Broadband, printing in space and FBiOS comes to a close

Kia ora koutou, Ben here with a short blog from the Issues team on some stories and developments that have caught our eye recently.

Fixed vs Wireless broadband

Bill Bennett did a couple of articles over the long weekend that I think deserve a mention. Bill wrote about Akamai’s State of the Internet and their recorded speeds for NZ’s broadband and mobile networks, and the Commerce Commission’s approval for Spark to buy Whoosh’s rights in the 2300Mhz band (one of the spectrum bands that can deliver 4G mobile Internet).

The basic thrust is that, according to Akamai at least, our broadband speeds are becoming less internationally competitive, but our mobile Internet is getting faster and faster. Say what you want about Akamai’s speeds (and plenty of people in the NZ networking community dispute them), what stood out to me is that the copper network isn’t going to get much faster, 4G is getting faster. 

Now that Spark has more 4G capable spectrum we should not be surprised if they use it to offer home Internet. If Spark can give people solid, reliable home Internet through their 4G network, that equals $41 per customer/month they get to keep instead of paying Chorus to access the copper network. What ISP wouldn’t build out that capability if it had the capital and capability?


3D printers are cool, space is cool. So what totally makes sense? Putting a 3D printer on the International Space Station!!

So the space geek in me just squeals in delight at this - if we can manufacture in zero-G, then one of the challenges of getting to Mars (taking enough stuff with you to fix anything) gets that little bit easier. But the really neat thing is that you can use the Internet (and your hard earned cash) to send something to be printed.“The manufacturing facility is available to any individual or business hoping to test their hardware in microgravity (if they’re willing to fork over $6,000 to $30,000 a print, that is).”

Of course, we can’t talk about the Internet and space without a nod to Vint Cerf’s Interplanetary Internet Protocol work and the Interplanetary networking special interest group. Because the speed of light may not be a constraint for Earth-based communication, but interplanetary networking will become quite the challenge for future generations (or maybe I’ve been reading too much of The Expanse).

FBiOS finally sorts itself

Reports are coming in that the FBI was finally able to access the content of Syed Rizwan (the San Bernardino shooter) without the help of Apple. So FBiOS has ended without a bang, or a court argument, but a quiet retraction and request from the FBI to vacate the court order that would require Apple to build software for the FBI.

Only two questions remain. One, will the FBI disclose the bug to Apple through their coordinated disclosure policy (the policy Apple asks hackers to disclosure bugs under)? The NSA discloses 91% of the bugs they find under their “Vulnerability Equities Process,” so will FBI do the right thing here?

Secondly,  how long until the NEXT case forcing a tech company to write code that could make their products less secure comes along? My guess is the FBI won’t choose a company with US$200b, an army of lawyers and a large, passionate group of fans to create their precedent next time…

And that's a wrap. You can email us (I'm, tweet us @InternetNZ or chat with us on Facebook.