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Fibre to the home – what you need to know before you sign up with an ISP

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Fibre to the home (FTTH) is rolling out in suburbs across South Africa at a rapid rate, promising lightning fast internet speeds, a world of connectivity and online in-home entertainment options not yet experienced since the Jurassic Park advent of copper lines and ADSL.

Once you get over the trenching, messy pavements and lumpy driveways courtesy of the fibre infrastructure provider, and you’ve done your homework on the best internet service provider (ISP) to provide the actual interconnectivity via your fibre line – Netflix binges become a reality, along with a veritable treasure chest of YouTube and Google knowledge, music and movie downloads, online gaming, skype chats with far-flung family and friends, lighting fast downloads and uploads and cloud storage and back-up for your documents, photos and videos – you name it and the internet becomes your oyster.

Linda Morris of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider and IT technology partner says that an internet connection that delivers on speed, availability, security and data integrity is no longer a ‘nice to have’ option at home, but has now become a necessity in our tech-driven lives.

“Fibre to the home opens up a world of entertainment, education and learning, music, transacting, work-from-home flexibility, security and remote monitoring, and IoT for connected devices that are all increasingly fundamental to our daily lives. Your computer, smart phone, TV, tablet and even your home appliances like fridges and security camera systems are increasingly using data and requiring high-speed internet connectivity. FTTH is becoming an essential utility, much like water and electricity,” said Morris.

“Of course, the proviso to all of this working flawlessly comes with one really important caveat –choosing the right internet service provider (ISP) before you sign. While it’s true that the steps to getting fibre to your home are not always plain sailing, as there are many role players and steps involved, knowing what to expect, who is involved in the process, and what the important things are to look out for will streamline the process considerably,” Morris said.


Smart Technology Centre provides some key pointers on what to expect when getting FTTH


Installing the infrastructure

Once your suburb is approved for fibre and the necessary wayleaves have been granted by the local council, the infrastructure provider commences building the backbone network – this is typically a fibre ring which feeds the fibre from a centrally placed distribution node to every block in the suburb.

This is where the trenching of pavements and driveways begins – and many residents tend to lose their sense of humour, albeit temporarily. Infrastructure providers do go to great lengths to restore the area to its original state and within a few weeks of completion, your pavement and driveway should be back to normal.

Each street in the suburb is then linked up to the backbone network and gets ‘fibred’. As each customer signs up for service, the fibre is then taken from the distribution box on the street boundary wall to a point inside your home, typically following the shortest route possible.

Finally, your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP) who provides your internet connectivity and bills you every month for the service, will install a Wi-Fi router in your home and get you connected to the internet.

It’s really important to point out that ISPs are not all equal in terms of service, pricing, back-up and support and quality of connection.


Smart Technology Centre provides the following tips and questions to ask before you sign up with an ISP


Equipment: Does the ISP package include the cost of a Wi-Fi router and installation or is this an additional once off cost? Every ISP has a different way of entering into an agreement with you. Some will provide the fibre router that you need to connect to the port in your wall at no extra cost if you sign a contract for a set period.

Others will only provide the service with no set contract and operate on a month-to-month basis – you will need to purchase the fibre router at an additional cost. Note that any existing ADSL or LTE Wi-Fi router that you may have will not work on a fibre line as the technology is different. It is also important that not all Wi-Fi routers are the same, the less expensive options typically have a smaller throughput for bandwidth.


Installation: Does your ISP complete the set-up process for you? Unless you’re a tech-fundi, get your ISP to install the router and connect it to the fibre and make sure it’s working correctly and protected with passwords so only authorised people can hop onto your home network. To distribute wireless within your home, you may want to consider adding access points to extend the range of the wireless network from the router.

Get your ISP to check and advise you accordingly. It may even be preferable to install LAN cables from the router to connect to your access points, XBOX or Smart TV. This is where most ISPs really differentiate, in that the majority do not offer home support, or advice on how to obtain the maximum benefit from your fibre connection within your smart home.


Support: It is important to consider the level of support you can expect post installation. Look at whether your ISP has a call centre available to field support calls, or any other way that you can engage in the event of a problem or technical query.


What line speed do I need? You have a choice of how fast you want your line to be. This is measured in Megabits per Second (Mbps) ranging from anything between 10 – 100 Mbps. Bear in mind that the faster the line, the higher the cost. As a good rule of thumb, look at what your current connection speed is and what you will be using the line for to decide what will work optimally for your home.

If you’re not into TV streaming, online gaming or downloading and uploading big files, a 10mbps line will do, but if you’re internet-hungry you may want a much faster internet connection at 50 or even 100Mbps.

The number of devices using the connection also matters – the more connected devices, the greater the line speed to accommodate all the traffic. Also check whether you can you easily upgrade to a higher line speed in a matter of minutes if your needs change, or will you be bound for the duration of the contract before you can upgrade? Does your ISP offer symmetrical upload and download speeds – if you have a 50meg line, are your upload and download speeds the same?


Data: You also have a choice on the amount of data you want access to a month. Your ISP will typically give the option of a capped line where you can choose data bundles or an uncapped line that has no limit. Cost once again comes into play in this decision. If you are just planning on surfing the web to look at photos and listen to the odd song or two, a capped line will work.

A capped package means your data will be limited and once you reach it, you will need to top up, usually at a higher out-of-package rate. If you are planning on streaming movies, gaming, using entertainment portals like Netflix and so on, an uncapped line will serve you better.

While some ISPs provide an uncapped package, they may have a ‘fair usage’ policy that ‘throttles’ your speed if you overshoot their fair usage limits. An uncapped package gives you far more flexibility, and typically is cheaper than your capped packages, albeit may be a small speed. Most ISPs have an online portal which lets you see how much data you’re using.


What are the contention ratios like? Low contention ratios ensure a higher quality of service because there are less subscribers using the same line.

“Be wary of basing your entire ISP decision on the first available connection date or price. Each FTTH provider is affiliated with one or several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that will actually manage your fibre line connection. The ISP you choose will ultimately shape what your fibre line will deliver, such as the speed of the line, whether it is capped or not, the back-up you will receive and monthly cost,” Morris said.

“The fact that South Africa’s fibre network is mostly built on the principles of open access means that you have a choice as a consumer of who you want your FTTH provider or ISP to be. You have the ability to change either of the two if infrastructure in your area allows, which leaves fibre users absolutely spoilt for choice, shifting the power to the consumer,” Morris said.


Read: New SA gaming ‘arena’ offers top-end rigs and 500 mbps fibre – with membership starting from R300 a month

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal

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People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.


People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

Montreal
– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in
Montreal.

The
worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

Israeli
strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

Speaking
after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

While
insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

Earlier
on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

Several
hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

Although
the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

The
SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The
police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

Following
the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

Several
thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

“Terrorist
Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

Pro-Palestinian
protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.


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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do

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“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach

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Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)


Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe

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Miss Universe Andrea Meza


Miss Universe Andrea Meza

UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 IS ANDREA MEZA FROM MEXICO:


UPDATE:

THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 5:

1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru


UPDATE:

HERE ARE THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 10 CONTESTANTS:

1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21 IN SWIMWEAR:


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21: 

1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam


 UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE SOUTH AFRICA NATASHA JOUBERT WALKS THE STAGE AT MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021:


74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021

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By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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