The ACCC has released a preliminary report of its Digital Platforms Inquiry – an investigation on “the impact of online search engines, social media and digital content aggregators (digital platforms) on competition in the media and advertising services markets”. It’s a really broad range of issues (there’s stuff in here about media bias, data privacy, advertising market power & more), but the report comes to a few conclusions anyways, like potential laws to make it obvious what data a user is handing over to an advertiser, making the default for data collection “no”, a mandatory option to delete all the data a company owns on you and making web browsers offer a choice of search engines instead of implementing a default. The full report will be out mid-2019, but the ACCC has already launched multiple investigations into Facebook & Google’s activities.
Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO and daughter of Huawei’s founder arrested by Canadian authorities on behalf of the USA, is currently trying to get bail on “U.S. accusations that she misled multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran. This deception put the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions and incurring severe penalties”. The Chinese government is obviously not happy and told the Canadian ambassador that “there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Meng”. Meanwhile, Japan joined Australia, NZ and the USA in blocking government use of Huawei (and ZTE) gear and the EU is considering similar action. If you’re wondering why everyone’s hating on Huawei lately, The Guardian has a good story explaining their circumstantial dodgyness.
Queensland’s state government has started up a new business called FibreCo that’s gonna wholesale out around 6000km of optical fibre cable that it owns across the state. It’s not designed for end users to hook up their homes or offices to, but for ISPs to purchase large chunks from so there’s a second option besides Telstra as outside the metro cities Telstra is the only, expensive option. The state government reckons it’ll be popular with WISPs that’ll service remote/regional communities that are stuck with NBN’s shitty satellite or congested fixed wireless.
The latest Australian 5G spectrum auction has concluded and ACMA’s announced who got what. Telstra got the biggest haul, spending $386m to buy 147 chunks of the 3.6GHz band. Vodafone and TPG’s “Mobile JV” not far behind with $263m and 131 lots. Optus got 47 chunks for $185m and Dense Air Australia (a mob doing small cell/dense/indoor coverage operations) paid $18.5m for 29 lots. Interesting that Optus didn’t purchase any 3.6GHz spectrum in the capital cities. Maybe they don’t plan to use that high frequency stuff in the cities as it won’t be any good indoors? Either way, this spectrum can be used in March 2020, but 5G networks will go live in existing spectrum sooner than that.
Once again, there’s a few small bits of news worth mentioning, but don’t deserve an entire paragraph all to themselves:
50 years ago today, Douglas Engelbart gave the “mother of all demos” at a San Francisco computer conference. It was the first time someone showed off a bunch of tech we all take for granted in 2018. Doug showed the audience the concepts of video conferencing, a modern desktop-style user interface, word processing, hypertext, the mouse, collaborative editing and more. Doug also came up with the idea for an “oN-Line System”, a prototype-ish version of ARPANet, which itself is a predecessor to the internet we love and hate today. It’s amazing that what this dude came up with an showed the world 50 years ago is now common and taken for granted.
Three Sydney councils have hooked up with JetCharge to install half a dozen kerb-side EV charging stations. Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick councils will get 22kWh AC chargers and will mark the parking spots out as EV only spots. The parking spots won’t be free and will have the same parking restrictions as ICE cars. It’s a small step and the 22kWh chargers aren’t exactly speedy compared to the 50kWh CCS/CHAdeMO units gaining popularity (i.e: a LEAF or Ioniq will only suck in ~6.6kWh from them, only the Zoe and Teslas will make use of the full 22kWh), but they’re affordable and better than nothing.
That’s it, see ya tomorrow!