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London TweakTown readers unite! Virgin Media are testing the DOCSIS2-powered 1.5Gbps network in the heart of England. It is currently being enjoyed by a group of test sites around Old Street that also receive a 150Mbps upload connection. Virgin is claiming that it's the fastest broadband in the world, but I for one cannot agree to this without them giving me access to it. The best bit about this is that the technology delivering the 1.5Gbps is based off the same technology that is currently delivering 100Mbps services to residents across the country. So if the trial is successful, those crazy speeds should be rolled out to the rest of England.
Internode have announced their retail pricing for the NBN-based phone and broadband bundles packages, with prices ranging between $59.95 and $189.95. If you'd like the 100MB speeds, it will cost you a minimum of $100 per month. Internode were quick to say that the pricing for broadband could easily escalate, this is because of the flaws in NBNCo's wholesale charging model, compounded by the ACCC's "121 points of interconnect" decision.
Managing director of Internode, Simon Hackett, has criticised the NBNCo's wholesale fee of $20 per megabit per month, which is charged at the point where retail service providers physically connect to the NBN. He says:
This charge has simply been chosen to fill in an otherwise huge hole in the Federal Government policy requirement that the network return funds to the Commonwealth at a commercial rate and in a short time frame (relative to the expected lifetime of the network).
Apple is close to releasing updated models of their AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule products. The refreshed models are expected to be on shelves any day now. The AirPort Extreme comes in one flavor, with the Time Capsules coming in two flavours, both a 2TB and 3TB model. The Time Capsule devices are rumored to include a new software update caching feature that will store Mac OS and iOS updates on the Time Capsule's hard drive for installation on any network-based Mac/iOS device.
Also coming from Apple are new Mac minis, Mac Pros and MacBook Airs.
Seven customers have been connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) trial services in Armidale ahead of the official launch. The launch of the NBN marks the start of trial customer services for various ISPs such as Telstra, iiNet, Internode and Primus. iINet and Internode have two customers each, Primus with a single lucky customer and Telstra has a "handful" of customers on NBN services.
Each telco had connected to the NBN on a trial basis with no cost to the customer (where's my invite?). iiNet has their two customers on 100Mbps services with 1TB of data per month. One of the iiNet customers said he would use his new 100Mbps NBN service to work from home. Peter Erskine is a researcher at the University of New England and has said:
Internode have finally launched their FetchTV internet video service with pricing that is quite competitive against competition such as iiNet. Internode are set to offer rival providers such as Optus and Adam Internet their Fetch TV service, a "full" version which offers customers complete access to FetchTV's streaming TV channels and a "lite" version which offers access to a library of on-demand movies from major movie studios as well as the normal free-to-air functions of the FetchTV set-top box.
Internode will charge $29.95 per month on a 24-month contract for customers to rent out the set-top box, or $14.95 per month for the Lite service. The set-top box can also be purchased outright for $399 with the full service then being available without a contract for a $19.95 per month fee or for the lite version, $5.95 per month.
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Pictures of the NBN Network Termination Unit or "NBN Box" have surfaced and are now causing people to raise questions on how it works. The NBN Box is not a replacement unit for your current wired or wireless router which plugs into your telephone wall socket and gives you access to the Internet. The NBN box is actually a replacement for the wall socket that will provide users with six sockets - two dedicated to voice services, four dedicated to data services such as the Internet.
This way, your telephone will plug into one of the voice sockets and your router will plug into one of the data sockets. Each data socket can provide a single and distinct service of the fibre network into your home or business. The NBN Box is not a switch - as each and every socket is completely independent of each other.
Optus has today launched the commercial pilot of femtocell technology which is designed to boost its 3G network coverage and speed with the customer's own fixed-line broadband service at home. Dubbed "Optus 3G Home Zone", the product uses technology built by Alcatel-Lucent, plugs into a fixed internet connection and allows 3G devices like mobiles, tablets and mobile broadband devices to utilise the network to make calls or access the internet within a 30-metre radius.
Optus is trialling the technology in multiple cities; Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong and the Gold Coast. Optus consumer marketing director Gavin Williams has said:
We believe femtocells are an important way of enhancing the customer experience of the Optus Open Network by acting as a wireless gateway into the home or office. The Optus 3G Home Zone will not only personalise the quality of mobile coverage in the home but has the potential to deliver relevant service benefits such as applications for social networking, entertainment and business.
NBN Co, the company behind the $36 billion Australia-wide high-speed internet network has signed up 12 retail service providers to take part in customer trials. NBN Co's head of product development and sales, Jim Hassell, said in a statement:
This testing phase is a critical step in building the network, working with RSPs and integrating our operating systems as we aim to provide the best possible service when commercial services commence.
Companies that signed up included Telstra, Optus, iiNet and Internode. I'm with iiNet at home so if iiNet want to hook me up with some uber-fast NBN goodness, my email is available on the TweakTown site ;)
Almost two years ago, Google launched a rather mundane attempt to compete with social media juggernaut Facebook. If you weren't reading about how detrimental social media is to your brain and your sense of morality (which you probably, and ironically found on your Twitter or Facebook news feeds), you may have caught this somewhat underwhelming SEO boost to your social network two Aprils ago.
This past Thursday, Google announced it had enhanced its Profiles section. I think we all remember what happened the last time Google created a social service that duplicated an existing one, but 8.5 million reminders of their mistake will hopefully avert anything similar this time.
Google users that decide to participate will notice that their profiles will update automatically as new features become available. For the time being, the page looks almost identical to a watered-down Facebook Profile page- but is that necessarily a bad thing?