SkyMesh, Activ8me NBN satellite users offered ‘relief’ data each week – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Retailers for NBN Co’s Sky Muster satellite service will soon provide weekly “relief” blocks of extra data and are lobbying NBN Co for deeper concessions.
SkyMesh will offer customers “on normal Sky Muster plans” a 10GB “relief data block” every Monday for the next three months, starting March 23.
The company also said it will upgrade “our network by around 40 percent to help avoid congestion”, indicating it is likely to use the full extent of an NBN concession announced this week offering an up to 40 percent bandwidth boost above a retailer’s February usage.
Activ8me also announced it will give users 5GB of extra data a week for free, also starting March 23, with the offer running over four weeks.
CEO Martin Camilleri said he is also pressing NBN Co “to relax certain elements of their fair use policy for Sky Muster satellite services.”
The fair use policy limits the amount of peak data that an internet provider can offer over a rolling four week period.
“You may be aware of the fair use policy, which is the guidelines NBN Co stipulate all ISPs [internet service providers] abide by in order to offer NBN services,” Camilleri wrote.
“They dictate many of the limiting features currently in place on Sky Muster services, including the fixed ceiling on the maximum data allowances we can offer and the requirement of a peak/off-peak split to Sky Muster plans.
“Whilst I can’t guarantee these talks will come to anything substantial, I’m quietly hopeful they will be willing to ‘come to the table’ so to speak, to assist us in our efforts to support [users].
“I only hope our efforts can in some way lessen, even if only by the smallest of degrees, the additional strains during this difficult and trying time for all.”
Quota across internet networks
Quota isn’t a problem in most of the NBN fixed-line footprint where unlimited plans are prevalent, although even retailers there have moved to temporarily relax quota limits on the cheapest plans they offer.
However, data quota on cellular services is considerably more constrained, and all three mobile operators are offering temporary data boosts to help users whose primary internet is mobile broadband.
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are also coming on-board, with Amaysim – which operates on the Optus network – saying today its customers would get bonus data.
“From today all customers on the $10 mobile plan will receive 10GB of additional data, $20 mobile plan customers will receive 20GB of additional data, and $30 mobile plan customers will receive 30GB of additional data,” Amaysim said in a statement.
“The additional mobile data will take effect immediately, for use until 15 April 2020.”

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Trump offered to pardon Assange if he cooperated over email leak, UK court hears – Strategy – Networking – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

US President Donald Trump offered to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if he said that Russia had nothing to do with WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic Party emails in 2016, a London court heard on Wednesday.
Assange appeared by videolink from prison as lawyers discussed the management of his hearing next week to decide whether he should be extradited to the United States.
At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald, referred to a witness statement by former US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher who had visited Assange in 2017, saying that he had been sent by the president to offer a pardon.
The pardon would come on the condition that Assange complied with the United States by saying that the Russians were not involved in the email leak that damaged Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, Rohrabacher’s statement said.
A White House spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, denied the assertion.
“The president barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie,” she said.
Assange, 48, who spent seven years holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy before he was dragged out last April, is wanted in the United States to face 18 counts including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades behind bars if convicted there.
Almost a decade after his WikiLeaks website enraged Washington by leaking secret US documents, Woolwich Crown Court in London will begin hearings on Monday – with Assange present – to decide whether he should be sent to the United States.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Assange spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. He appeared relaxed and spent much of the hearing reading notes in his lap. He wore two pairs of glasses: one on top of his head and another which he took on and off and twiddled in his hands.
The Australian-born Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified US military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
WikiLeaks later angered the United States by publishing caches of leaked military documents and diplomatic cables.
The full extradition hearing will be split in two parts, with the second half delayed until May.

