More stories

  • in

    Singtel gives Optus more 'autonomy' to run enterprise unit

    Optus soon will have more autonomy to run its enterprise business, giving the Australian telco direct accountability of how it wants to navigate the unit’s growth path. Its enterprise division would be transferred from Optus’ parent company Singtel, so it would have “more operational autonomy” with the unit under its direct management, Singtel said in a statement Wednesday. Optus’ enterprise revenue clocked at AU$1.21 billion ($843.69 million) in its financial year, ended March 2022.Effective from July 1, the move is part of Singtel’s reorganisation efforts that began last year to “decentralise” the Singapore telco’s organisational structure and “empower” its businesses to tap commercial synergies and capabilities for growth. Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon said this was essential in the current volatile macro-economic environment where business units needed greater independence and agility to better navigate the market.Yuen said: “Optus has been part of the Singtel stable for two decades and a leading player in the Australian consumer market. Given the hyper digitalisation that enterprises are currently experiencing, this is also timely as Optus can focus on advancing its growth as a B2B (business-to-business) player.”Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin noted that a “more unified and collaborative” model would allow the Australian telco to support its enterprise customers’ localised needs and push products and services more quickly to the local market.  She added that the company not only would have the autonomy to make decisions quickly, but also still be able to tap Singtel’s global reach and knowledge.Singtel last year kickstarted a business transformation it dubbed a “strategic reset”, which also saw its ICT business unit NCS spun off from its enterprise business and positioned as a pan-Asia B2B digital services provider. NCS’ growth strategy was focused on Australia and Greater China, as well as on diversifying beyond its stronghold in Singapore’s public sector into the enterprise space.According to Singtel, these efforts had pushed its digital revenue to account for almost half of overall revenue in the last fiscal year. In its announcement Wednesday, the telco also announced that Bill Chang would assume a new role as CEO of the group’s data centre business, effective July 1. Chang would retain his current role as CEO of Singtel’s enterprise unit. Both its data centre unit and NCS had been earmarked as growth engines for Singtel’s digital businesses. NCS last October acquired a majority stake in Australian cloud consultancy, Eighty20 Solutions, as part of efforts to expand its footprint in the country. The move followed the purchase of another Australia-based cloud services vendor, Riley, which service offerings were specialised on Google platforms and comprised cloud-native transformation, data supply chain, and cloud operations. Singtel in February unveiled plans to spend at least SG$2 billion ($1.49 billion) to redevelop its global headquarters, pitching the new site as a smart building that would showcase sustainable workspaces for employees and future tenants. Called Comcentre, the building has sat on its current plot since 1979 and occupies an area of 19,252 square metres. RELATED COVERAGE More

  • in

    Why you can't trust Instagram

    NurPhoto / Getty About once a day I get a message from someone asking for my help with restoring their Instagram account. Like me, they did all the right security things. They used two-factor authentication (2FA). They jumped through the hoops to restore their hacked Instagram account. None of it worked, so they ask me […] More

  • in

    Bluetooth-based Auracast tech can power 'unlimited' headphones in public spaces

    The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG), which manages the technology behind the wireless connection protocol, announced the founding of a new brand focused on wide-area audio broadcasts. Dubbed Auracast, the new initiative will take the assets of the technology previously known as Audio Sharing and develop them as a way to output sound to an unlimited number of devices, using only one transmitter. 
    ZDNet Recommends
    Most Bluetooth connections feature a single transmitter and a single receiver. This is typically something like a laptop feeding sound to a pair of headphones or a smartphone outputting audio via an external speaker. However, Auracast promises to power massive numbers of headphones and other devices using only a single transmitter. The transmitter could be something as complex as a public address system or something as simple as a smartphone, a laptop, or a TV. Mark Powell, CEO of the Bluetooth SIG, claims the launch of Auracast will “reshape personal audio and enable public venues and spaces to deliver audio experiences that will improve visitor satisfaction and increase accessibility.” The Bluetooth SIG proposed multiple applications for the technology in its initial announcement, including sharing your home audio playback among a group of friends, listening in to audio output tied to displays in public spaces, and improving audio quality for the fully abled and hard-of-hearing by providing both with a direct channel to broadcasted audio in a public space like a “transit center, cinema, conference center, or house of worship.” The organization believes this final use case also could see Auracast becoming the basis of next-generation assistive listening systems (ALS) for the hearing-impaired. More: Best Bluetooth speakersAlthough Auracast’s specifications are considered part of the Bluetooth LE Audio specification suite, the new technology still will require specific Auracast-enabled devices to function. The initial Auracast specifications are expected to be released “within the next few months.” No time frame was given for when the first Auracast-enabled products might reach the public. Developers and others interested in the technology can learn more by visiting the official Auracast web page.
    Networking More

