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The year we filled in the telecommunications gaps

In the first part of this week’s technology segment on RNZ’s Nine to Noon show I talk with Kathryn Ryan about some of the big trends in tech this year, starting with plugging gaps in broadband coverage, the work done by the Rural Connectivity Group and extending the 5G network.

The most recent update from MBIE was in September. At the time the UFB network reached 85 percent of the population.

By March 2022 will reach 87 percent of NZ.

As we get towards the end of the build the rate of filling in those gaps drops. We’ll see why later.

The Rural Connectivity Group built close to 300 mobile towers. A lot of the work was done while the country was in lockdown.

The last announcement was in September when it reached 272 towers.

Regulators dealing with big tech

It’s also been a year regulators have started talking about – but not exactly moving on –  how to rein in big tech and strengthen privacy provisions.

It’s mainly, but not exclusively about Facebook.

Big tech companies are making moves to head off regulatory action… after all what do you think Facebook changing its name to Meta was really about?

But will it matter, if a prediction about how countries like China and Russia are keen to crack encryption through quantum computing is realised?

Russia and China are busy collecting all the encrypted data they can get their hands on.

They think there will be soon be breakthroughs in quantum computing that will let them read all that top secret material.

“Tech consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton has warned that China will soon plan the theft of high value data, so it can decrypt it once quantum computers break classical encryption.

How not to use Zoom

And then there is the business that used Zoom to fire 900 employees. Is that the best way of using the technology?

The worst thing about this story is the tech bro doing the sacking made himself the victim of the story during the call.

“If you’re on this call you’re part of the unlucky group being laid off,” said Vishal Garg, chief executive of mortgage firm Better.com, on the call, later uploaded to social media.