Hot News in IT this week
Some highlights of the news from New Zealand and around the world.
Fixed Line Flux
The biggest news this week, by far, was the Commerce Commission's decision on maximum wholesale prices Chorus can charge. The newly proposed pricing is seen as approaching the final say after a long back-and-forth between Chorus and ComCom, and while it may have helped Chorus on the stock exchange, it has thrown the rest of the market for a loop.
The proposed maximum monthly rental price that Chorus can charge for its unbundled copper local loop (UCLL) is $28.22, an increase on the current price of $23.52 that was established by international benchmarking at the end of 2012.The additional proposed maximum monthly rental price for the unbundled bitstream access (UBA) service is $10.17, a small decrease on the price of $10.92 that was established by benchmarking at the end of 2013, and which came into force yesterday. The aggregate prices, however, marks a $6.50 decline from the nearly $45 price that had been in place until this week.
The response from other companies has been dismay, as iStart put it. Spark released a statement indicating its intention to undertake an urgent review of all of its broadband and fixed voice customer pricing, with Managing director Simon Moutter saying that the announcement was "unexpected" and the company would now be facing increased annual costs of $60 million per year based on the new numbers. As Bill Bennett explains in an interview on TV3, telcos have been planning for 2015 based on the prior numbers, and companies will be forced to either suck up the loss incurred by this sudden differential, or risk passing the cost on to customers, neither of which are pleasing to any corporation.
Computerworld: Copper Pricing Decision a Kick in the Guts for Unbundlers
Backbone is Better
What's better than a hot address for a business? A reliable IT network. By a very wide margin, according to the Regus Global Business Survey. The research says that when it comes to an ideal workplace, 82 per cent of companies surveyed rated reliable IT services number one. The survey took into account some kiwi firms, although the news isn't clear on how many. For what the survey is worth, 63 per cent of respondents say a "smart look" is key to an ideal workplace, and 55 per cent said professional front desk was also important. People were less concerned about links to transport, or car parking (so, probably not a lot of Aucklanders responded to this survey). The bottom line, though, is making sure the IT services are fast, reliable and always running.
Computerworld: All Kiwis Want for Christmas is Fast, Reliable IT
Super Year for Nanogirl
This year's Prime Minister's Science Prize for Science Communication has been awarded to Dr Michelle Dickinson, capping off a prize-winning year for the University of Auckland senior lecturer in Chemical and Materials engineering. Dickinson was also named Science Communicator of the year at the annual New Zealand Association of Scientists awards last month. Dickinson is a well known champion of science education, having set up a charity to teach children about robotics, coding and 3D printing. Her award, worth $100,000, makes it three in a row for University of Auckland in the science communications category, with Dr Siouxie Wiles, a senior lecturer in molecular medicine and pathology in the Faculty of Medical Health Sciences winning in 2013 and Professor Shaun Hendy of the Department of Physics in 2012.
NZTech Appoints New CEO
The New Zealand Technology Industry Association, long hand for NZTech, has named Graeme Muller as its new CEO, replacing Candace Kinser, who has taken the New Zealand lead for Palantir Technologies. NZTech represents almost 100 tech companies, universities, polytechs and government agencies. Muller comes from a research background, including a succession of roles for IDC.
Computerworld: NZTech Appoints New CEO
Security Today and Tomorrow
2014 marked a trend of increasingly sophisticated attacks on infrastructure, according to Bitdefender. Companies have become the focus of targeted attacks by hackers who want to take advantage of the wide surface area to extract financial data and other valuable information. Bitdefender predicts five key trends for 2015, pointing to attacks on mobile payment technologies and other security challenges. Botnet anonymisation will continue to make attack systems difficutl to track, while vulanterbilities in open source may prove tempting targets. Personal smart devices connected to enterprise networks will also be in the target zone. Alarmingly, Bitdefender predicts that cybercriminals will go into the business of selling crimeware kits, spreading the technology and widening the attack base.
Rival industry groups are setting the scene for a wifi access point war. Wifi is getting fast enough that Gigabit ethernet can't keep up with the most advanced access points, which use 802.11ac Wave 2 technology. Users could go to 10-Gigabit ethernet, but for most that would require installing more advanced cable. So the search is on for something in between that works on the most common kinds of cable over at least 100 meters. Two rival camps will have to work out which technologies go into the standard and which don't. The MGBase-T Alliance, one of the contenders which formed last June, includes vendors Avaya, Aruba Networks and Brocade Communications, as well as component vendors Broadcom and Freescale Semiconductor. They will be up against the NBase-T Alliance, formed in late October by Cisco Systems, Xilinx, Freescale and Aquantia, a company that's already making 2.5G/5G components.
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