5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Jimmy Fallon and Sophia the robot/ The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon via YouTube

The NBN’s still dominating headlines today:

1. The NBN is bringing a Christmas gift for all of us. Its CEO Bill Morrow promised in a senate estimates hearing last night that an announcement would come before year end about a brand new product that might have reasonably high speeds and enough capacity bundled in for retailers – meaning consumers could just surf without worrying about evening peak hour congestion. Meanwhile, the NBN’s strategy officer was on the other side of the world in Berlin to reveal a new technology that would be launched next year which would speed up copper to almost fibre-like speeds – but not for fibre-to-to-the-node folks, who are suffering more than most.

2. This is why we can’t have nice things. Morrow explained to senate estimates the reasons why the NBN can’t just provide one “all-you-can-eat” plan that gives all the capacity and speed available. And it’s related to the fact that the NBN has to charge $15 per month for every customer to pay Telstra and $7 to pay for all the Australians that live in very remote (and expensive-to-reach) areas.

3. Melbourne fintech Verrency just raised $5 million. But it’s just opened a new round of capital raising, aiming to get $19 million more. The payments tech company provides white-labelled tech for credit and debit card issuers that allow customers to self-serve when they want to lock or block cards, among other things. The new money will be used to fund its expansion plans into UK, US and Asia. Read more here.

4. Freelancer and its founder Matt Barrie are being sued. Former operations and talent manager Matthew O’Kane has taken them to the Federal Court, reports the AFR, over his sacking. O’Kane admitted in court that he brought in a Four Corners camera crew into Freelancer’s offices in 2016 without checking with the startup’s management or communications team. The court heard that Barrie was “very annoyed” with O’Kane testifying that the entrepreneur worried that the subsequent story would harm his future “political ambitions”.

5. The world’s first artificial intelligence marketplace has landed in Australia. SingularityNET is like an app store where AI developers can share and learn from each other’s projects, and sell, trade and buy assets. The organisation is touring Australia to drum up partnerships with research institutions and seek funding, with the world’s most advanced robot Sophia as its headline attraction. Read more.

BONUS ITEM: Cochlear implant recipients can now make telephone calls as smoothly as anyone. The SMH reports Cochlear’s latest sound processor is compatible with Apple iPhones, meaning phone calls and music can be directly transmitted from the smartphone to the hearing implant.

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