Telstra Tested Its Mobile Internet With Terabytes of Downloads

When it comes to the internet, people in Australia are often plagued with bad internet. When they debuted in the speed index almost a year ago now, Australia was placed 18 out of 29 countries. Then back in February mobile internet provider, Telstra offered a day of free internet to say sorry for an outage, resulting in terabytes of downloads and the internet within Australia being affected all over. Now to prove their network can handle it they offered another free data day, and this time, Telstra’s customers met the demand with terabytes of downloads.

When we say terabytes of downloads, we mean quite a few. 2686 terabytes were downloaded, equating to 3.4 million HD movies, and some people took advantage of the deal more than offers. Sydney resident John Szaszvari downloaded a staggering 994GB from his LG G4 Wi-Fi hotspot, reaching download speeds of up to 180Mbps. While downloading Szaszvari also made sure to upload and back up photos, files and videos to the cloud, a clever use of the free data day.

Chief Operations officer Kate McKenzie took notice of this and decided that it actually equates to 40 years worth of a typical users downloads. So what did he download? 24 seasons of the Simpsons, 14 seasons of MythBusters, a “lot of random other stuff” and finished it off with the COMPLETE Wikipedia database.

With Telstra having issues and offering free data days as their way of apologising for the lack of calls or online access but with the data days showing that their network can hold up to the demand (even with some slowing thanks to certain people managing to push the boundaries of downloads), I think their reputation is starting to recover.

India Bans Facebook’s Free Internet Platform Over Net Neutrality Concerns

India’s national telecom regulator has banned Mark Zuckerberg’s “free” internet endeavour for violating net neutrality. Free Basics, formerly known as Internet.org, was designed to bring free internet to developing countries, but access to websites was restricted to Facebook’s commercial partners, meaning Free Basics users could only visit sites that had paid to be featured.

“No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has ruled (via BBC News).

The World Wide Web Foundation, created by WWW inventor Tim Berners-Lee, has welcomed the ruling. “The message is clear: We can’t create a two-tier Internet – one for the haves, and one for the have-nots,” Programme Manager Renata Avila said. “We must connect everyone to the full potential of the open Web. We call on companies and the government of India to work with citizens and civil society to explore new approaches to connect everyone as active users, whether through free data allowances, public access schemes or other innovative approaches.”

While Zuckerberg has maintained throughout that Free Basics adheres to net neutrality rules – “Instead of recognizing that Free Basics fully respects net neutrality, they claim–falsely–the exact opposite,” he blustered back in December – a Facebook spokesperson claims that the company will work to ensure that its free internet initiative complies with net neutrality.

“Our goal with Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform,” a Facebook spokeswoman said. “While disappointed with the outcome, we will continue our efforts to eliminate barriers and give the unconnected an easier path to the internet and the opportunities it brings.”

Free Wi-Fi Hits the Streets of New York… In Bins?

A lot of companies were looking into providing free Wi-Fi, a project that seems to have been of big interest as of late. However, nobody would have predicted where free Wi-Fi would come from
on the streets of New York. Would you have thought that your regular street bin would also be an access point in the near future? I thought so.

Bigbelly is a company based in Massachusetts who deals with waste management. Their first project was to put in place ‘smart’ bins that would signal when they are full or become smelly, so the latter would have more priority and be taken care of swiftly and efficiently. However, the company seems to have an even bigger project up their sleeve.

The company apparently teamed up with Downtown Alliance to place Wi-Fi hotspots inside the bins. This means that New York residents will have free Wi-Fi on the streets, thanks to their bins! Tests were performed daily and the results came as a big success. They say that the hotspots are able to hold a lot of simultaneous connections, the size of a small business, with speeds of 50 to 75 Mbps. Another amazing thing about the free Wi-Fi providing smart bins is that they do not get interference from radio towers or other wireless access points, since they are placed at ground level.

The project may give free Wi-Fi to citizens, but it may help do even more. It is said that the smart bins would help the government collect data about waste management or display public service announcements and alerts. Tests will still be performed throughout the year to make sure that nothing major crops up, but the project does seem a great success and the company is now looking to expand the project even further, provided that sponsors are found and willing to help the project financially. So what is your take on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you The Huffington Post for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of UC Santa Barbara Department of Geography

Facebook Make a Stand for Equality in Zambia

Everybody deserves equality and it starts by understanding your basic human rights. Facebook and Internet.org are now making a stand for women rights in Zambia with their new app. It gives free internet access for people without a data plan, to access resources like MAMA, WRAPP and Facts For Life by UNICEF.

MAMA provides critical health information to new and expecting mothers. Facts For Life offers tactical tips for handling pregnancy, childbirth, childhood illnesses and childcare. WRAPP helps Zambian women to learn about what their rights are, what legislation protects those rights and what to do if those rights are violated.

It launched this week and Facebook worked with the local government and the Zambian carrier Airtel to identify the needs and bake them into Internet.org’s new app. It is both a standalone Android app and a mobile-website available on the feature phones most Zambians carry. The Facebook for Android app will also get a tab for it.

The app gives free access to a limited number of Internet services including Facebook, Wikipedia and Google Search as well as local info on weather, jobs, government, and human rights. Airtel hopes the free plan will influence people to buy a data plan to gain access to the rest of the internet.

“’Women’s access to technology – and their ability to use it to shape and drive change in their communities – is critical to gender equality” says Global Fund for Women’s President and CEO Musimbi Kanyoro. “This technology will give voice to millions of people, including women, in Zambia, Africa and the whole world, and empower them to share ideas, drive innovation, and build more inclusive and democratic societies.”

Most women in African countries don’t have a data plan, so it is easy to see how this can have a huge impact on their rights and the overall equality. Facebook plans to roll out the app to more countries, but it is a fine line for them to walk. Other parts of Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, where gender discrimination is more institutionalized and women have historically been oppressed, might not welcome the app with open arms. It is however a fight worth fighting.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Facebook