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Report: ‘Amazon’s Choice’ Label Offered in Exchange for Higher Ad Spending, Lower Prices


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For years, Amazon has offered a label on certain products denoting that they were “Amazon’s Choice.” For years, it’s been unclear exactly which products are chosen for this heady designation or what sales targets, user ratings, or other qualifications they must achieve to be so labeled. Amazon describes Amazon’s Choice products as “highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately,” but it’s been known to appear on products that aren’t even shipping yet, and therefore definitionally cannot have been rated by anyone affiliated with or buying from Amazon. It’s also appeared on poorly rated junk items.

Now, a new report from Digiday suggests Amazon used to have a remarkably straightforward process for deciding which products will be labeled “Amazon’s Choice.” Companies were invited to bid on the badge by lowering their prices and spending more money on advertising with Amazon. A pitch deck reviewed by that publication lays out the criteria: To qualify to bid, Amazon first-party vendors — resellers could not apply — had to maintain brand ratings above four stars, keep products in stock for 12 months, and maintain various technical subcategory ratings. Digiday writes:

In an email to a brand client, an Amazon strategic vendor service manager recommended the brand drop its selling price by $30 in order to win the bid, a move that would increase Amazon’s profits on the sale. For vendors, access to a strategic vendor service manager, considered to provide inside access to Amazon, costs hundreds of thousands of dollars per year…

As Amazon has done in the past to lure attractive brands on its platform, it offered other incentives to potential bidders. In the deck, it pitched additional marketing value including free A+ analytics and discounted premium A+ analytics, Amazon Vine credits (which give brands access to free product reviews from customers), email promotions and higher inventory purchases for 12 weeks.

In exchange, Amazon wanted the brands to commit to putting resources into their product listings in order to win the badge. The deck said that customer return rate and damage rate percentages, past sell-through, expert reviews, margin growth, additional marketing investments across Amazon’s ad products, content creation and strong promotions would be considered for each bid. In terms of marketing investments, Amazon asked bidders to list investments that they planned to make to support the product, as well as marketing that already was running.

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Image by Buzzfeed

According to Amazon, this program ran briefly in 2017 and has since been rolled back, but problems with the Amazon’s Choice program persist. I’ve had poor results when using it — the HDMI cables I purchased recently that were “Amazon’s Choice” have problems with green snow appearing in 3D games, despite the fact that these cables are supposedly HDMI 2.0b-certified. I bought two and both are defective. Some of the iPhone cables I’ve purchased that were certified under the same program have been garbage and failed within a matter of months; others have worked perfectly for years. I will be the first person to say that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data,” but my experience agrees with a Buzzfeed investigation this past June. Amazon’s Choice labels have appeared on products the manufacturer labeled as inaccurate, like a baby thermometer. Buzzfeed’s investigation found “Amazon’s Choice” lockpicks that can be picked in a matter of seconds. The “Amazon’s Choice” AmazonBasics Security Safe can be picked in three seconds. A flask purchased on the website turned whiskey black and other customers complained of a horrid, metallic taste.

The issue has recently escalated to the US Senate. US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has sent a letter to Jeff Bezos demanding additional information on how products are chosen to be labeled as “Amazon’s Choice.” The letter notes that consumers commonly identify the label as indicating that Amazon has selected a product, specifically, as a recommended choice. The badge is also worth a good deal of money; a study by OC&C Strategy Consultants found that products labeled “Amazon’s Choice” experienced a threefold sales increase, while products de-listed as “Amazon’s Choice” suffered a 30 percent sales drop.

The letter requests a detailed explanation of how the decision is made to apply the label, as well as information on whether an algorithm is involved and, if so, whether or not the algorithm’s decisions are reviewed by a human. The letter also requests information on what Amazon considers “highly rated,” the steps it takes to remove fraudulent listings, whether companies are allowed to bid to receive the Amazon’s Choice label, and how it deals with the practice of review recycling (the practice of applying old reviews to new product revisions without disclosing it).

My own advice is to treat the “Amazon’s Choice” label with skepticism and to do your own homework before buying the product. I’ve had enough bad luck with it that I don’t trust it anymore.

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