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SpaceX wins UK regulator Ofcom's approval for its Starlink mobile broadband base stations
Tuesday, 12 January 2021 02:29

Ofcom has given the thumbs-up to SpaceX's Starlink broadband user terminals, opening the door to a UK launch of Elon Musk's satellite-based broadband service.

The approval – which was issued in November but only recently became public knowledge – pertains to the receiver equipment nicknamed internally by the company as " Dishy McDishface ".

This kit debuted in the US late last year and has since been subject to several teardowns , which unearthed a positioning motor, a phased-array antenna powered by its own discrete ARM-based computer, and a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection responsible for power and data.

Separately,

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Pop quiz: You've got a roomful of electrical equipment. How do you put out a fire?
Monday, 11 January 2021 19:15

Who, Me? A reminder to take care when fiddling with the top shelf in today's edition of Who, Me? Especially when "good" has taken a backseat to "cheap".

Our tale takes us back to the closing decade of the last century and comes from "Joe", a senior techie at a major US East Coast satellite uplink/downlink hub.

"This included a vestigial radio circuit business the management refused to abandon," he told us.

"The video staff knew nothing about the radio operation. The radio staff returned the favour by ignoring the video." Joe, the senior party, was responsible for both sides.

liar
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UK network Three hikes pay-as-you-go rates by 400% to push punters to buy 'bundles'
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 22:00

Three has announced plans to hike the price of its pay-as-you-go mobile service , with SMS and data prices set to soar by 400 per cent from 16 February. The per-minute cost of making a call, meanwhile, will more than triple.

Under the new rates, the cost of sending a text message rise to 10p from the current price of 2p. The per-megabyte cost of data will increase from 1p to 5p. Calls to UK landlines and mobiles will be charged at a rate of 10p per minute from the current rate of 3p.

Roaming rates have similarly been hiked.

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Union warns Openreach that engineers are ready to vote for industrial action over new grading structure
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 20:30

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has told Openreach it is to ballot members on industrial action following what it claims is the company's decision to ignore consultation and instead hire engineers on a different grade and structure.

The specific area of Openreach that CWU said is the subject of an "ongoing dispute" is Repayments Projects, a unit tasked with diverting already laid copper wires and fibre cables for new developments including HS2, a high-speed rail line linking up London, the Midlands, the North, and Scotland.

Sources within BT's subsidiary told us management didn't follow the process agreed with the union

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China showing signs of brewing IPv6 eruption
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 13:37

APNIC, the Asia-Pacific’s regional Internet address registry, has noticed a sharp uptick in IPv6 use by China Telecom, the nation’s top provider of internet services.

While rivals China Unicom and China Mobile dominate mobile internet connections, more than 150 million subscribers rely on China Telecom for wireline services and the company operates extensive national and metropolitan networks that its mobile-centric rivals depend on. China Telecom is therefore a critical player.

APNIC notes that in 2017, when China announced its “Action Plan for Promoting the Large-scale Deployment of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6),” the nation’s IPv6 adoption was solidly in low

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BT parachutes in former HSBC exec to run new Digital unit
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 03:30

BT has hired former HSBC exec Harmeen Mehta to head up a newly created Digital unit, overseeing the internal shift to digital systems along with the incubation of tech platforms, products, and services.

Mehta, who served for the past seven years as Group CIO at Indian telco Bharti Airtel, will act as chief digital and innovation officer and join the newly formed BT Technology Advisory Board (TAB), reporting directly to CEO Philip Jansen.

The standalone Digital unit will lift an as-yet-unspecified number of staff from BT's Technology division, a spokesman for the company told The Reg . Mehta's accountability includes

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