Stories by Dominion Post staff

Telecom wins $150m Vodafone backhaul deal

Telecom is understood to have signed a $150 million deal to provide internet backhaul connections for Vodafone.
Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds announced the contract when reporting the company's third-quarter results this month, but did not identify the customer, beyond saying it was "one of the major carriers".
Vodafone uses a mix of fibre-optic cable and wireless technologies such as microwave radio to connect its cellsites. After Telecom, TelstraClear owns the country's second-most extensive fibre network.
Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen says the company happily buys capacity off anyone and everyone. "We have existing deals with Telecom, FX Networks, TelstraClear and Vector."
Mr Reynolds said the nationwide contract was one of the biggest that Telecom had signed in recent years.
"It is a major success for Telecom Wholesale."

Non-English domain names set for approval

The internet is set to undergo one of the biggest changes in its four-decade history with the expected approval this week of international domain names — or addresses — that can be written in languages other than English.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN — the non-profit group that oversees domain names — is holding a meeting this week in Seoul. Domain names are the monikers behind every website, email address and Twitter post, such as ".com" and other suffixes.
One of the key issues to be taken up by ICANN's board at this week's gathering is whether to allow for the first time entire internet addresses to be in scripts that are not based on Latin letters.
That could potentially open up the web to more people around the world as addresses could be in characters as diverse as Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Hindi and Cyrillic — in which Russian is written.
"This is the biggest change technically to the internet since it was invented 40 years ago," Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the ICANN board, told reporters, calling it a "fantastically complicated technical feature." He said he expects the board to grant approval on Friday, the conference's final day.
The internet's roots are traced to experiments at a US university in 1969 but it wasn't until the early 1990s that its use began expanding beyond academia and research institutions to the public.
Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's new president and CEO, said that if the change is approved, ICANN would begin accepting applications for non-English domain names and that the first entries into the system would likely come sometime in mid 2010.
Enabling the change, Thrush said, is the creation of a translation system that allows multiple scripts to be converted to the right address.
"We're confident that it works because we've been testing it now for a couple of years," he said. "And so we're really ready to start rolling it out."
Of the 1.6 billion internet users worldwide, Beckstrom — a former chief of US cybersecurity — said that more than half use languages that have scripts based on alphabets other than Latin.
"So this change is very much necessary for not only half the world's internet users today, but more than half of probably the future users as the use of the internet continues to spread," he said.
Beckstrom, in earlier remarks to conference participants, recalled that many people had said just three to five years ago that using non-Latin scripts for domain names would be impossible to achieve.
"But you the community and the policy groups and staff and board have worked through them, which is absolutely incredible," he said.

Use of mobile phone as SatNav driving aid to be banned

The Transport Ministry has clarified the terms of a new law that restricts the use of cellphones in cars, saying that from November it will be illegal to use a mobile phone as a satellite navigation aid while driving.
2degrees chief executive Eric Hertz admitted rear-ending another vehicle at an intersection in Auckland a few weeks ago while glancing at directions on his iPhone, which was mounted on a hands-free kit in his car.
Under the new law, that would be illegal, Transport Ministry spokesman John Summers confirmed. "The Road User Amendment Rule 2009 means drivers will not be able to look at a navigation aid on a mobile phone when driving, even if it is mounted on the dashboard.
"You can use a mobile phone held in a cradle while driving, but only to make, receive or terminate a phone call. You cannot use them in any other way, such as reading a GPS map, reading email or consulting an electronic diary."
The restriction does not apply to navigation systems that do not have a mobile phone function, he says. Mr Hertz expressed surprise at a media report that claimed the other vehicle involved in the accident had been a write-off and that its driver had suffered back injuries requiring weeks off work.
He was not aware of any injuries and the crash was not reported to police.
"We had a chat and exchanged licence plate numbers and insurance details. We both drove off. It was, from my perspective, a relatively minor fender-bender."