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Netflix and the battle for net-neutrality

Posted on by Will Goodbody

Netflix is one of many companies opposed to an ending of net-neutrality

Netflix is one of many companies opposed to an ending of net-neutrality

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

The latest monthly index from movie and TV streaming, Netflix, which ranks which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) it claims provide the best prime time Netflix streaming experience in Ireland, makes interesting reading. UPC came out top this time, rising three places since the last survey in April, with an average streaming speed of 3.01Mbps.

Netflix says it carries out the survey to provide “transparency and help consumers understand the Internet access they’re actually getting from their ISPs”. In reality, however, the naming and shaming (or carrot and stick depending on how you look at it) exercise is all part of Netflix’s strategy to get ISPs to up their game and provide more capacity on their networks, so that it can push its service out to more and more new customers, without any degradation of the picture and sound quality for existing users.

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What does Wilbur Ross’ BoI sell-off mean for the taxpayer?

Posted on by David Murphy

 

boi

US billionaire Wilbur Ross to sell off all his 1.8 million Bank of Ireland shares

Many investors will be unnerved by the unexpected decision of Wilbur Ross, the billionaire US, to sell his entire stake in Bank of Ireland.

His move to buy the stake three years ago rescued the company from full State ownership and was the first time a big outside player had put money into Ireland’s ailing banks.

Since then international money has flooded into the country to buy distressed property assets.

It was not only prompted by the decision by Mr Ross and his co-investors. But it is worth remembering he was a buyer when every other international player was a seller.

Earlier this year the shares peaked at 39 cent. Mr Ross and some of his co-investors reduced their stake in March selling at 33 cent. In the following weeks the shares lost some of their value.

So many may anticipate his decision to sell his remaining stock may cause a further decline in the weeks and months ahead.

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The pros and cons of “the right to be forgotten”

Posted on by Will Goodbody

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

google

There are two sides to the ‘right to be forgotten’ debate

Admit it. At some point you’ve Googled your own name, just to see what pops up. It’s an interesting exercise. Google my name, for example, and among the results returned is a not very complimentary forum post by someone, claiming every time I come on the TV I frighten their dog!

I don’t know the dog, or the owner. But what if I did? And I knew that the dog was never in fact scared by my mug appearing on the box? Or that the dog was at one point scared, but has since got used to my virtual presence in its living room? And I was unhappy that this image of me being unfriendly to pets was unfair, inaccurate and out of date.

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Nobody doing anything to prevent another insurance collapse

Posted on by David Murphy

Tens of thousands of van drivers face having to pay for a second insurance policy after Setanta's collapse

Tens of thousands of van drivers face having to pay for a second insurance policy after Setanta’s collapse

By Business Editor David Murphy

The 75,000 unfortunate policyholders who bought insurance with Setanta have been treated terribly.

What is worse is the fact that nothing is being done to prevent a repeat of the calamity. Continue reading

Tackling misleading broadband speeds

Posted on by Will Goodbody

Recent tests found Irish broadband speeds are not as advertised

Recent tests found Irish broadband speeds are not as advertised

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

It’s a bugbear of broadband users everywhere. The Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) ad, marketing material or contract promises that when using their broadband product the consumer will enjoy download speeds of “up to 60Mbps”, for example. That’s what the user pays for and naturally, that’s what they expect. But in reality very often that is not what they are getting. In fact, depending on the time of day and the type of connection, the actual speed may be a fraction of that which is advertised or promised. That’s due to a variety of factors, principally fluctuating congestion on the network, and other technical factors.

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What is O’Brien’s motivation to put Cowen on the Topaz board?

Posted on by David Murphy

Brian Cowen's reputation was damaged by the country's economic collapse - but he could bring value to Topaz's board

Brian Cowen’s reputation was damaged by the country’s economic collapse

By Business Editor David Murphy

So why would Denis O’Brien want Brian Cowen to join the board at Topaz?

Part of the answer came on the same day as the announcement that the former Taoiseach was appointed as a non-executive director of the petrol retailer. Continue reading

Putting coding on the curriculum

Posted on by Will Goodbody

 

From September, coding will become a mandatory part of the curriculum in British schools

From September, coding will become a mandatory part of the curriculum in British schools

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

This week saw the inaugural Tech Week Ireland taking place. Run by the Irish Computer Society (ICS) with support from ICS Skills and Science Foundation Ireland: Discover, its aim is to engage, challenge and inspire Primary and Secondary students to interact with technology in a new way, and encourage them to consider a career in IT. Over the week, 42,000 people – mostly children – have been taking part in events in schools, libraries, Scouting Troops and many other locations. Getting an introduction to new technology, seeing what it can do, and hopefully getting some ideas about what they would like to do with it in the future.

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Tell us your feelings

Posted on by Sean Whelan

The survey shows that businesses are increasingly optimistic about the Irish economy

The survey shows that businesses are increasingly optimistic about the Irish economy

By Sean Whelan, Economics Correspondent

An interesting new economic indicator has been released by KBC Bank and Chartered Accountants Ireland.

It’s a Business Sentiment Index, of the sort that several other countries have, but – until now – Ireland has lacked.
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Neary not the only one with questions to answer on crisis

Posted on by David Murphy

anglo2

The Anglo Irish Bank trial highlights the importance of a full banking inquiry

Patrick Neary, the former CEO of the Financial Regulator, has been rightly excoriated in the Anglo trial.

The case shed light on one specific transaction and revealed an astonishing and indefensible failure of regulation.

However, that one deal did not bring down Ireland’s banks. They collapsed due to over-lending in a property market which had gone wild.

No banker has been or will be put in the dock for lending money in the boom which they would never recover.

However, there are other key figures whose involvement in the banking crisis should be subject to the same level of scrutiny as Patrick Neary.

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Income tax relief?

Posted on by Sean Whelan

The Minister of Finance is trying to find a way to increase tax bands - but he will have to make the lost revenue up elsewhere

The Minister of Finance is trying to find a way to increase tax bands – but he will have to make the lost revenue up elsewhere

By Sean Whelan, Economics Correspondent

“ My officials constantly model and examine potential options for changes to the tax system for my consideration as part of the overall Budget package”, said Michael Noonan in a written reply to Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty in February.

I have been told that one of those potential options – modeled and examined – is to raise money through an increase in the Universal Social Charge to “compensate” for a change to the income tax bands to provide relief for those taxpayers who enter the top 41% income tax band with earnings that are below the average industrial wage.

So how much would have to be raised under such a scheme?
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