Western Australia releases open data policy

AustraliaWestern Australia has released a draft of its open data policy, urging agencies to be “open by default”. The government should prioritise releasing datasets that are already available in public, in demand or are have high-value for citizens, says the policy which will be implemented by geospatial agency Landgate. The government doesn’t want agencies to be discouraged by a need to release perfect datasets.


PJCIS pushes for mandatory data breach notification, from AU

AustraliaThe parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the Government’s data retention bill has put its support behind the long-mooted introduction of a mandatory data breach notification scheme. The committee made the recommendation today in its report on the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014. Australia’s Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has long pushed for the introduction of laws that would force companies to notify customers as well as his office if personal information had been compromised in a data breach.


iiNet, DBC face three-week wait for piracy ruling

AustraliaiiNet and Dallas Buyers Club face a three-week wait to find out whether the rights holder can obtain the names and residential addresses of almost 5000 people it claims downloaded its movie without paying last year. In the final hearing of a preliminary discovery trial between the rights holder to the Dallas Buyers Club film and the internet service provider, Justice Nye Perram today withheld his judgment for three weeks on whether iiNet should hand over the customer details.


Defence satellite upgrade added to trouble list

AustraliaDefence’s satellite communications overhaul has been formally added to its project blacklist, with the expected completion now an anticipated five years behind schedule. The Defence Materiel Organisation yesterday revealed phase 3F of the satellite upgrade, known as joint project 2008, had been added to its ‘project of concern’ list as a result of “significant technical, schedule and cost risks”.


Smartphone culture hampers Australian student results: Dell

AustraliaAustralian school teachers feel powerless in the face of a smartphone culture which is negatively impacting student results. That’s according to a Dell study, which has found that up to 70 percent of Aussie students are browsing social media sites in class, rather than focusing on the lesson, hampering their grades in the process. The study also showed that just more than half (53 percent) of teachers know it is happening, but feel they are powerless to control it, suggesting that new automated measures need to be introduced.


NEC Australia signals strong growth for 2015

AustraliaIT services and technology provider, NEC Australia, is on a growth path after transforming its business last year and securing a string of major contract wins. NEC Australia said it expects to continue along the path of its strong growth trend with plans to invest in the local market. Last year, it signaled a $25 million investment into establishing a new office within the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus, creating about 110 jobs in the area.


First Microsoft smartphones launching in Australia from $129

AustraliaMicrosoft’s first smartphones to do without the Nokia brand name are launching in Australia. The Microsoft Lumia 435 and the Lumia 532 will be available from early March at prices that make Motorola’s budget Moto E appear expensive. Pricing has been set at $129 for the Lumia 435 and at $149 for the Lumia 532. The inexpensive price tags will help Microsoft sell the smartphones in high numbers; a strategic move aimed at increasing the company’s Windows Phone audience.


NextDC takes customers on ExpressRoute to Microsoft Azure

AustraliaDatacentre-as-a-Service provider, NextDC (ASX:NXT), has inked an agreement with Microsoft for direct connectivity to Azure via ExpressRoute from its Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth data centres. ExpressRoute will connect NextDC customers directly to Azure through a private, high speed, low latency fibre connection rather than a general internet-based connection.


Vodafone partners Stan with new share “everything” plans

AustraliaVodafone has partnered Fairfax-Nine joint venture, Stan, to deliver customers on-demand video content in a deal similar the telco’s recent Spotify offering for red plan customers. The deal cements it push into content and follows the recent agreement with the Sydney Morning Herald to offer subscriptions red plan customers. The partnership also coincides with the announcement to offer shared data plans, aimed at softening the blow for many customers increasingly streaming data-heavy video content.


Telstra to build 22 new WA mobile towers

AustraliaTelstra will build 22 new mobile phone towers across regional Western Australia after the state government announced it would invest $45 million into boosting mobile coverage. The funding will cover the construction of 85 mobile phone towers overall, starting next month, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018.


