ACCC begins search for light at the end of the NBN technology tunnel

By LAURIE PATTON | 6 November 2018

The boss of the ACCC, Rod Sims, has told The Australian “its recent dealings with the retail telcos has highlighted a weakness with the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) access technology”.

For numerous broadband experts, not to mention millions of hapless NBN customers, this might be seen as a classic ‘no shit Sherlock’ moment. However, it is probably the most significant recent development in the long running saga that began with Labor’s 21st Century fibre-based national broadband network, only to end in tears for so many when former prime minister Tony Abbott ordered his heavily-wedged communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to “destroy” the NBN.

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Planning for smart cities – Code of Practice released

By LAURIE PATTON | 31 October 2018

“Enhanced telecommunications connectivity, data insights, digital planning practices and innovation districts” will underpin the creation of so-called ‘smart cities’. That’s the theme of a Code of Practice released this week as part of Smart Cities Week Australia.

Developed by leading smart cities advocacy group the Smart Cities Council and the Green Building Council of Australia the voluntary code is designed to shorten the ‘transformation’ cycle and is aimed at both government and industry players.

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Australians have no interest in joining US cold war against China

By BOB CARR | 23 October 2018

Former Australian foreign minister and high commissioner to the United Kingdon Alexander Downer chewed ruminatively on his steak: “If you want a cold war with China, you will get a cold war with China”.  I had just been appointed foreign minister and was consulting my predecessors. Downer implied cold war was not smart diplomacy and not in Australia’s interest. But in its biggest policy shift on China since 1971, that is precisely what the US has embarked upon.

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Renewable water – The next ‘big thing’

By CHRIS MILLS | 8 October 2018

When cattle and sheep are dying in vast numbers across Eastern Australia, how sane is it for the driest inhabited continent in the world not to capture and redirect wastewater and stormwater from our cities and towns into food and beverage production? Energy is a major component of the cost of treating and moving water. Renewable energy sources can become an essential component of responding to the effects of climate change and climbing temperatures

Fortunately, there are some very bright and committed minds working on this issue, especially in our state and territory water supply agencies.

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auDA latest – All’s well that ends well

By LAURIE PATTON | 28 September 2018 

Despite a nasty and at times irrational campaign by a group known as the Grumpies, the future of Australia’s Internet domain names system was secured yesterday.

Members overwhelmingly approved a new constitution and consequential governance changes to auDA – the company managing our domain names service.

This follows a demand for reform after a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts found the organisation’s governance processes no longer fit-for-purpose.

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Ten things you need to know about changes to Australia’s Internet domain names system

By LAURIE PATTON | 23 September 2018

Australia is a country in transition. Although we don’t hear as much about the ‘innovation nation’ these days as we did a few years back, the reality is our future prosperity still lies in embracing a digitally enabled world. As the problems plaguing the National Broadband Network remain unresolved, another critical debate is now reaching a climax. At stake is the management of Internet domain names. These days, nearly every business has a website, so a meeting later this week is shaping up as a watershed moment.

Here are ten things you need to know about what’s happening to the management of our domain names.

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Déjà vu – How Rupert Murdoch helped engineer the dismissal of the Whitlam Government

By JOHN MENADUE | 21 September 2018

Rupert Murdoch has form in conniving to get rid of prime ministers from 1975 to 2018. The evidence continues to mount against those who collaborated in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government.

To obfuscate and cover their tracks, those who collaborated in ‘The Dismissal’ and their establishment friends spare no effort to criticise the performance of the Whitlam government. Those attacks are becoming quite threadbare. It is amazing what people with guilty consciences do to try and justify outrageous behaviour or avoid responsibility or change the subject.

The fact is that they collaborated in the dismissal of a democratically elected government. In contrast, Gough Whitlam, after 40 years, was more and more vindicated.

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Afilias Australia secures Guinness World Records title

By LAURIE PATTON | 19 September 2018

Afilias Australia – the company that recently took over the management of our domain names register – has received a Guinness World Records title. The award, presented in New York, was made for the successful and seamless transition of the 3.1 million .au domain names from the previous operator. It was the single largest migration of an Internet top level domain registry in the world and took place from 1 July this year.

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Beyond the political rhetoric, hard hats and Akubra’s – What do our political leaders really believe?

By JOHN MENADUE | 15 September 2018

Power does reveal substance. It tells us quite quickly about the values that drive political parties and political leaders. Scare tactics are always a sure sign that the values and policy cupboard is bare.

We can accept that our leaders must make some compromises from time to time, but we need to know ‘what they stand for’. We look for leaders who have conviction. Hypocrisy and double standards become very obvious.

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Active travel – Why children should walk or ride to school

By LAURIE PATTON | 14 September 2018

Walking, riding or catching public transport to and from school has long been a rite-of-passage for Australian children. However, a range of factors have increasingly seen parents choosing to drive their offspring.

How old children should be before they no longer require parental supervision, and how far they should be permitted to travel alone or even in groups, is often the subject of hot debate around the barbecue and in the media. Sadly, it’s one of those ‘back in my day’ age indicators – and a symbol of a more cautious and guarded society.

The proportion of Australian children using active transport to travel to or from school has declined by about 40 percent over a generation. Active transport is now the usual mode for less than one in three school children. Fifty-four percent of primary school children in NSW are driven to and from school every day.

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