  • in

    Google Fi: The best phone service for international travel

    MR.Cole_Photographer/ Getty Most years, I rack up about 100,000 miles of business travel on airlines. Well, not the last two. I went from tens of thousands of miles to, at most, hundreds. But, now that COVID-19 is slowly retreating, business travel is coming back, so I’m on the road again. That means I once more […] More

  • in

    Bypass restrictions online, download files, and more for just $40

    StackCommerce The following content is brought to you by ZDNet partners. If you buy a product featured here, we may earn an affiliate commission or other compensation. Are frustrated by website restrictions preventing you from accessing them, downloading content, converting files you need into files you can use, and more? Well, help is here. You’ll […] More

  • in

    Broadcom makes a $61 billion play for VMware

    Image: Shutterstock Broadcom has put forward a $61 billion proposal made up of cash and stock that would see it control 88% of the shares in VMware, with the current shareholders retaining a 12% stake. Michael Dell, who owns 40% of VMware, and private equity firm Silver Lake which controls another 10%, are backing the […] More

  • in

    NBN could end up as a 100Mbps network and the ACCC thinks it might be too quick

    Written by

    Chris Duckett, APAC Editor

    Chris Duckett
    APAC Editor

    Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

    Full Bio

    Image: Cole Bennetts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    On Monday afternoon, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a consultation paper on the proposed variation to the NBN Co Special Access Undertaking, which would codify NBN’s preferred pricing model of removing the loathed connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) capacity charge on plans of 100Mbps and faster. For 12Mbps, 25Mbps, 50Mbps plans, NBN is putting forward the same type of model it currently uses, where each plan has an allocation of CVC included — often around 6% of the marketed speed or lower — and would see excess capacity at AU$8 per 1Mbps per month to retailers. For plans at 100Mbps and above, a flat access fee each month is paid. While the flat price plans are set to increase at a rate of the consumer price index (CPI) plus 3% initially, and the greater of CPI or 3% later, which is higher than the pure CPI increases on the bundles, the ACCC believes excess usage charges will steer retailers towards the 100Mbps plan. “As a result of the retention of CVC charging for the bundled products less than 100Mbps and the CVC cost escalation mechanism built into the SAU proposal (along with allowable CPI+X adjustments), we observe that the costs to retailers of the 50Mbps product are expected to equal those of the 100Mbps product within only a few years and similarly for the 25Mbps product before the end of SAU term [in 2040],” the ACCC said in its consultation paper. “These dynamics indicate that … a narrowing of reasonably priced access products in the market that could be in turn damaging to the level of retail competition and result in the supply of retail products in the market at higher prices and at speeds in excess of end customer needs.” Citing the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research, the paper said it is forecast that median household speed requirement will be a mere 29Mbps in 2028, and only 0.1% of households will need speeds greater than 78Mbps, while retailers currently only promote 100Mbps plans are for “larger households” that make up 10% of the market. NBN is not helping the situation by predicting 13% annual increases in peak data demand while only making CVC increases at half of that level. “The retention of CVC charging may result in access cost escalation over time, as peak data demand continues to grow. It could also expose retailers and customers to cost increases due to demand shocks, such as those observed during COVID-19 lockdowns,” the ACCC said. “The cost escalation could occur because the CVC allowances for the bundles appear to be designed not to grow as fast as peak data demand.” Using NBN’s forecasts, the ACCC said the wholesale cost for an entry level plan would double by 2033 and shoot towards AU$104 per month in nominal terms by 2040. Along with having the technologies introduced by the Coalition government in 2013 brought under the SAU, the proposal seeks to separate NBN’s services into core and non-core — non-core is proposed to cover enterprise ethernet, business satellite, and satellite mobility services and would not be bound by the SAU. In an effort to recover its initial costs to build the network — stated at AU$38 billion in real terms or AU$44.5 billion in nominal terms — NBN is putting forward a revenue cap mechanism where it would not make enough money to recover costs for some years, but would begin to rein it all back in during later years. “The implication of this scenario is that the revenue cap would likely fail to act as a binding constraint on NBN Co or provide any basis for setting prices,” the ACCC said. “Under NBN Co’s proposal there remains no link between underlying costs and the price structure, price levels, or projected price paths. Further, NBN Co’s proposed pricing and proposed price paths do not appear to contain any direct link to current or future demand.” The ACCC is inviting submissions on its paper until July 8. Related Coverage More