NSW Police buys 500 Samsung Galaxy smartphones, from AU

AustraliaNSW Police has rolled out 500 Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphones to frontline officers after testing a variety of different devices over the past two years. The phones have been given to both operational police within local area commands as well as specialist units such as the dog and mounted units and domestic and family violence team.


ISPs agree to graduated warnings for pirates

AustraliaAustralian internet service providers have agreed to implement a graduated warning scheme for users engaged in online copyright infringement, as part of a draft industry code issued today. The Communications Alliance, the ISP representative body, today unveiled the draft code in order to meet the Government’s April deadline for an agreed industry plan for self-regulation.


Telstra CEO David Thodey to retire

AustraliaDavid Thodey will relinquish the top job at Telstra in May after six years in the role, revealing plans to retire today. He will be replaced by Telstra’s current chief financial officer, Andrew Penn. Penn will be based in Melbourne. Thodey will briefly stay on at Telstra following his retirement on May 1 to assist Penn’s transition to the CEO role. He will completely exit the telco in “late August”, according to a financial filing.


Telstra’s incoming CEO Andy Penn to help in Asia push

AustraliaSeen by many as the next in line for the throne at Telstra, Andy Penn now takes on the top job with expectations that his wealth of experience, importantly in Asia, will help Australia’s largest telecommunications provider take on the challenges of the world’s most populous region. Mr Penn will take over as chief executive of Telstra on May 1, and will be helped by David Thodey until he leaves the company in August. Mr Thodey has helped Telstra cement its market leading position and lift shares from all-time lows to 14-year highs.


Australia and Japan talk mobile roaming at first ICT summit

JapanAustralia and Japan pledged to reduce international mobile roaming rates at the countries’ first ICT Policy Dialogue. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull met on Friday with a Japanese delegation led by Yasuo Sakamoto, vice-minister for policy coordination (international affairs) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan. The dialogue was a one-day meeting held at the Sydney office of the Department of Communications.


Perth pushes for more procurement powers

AustraliaThe City of Perth is lobbying for more powers to be delegated from the state of Western Australia, including procurement powers which will affect how it contracts for digital service delivery. In a recent report calling for a City of Perth Act – which would grant legal status to an expanded city area – the City Council presses for increased procurement flexibility.


TPG puts FTTB plan back on sale

AustraliaTPG has put an NBN rival fibre-to-the-basement plan back on sale after being forced to stop taking new orders following the introduction of new carrier license conditions. The federal government introduced new conditions for providers like TPG last year, requiring them to open their FTTB networks to others for wholesale use by January 1, and structurally separate their retail and wholesale businesses by July 1.


iiNet edges closer to overtaking Optus

AustraliaInternet service provider iiNet is closing the gap between itself and Australia’s second largest broadband provider Optus after posting significant growth in both revenue and fixed-line subscribers in its first half. iiNet today reported a one percent rise in net profit for its first half of fiscal 2015 to $32 million, and a jump of 25,000 broadband customers. The increase in fixed-line users has pushed iiNet to a customer base of 975,000 – just 13,000 behind Optus’ 988,000 broadband customers.


Vodafone loses 46k customers, from AU

AustraliaVodafone continued to lose customers in 2014, dropping 46,000 subscribers for the full year despite user growth in the second half. Hutchison Telecommunications Australia today posted its results for its 2014 fiscal year, revealing a $308 million loss in its 50 percent share of the telco. It attributed the loss to a 9 percent fall in Vodafone customer service revenue, which stemmed from subscriber losses in recent years as well as accelerated depreciation in network assets.


iiNet attacks software used in Dallas Buyers Club piracy hunt

AustraliaiiNet lawyers today sought to discredit the method by which Dallas Buyers Club LLC collected internet protocol (IP) addresses of those it claimed had downloaded and shared versions of its film of the same name. The internet service provider (ISP) is one of a handful resisting rights holder attempts to obtain customer details attached to IP addresses Dallas Buyers Club claimed were involved in copyright infringement.