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Telkom promises 1m fibre lines

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Telkom has announced that it will double its fibre rollout to 70 000 homes by December 2015, with that capacity reaching 150 000 houses by March next year, and finally being able to provide fibre access to one million homes by 2018.

Telkom has announced that 38 000 homes were given access to fibre by the end of August 2015 and 1 317 LTE sites added to the network. The company will double the fibre rollout to 70 000 homes by December 2015 and will have capacity to connect 150 000 homes by March 2016 and 500 000 by December 2016. By 2018, Telkom says, it will have provided access for one million homes to connect to fibre.

In his address to delegates attending the Southern African Telecommunications Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC) in Hermanus, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said Telkom is committed to democratising broadband access. “We have set ourselves the objective of contributing to transforming the South African economy. South Africa is a developing democracy. We want to accelerate this development,” said Maseko.

While Telkom’s fibre rollout for large metropolitan areas will continue, the company is working with government to provide broadband to under-serviced areas.

At the same time, there must be a recognition that the digital divide is alive and well in South Africa. “We must recognise that the issue of access lies at the heart of the divide. You either have access or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. To cross the digital divide, you must provide universal access,” said Maseko.

Telkom has already begun reducing wholesale prices in order to bring down the cost to communicate and has launched a 1Mbit DSL service to reduce the barriers to broadband access.

Earlier this year, Telkom alluded to the potential for it to become an open-access operator. The company today confirmed that it will open copper access at 200 exchanges on a trial basis, thus effectively paving the way for a more open access approach, depending on the outcome of the trial. Telkom is committed to the establishment of an open-access regime for the entire industry to realise South Africa’s objectives.

Maseko called on mobile operators to join Telkom to bridge the digital divide. “If we are to overcome the access deficit, and in light of the mobile revolution and the benefits this has engendered, South Africa needs to see wholesale access to the mobile local loop and active sharing of the radio access network. This is an imperative and an important precursor for democratising broadband,” said Maseko.

South Africa requires decisive, unambiguous action to ensure its competitiveness, he said. It also needs fair access to spectrum, in particular Sub-1 Ghz, for rural coverage and good indoor coverage in urban areas. Maseko noted that this is particularly true for Telkom, the only mobile operator without Sub-1 Ghz spectrum. Maseko called on South Africa’s telecoms regulator to consider its spectrum strategy to allow for fairer distribution of spectrum.

In order to make broadband access meaningful, South Africa should also reconsider import duties which limit broader access to affordable smart devices costing less than R1 000.

“As a nation we’ve done some pretty remarkable things. We can do so again. I believe we are at an inflection point. History will judge us one day on how we –  government, operators, academia, the regulators and original equipment manufacturers – have used our collective resources to bring about sustainable change and economic development by bringing broadband to our people,” concluded Maseko.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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