  • in

    Brazil announces partnership with Elon Musk to connect Amazon rainforest

    Written by

    Angelica Mari, Contributing Editor

    Angelica Mari
    Contributing Editor

    Angelica Mari is a Brazil-based technology journalist. She started working at age 15 as a computer instructor and started writing professionally about technology two years later.

    Full Bio

    The Brazilian government has announced a partnership with Elon Musk’s company Starlink for the operation of satellites in the Amazon rainforest. The plan was announced on 20th May, during Musk’s visit to Brazil, where he met president Jair Bolsonaro and five ministers, as well as 10 local businessmen at a luxury hotel in the countryside of São Paulo.

    At the end of the event, Bolsonaro and Communications minister Fabio Faria spoke briefly to the press, describing how Starlink satellites, which should go live over the Amazon in the coming months, could be helpful in terms of providing broadband to schools and monitoring fires and logging in the rainforest. Musk said on Twitter that Starlink would connect 19,000 schools in rural areas. In a press release, the Ministry of Communications replicated the contents of the tweet, adding that technical and specific investment details around the partnership will be “discussed at a later date, with the public and private sector stakeholders involved,” No contracts have been signed at the occasion. The partnership follows the February announcement from telecommunications agency Anatel that it had granted Starlink, a company owned by spaceflight firm SpaceX, the right to operate in Brazil, with exploitation rights running until 2027. The agency considered granting the rights until 2033 but shortened the time span of the authorization given the venture’s “pioneering nature” and “possible unforeseen impacts.”At the time of the Anatel announcement, the company said it had plans to put 4,408 satellites into orbit as part of its plans to build an interconnected satellite-based internet network. The company will not have the right to protection and cannot cause service interference with other satellite systems. Prior to the latest developments, Musk, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell and minister Faria had met in November 2021 during a technical mission to the US to discuss the projects around connectivity and use of next-generation technology in the Amazon.Environmental issuesBolsonaro has been criticized for his administration’s handling of environmental matters in Brazil. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rose 64% between January and March 2022 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the national space agency Inpe. The head of state stressed that Musk’s visit to Brazil is a “milestone” for the country and that technology will show the “truth” about how the Amazon is preserved. “Of course, there are niches for fires and irregular deforestation. But the arrival of satellites will help us preserve [the rainforest]”, he said.”Now, we also need to develop that region, which is very rich in biodiversity and mineral wealth,” the president added. Bolsonaro offered the opportunity to exploit niobium reserves in Brazil to the billionaire, and noted studies are underway to add graphene to create a super battery. However, Brazil’s lithium reserve, which is the world’s seventh-largest, is more interesting to Musk since his company Tesla is shifting to lithium iron phosphate batteries for its electric vehicles. Elected through social networks in 2018, Bolsonaro described Musk as a freedom crusader and that the businessman’s intention to buy Twitter for $44 billion announced in April was a “breath of hope”.

    Networking More