching their heads yesterday when Telstra walked away from bidding for up to A$56 billion in NBN fibre build contracts. Both Telstra and NBN had previously talked about Australia’s biggest telco installing some of the new fibre network. Last week nbnTM launched the nation’s first fibre-to-the- …
Bill Bennett, 29 Sep 2015

Google 'cubists' fix bug in Linux network congestion control, boost performance

A bit of “quality, non-glamorous engineering” could give a bunch of Linux servers a boost by addressing an unnoticed bug in a congestion control algorithm. This little code snippet addresses the ten-year-old slip-up in the open-source kernel's net/ipv4/tcp_cubic.c code: static void bictcp_cwnd_event(struct sock *sk, enum …
Fibre Optic by Barta IV cc 2.0 attribution

US fibre rollouts are driving Cablelabs standards in new directions

Google's fibre initiatives haven't just prodded the US cable operators to respond in kind, gigabit for gigabit – it's also driving standards. A good example was the August announcement by Broadcom of a chipset that helps cable companies (mostly in …
gushing fire hydrant, photo via Shutterstock

Microsoft preps Azure data lake flood gates for readiness

Microsoft will later this year release its open-source friendly lake for big-data analytics in the cloud. Azure Data Lake Store – announced at Build in April – will be released as a preview, Microsoft said Monday. The store will be built on Apache YARN for developers and data scientists, to analyse information, and will use …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Sep 2015

EU, China promise 5G cooperation, seek an understanding on standards

The EU and China have pledged to work hand in hand on rolling out the next generation of mobiles and mobile networks. Digi Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger signed a symbolic agreement with Miao Wei, Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology at Monday’s “High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue” in Beijing. “5G …
Jennifer Baker, 28 Sep 2015
Indian mobile use

Microsoft, Google scramble to COLONISE INDIA

Microsoft is the latest company to rush into the lucrative emerging Indian market, with the promise to connect 500,000 villages in the subcontinent to the internet. The announcement is hot on the heels of Google's plan to set up free public Wi-Fi coverage across 100 of the nation's busiest train stations. Microsoft CEO Satya …
Kat Hall, 28 Sep 2015