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Virgin Media trials 400 Gbps prototype technology
by Paul Hill
Virgin Media has announced the successful trial of Infinera’s XR Optics technology. The prototype technology can be plugged into Virgin Media’s existing fibre network to boost transfer speeds to a huge 400 Gbps in a single fibre. Technology has come a long way since 2019 when Virgin Media trialed 10 Gbps fibre home broadband in Cambridgeshire and new developments will open up possibilities concerning the technologies of tomorrow.
Discussing the use of the technology, Infinera’s Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder Dave Welch said:
Explaining exactly how the new technology works, Virgin Media explained that fibre optic networks send data from one point to another using electrical switches and transceivers. In the trial, the traditional transceivers were swapped out for Infinera’s technology which splits a single fibre optic cable into many connections which each take a share of the capacity allowing for multi-gigabit speeds.
The company said that this technology will help support the growing demand for data whether it’s coming from high-quality video streaming, remote working, or immersive entertainment such as virtual and augmented reality. It also said that the technology can be used to carry 5G traffic to and from mobile phone masts.
Sky Mobile reveals how much data was saved due to lockdown
by Paul Hill
The Mobile Virtual Network Operator, Sky Mobile, has revealed that £174 million worth of data has been saved among its customers due to lifestyle changes brought around by lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unsurprising that mobile data has dropped significantly due to people staying home and using their broadband connection more but it’s nice that Sky Mobile has been able to quantify the use reduction.
Customers that have continued to pay for their mobile usage over the last year have not lost access to the 55 million GBs of data that have been saved, instead, it’s stored in Piggybank for up to three years so many customers will have a lot of data to burn through once restrictions are lifted. Sky Mobile said that on average, customers have saved 43 GB of data which works out to about £136 of savings per person.
Commenting on the news, Paul Sweeney, Managing Director of Sky Mobile, said:
According to the firm, customers in Scotland saved the most data reaching 7.7 million GBs and saving £24 million. London came second with customers saving 4 million GBs of data which was worth £13 million.
While not one of the main providers in the UK, the service does have 2 million customers and it offers some interesting features including Piggybank and the recently announced ability to share spare data with those who may need it.
LIII BitTorrent Client 0.1.1.4
by Razvan Serea
LIII BitTorrent Client is a open-source BitTorrent client capable of downloading torrents with minimal impact on the system's resources. The software distinguishes itself from the competition with a minimalistic, no-nonsense interface and easily accessible options. Along with the standard features, LIII BitTorrent Client offers convenient downloads managing, flexible settings, etc. It is also possible to open torrents from URLs or magnet links. You can use it to download any and all Torrent files you find around the web at speeds as fast as any other BitTorrent client, if not faster.
Changes in v0.1.1.4:
Display how much DHT nodes LIII is connected to, "[DHT: xxx nodes]" in the program title bar Colored status column Download: LIII BitTorrent Client 0.1.1.4 | 9.7 MB (Open Source)
Download: LIII BitTorrent Client Portable | 12.1 MB
View: LIII BitTorrent Client Home Page | Project Page @GitHub
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UK's Supreme Court says Uber drivers are employees
by Paul Hill
The UK's Supreme Court has ruled that a group of Uber drivers, 25 in all, who took Uber to an employment tribunal, are to be considered employees of the firm rather than self-employed. For the time being, the employed status only applies to this group who brought the case but it could have a wider impact on the gig economy where people essentially perform piece work without other benefits that employees enjoy such as sick pay.
The case, which was finally settled today by the UK’s Supreme Court, has been going on for around five years now. It was initially played out at a London employment tribunal which found that the drivers were entitled to paid holidays and rest breaks but Uber appealed the decision so the case progressively went through higher and higher courts.
Britain’s 60,000 Uber drivers will not see any change to their employment status for quite a while yet, among the 25 who brought the case, details about their employment will need to be worked out over the next several months, it could even be the case that another employment tribunal hearing is needed to work out how much money is owed to the drivers.
Commenting on the results, judge George Leggatt said:
Uber has faced calls to make drivers employees in other countries too; Californians recently voted to keep gig economy drivers as contractors rather than employees after Uber and Lyft poured more than $200 million into a campaign to keep the existing regime.
Source: UK Supreme Court via Reuters
Virgin Media study calls for more tech investment in the UK
by Paul Hill
The broadband provider Virgin Media has published a new study that calls for the UK to invest more money in digital technology to boost the economy by £232 billion (6.9%) by 2040. The study was written in collaboration with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The new study was done to help examine ways that technology can support the UK’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 has sped up the adoption of digital solutions, the report’s authors believe that there's still a lot more that could be done. Investment in services and infrastructure could boost the economy by £75 billion, investment in digital health and social care could be worth £33 billion, and changes to justice, central and local government could be worth another £32 billion.
Commenting on the report, Director of Economic Analysis at CEBR Cristian Niculescu-Marcu said:
By investing more money into digital technology, it’s expected that the productivity of the workforce would increase by enabling people to work from home, access to services would be increased, meaning people could more easily educate themselves while businesses can get things done faster. Richer data will be available for AI and analysts which could help the economy in other ways, too.