5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Airbnb’s new office in Sydney. Photo – James Horan

Welcome to a new week, this is what you need to know in tech.

1. Telstra has pulled out of its venture in the Philippines. Australia’s largest telco has ceased its negotiations with beer giant San Miguel in the Philippines. A $US1 billion deal had been on the table since August last year, with the two looking to create a third player in the Philippines mobile market. Investors were worried about the risky move by Telstra, so the announcement that it has all fallen through could be positive for its share price.

2. Airbnb and Stayz are being probed by the NSW parliament today. The second hearing of a NSW inquiry into how Airbnb and other online rental platforms are regulated is happening on Monday at Parliament House in Sydney. The inquiry is is led by the Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Environment and Planning, which aims to have a report with recommendations for new laws around online rental platforms by the middle of the year.

3. The PM is facing a few questions over investments in a failed startup, PlayUp. The AFR did some digging around and found a few questions they believe Malcolm Turnbull needs to answer. First is why he decided to invest in a company that couldn’t afford to pay its staff? While secondly – why does it appear he received preferential treatment over other investors to become a secured creditor ahead of others? And lastly – did he know that PlayUp was looking to pursue an online wagering licence in China?

4. Tasmania’s slow internet connection is finally getting some relief. Since the Basslink power/data cable was damaged in December last year, customers of TPG, iiNet and other internet providers on the Apple Isle have been struggling for decent internet connectivity. However at the weekend, a deal was finally struck by TPG, and including the other ISPs it owns, to use Telstra’s wholesale cable until the other one is repaired. Before this, conditions were so bad last week that customers were experiencing speeds as slow as dial up.

5. Is Netflix hurting Australian free to air networks? Fairfax took a look at the damage Netflix and other streaming services are doing to traditional TV networks, with one piece of research showing that one in five people under 35 don’t watch any commercial TV anymore. However, what’s interesting is that it might not be Netflix where young people are flocking to, with separate Share of Eye research showing that while they are definitely leaving traditional TV, only 22% of online video viewers are watching paid services, while 78% are actually watching “free and advertiser-funded content”, such as YouTube.

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