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BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Consultation next month following plan to shift Brits over to VoIP


BT is forging ahead with plans to shut its traditional telephone network in Britain, with the intention of shifting all customers over to IP telephony services by 2025.

The closure of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) is part of plans by BT toward internet-based voice calls via a fibre network. As such it will be looking to close a chunk of exchanges.

Yesterday, Openreach wrote to its communications providers about the move. The broadband division will open consultation next month on the withdrawal of its Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) products, which are reliant on the PSTN.

In an email, seen by The Register, it said:

"This is a truly significant change for the industry and represents a move from an analogue to a digital, fibre led future. These changes will affect how you do business with Openreach."

BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

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The consultation will seek feedback on the process and timeline for the withdrawal of WLR and related products.

Cathy Gerosa, head of Regulatory Affairs at representative body for providers, the Federation of Communication Services, noted many of its members have a large WLR presence. She said many do business directly with Openreach for managing that. "This gives them a direct route in for ordering products and for chasing when things go wrong.

"With the move to fibre-only, the B2B [comms providers] are likely to be pushed one place down the chain... and will have less direct control over the services that they offer."

An Openreach spokesman said: "In May, we’ll consult with industry around the process of withdrawing WLR and related products.

"This follows plans by BT to upgrade its customers from analogue (PSTN) to digital (all IP) telephone services by 2025.

"We’ll be working with our Communication Provider customers over the coming months as we consider the move to IP voice services - where broadband rather than voice becomes the primary service."

Other communications companies in Germany, Japan, Sweden, are already in the process of moving voice to run over IP. Orange has set a goal of having all IP (digital) networks by 2020, and Deutsche Telekom aims to migrate all its lines in Europe to digital by the end of 2018.

Openreach also plans to pass three million homes and businesses with fibre-to-the-premise by 2020. ®

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Microsoft wins court approval to take over sites run by Chinese crime gang

'Nickel' back in trouble for trying to lift secrets, often by exploiting Microsoft snafus

Microsoft has revealed its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) won court approval to take control of websites a Chinese gang was using to attack targets across the world – often by exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft products.

A post attributed to Microsoft's corporate veep for customer security & trust, Tom Burt, states the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has granted Microsoft to take control of malicious websites operated by a group called Nickel that has been around since at least 2016.

Burt's post indicates that Microsoft spotted Nickel trying to pinch information from "government agencies, think tanks and human rights organizations". Taking control of the websites Nickel owned will make it harder for the gang to conduct such attacks, Burt opined.

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LINE Pay leaks around 133,000 users' data to GitHub, of all places

Someone just accidentally put it there, says the messaging service company

Smartphone payment provider LINE Pay announced yesterday that around 133,000 users' payment details were mistakenly published on GitHub between September and November of this year.

Files detailing participants in a LINE Pay promotional program staged between late December 2020 and April 2021 were accidentally uploaded to the collaborative coding crèche by a research group employee.

Among the leaked details were the date, time, and amount of transactions, plus user and franchise store identification numbers. Although names, addresses, telephone, credit card and bank account numbers were not shared, the names of the users and other details could be traced with a little effort.

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Indian government committee slams 'gross misuse' of internet shutdowns – even in Kashmir

Officials use them for mundane matters, not big emergencies as laws intend

India's Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology has slammed state governments' use of internet shutdowns.

A mew report [PDF] on "Suspension of telecom services/Internet and its impact" finds that while shutdowns are legal, they are being used indiscriminately.

The report notes that Indian law allows internet shutdowns on grounds of "Public Emergency and Public Safety," but the document also points out that "no parameters have been laid down to decide the merit or justice of the telecom/internet shutdowns".

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It's primed and full of fuel, the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to be packed up prior to launch

Fingers crossed the telescope will finally take to space on 22 December

Engineers have finished pumping the James Webb Space Telescope with fuel, and are now preparing to carefully place the folded instrument inside the top of a rocket, expected to blast off later this month.

“Propellant tanks were filled separately with 79.5 [liters] of dinitrogen tetroxide oxidiser and 159 [liters of] hydrazine,” the European Space Agency confirmed on Monday. “Oxidiser improves the burn efficiency of the hydrazine fuel.” The fuelling process took ten days and finished on 3 December.

All eyes are on the JWST as it enters the last leg of its journey to space; astronomers have been waiting for this moment since development for the world’s largest space telescope began in 1996.

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China to upgrade mainstream RISC-V chips every six months

Home-baked silicon is the way forward

China is gut punching Moore's Law and the roughly one-year cadence for major chip releases adopted by the Intel, AMD, Nvidia and others.

The government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is developing open-source RISC-V performance processor, says it will release major design upgrades every six months. CAS is hoping that the accelerated release of chip designs will build up momentum and support for its open-source project.

RISC-V is based on an open-source instruction architecture, and is royalty free, meaning companies can adopt designs without paying licensing fees.

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The SEC is investigating whistleblower claims that Tesla was reckless as its solar panels go up in smoke

Tens of thousands of homeowners and hundreds of businesses were at risk, lawsuit claims

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into whether Tesla failed to tell investors and customers about the fire risks of its faulty solar panels.

Whistleblower and ex-employee, Steven Henkes, accused the company of flouting safety issues in a complaint with the SEC in 2019. He filed a freedom of information request to regulators and asked to see records relating to the case in September, earlier this year. An SEC official declined to hand over documents, and confirmed its probe into the company is still in progress.

“We have confirmed with Division of Enforcement staff that the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing," a letter from the SEC said in a reply to Henkes’ request, according to Reuters. Active SEC complaints and investigations are typically confidential. “The SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation,” a spokesperson from the regulatory agency told The Register.

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Fail: Exam paper marked by Elon Musk up for auction

Sweary test on sale as Tesla CEO forgets where he parked his car

Elon Musk fans must be all a quiver this week as they finally have the chance to buy a collectible to slide under the bust of their idol's head: papers signed by the man himself.

We're not sure what to use as the collective noun for Musk obsessives. Maybe a "delusion"?

In the case of the auction, the items up for grabs are papers said to be marked up and graded by Musk when he was a teaching assistant at the University of Pennsylvania. The future Tesla CEO wielded the red pen, initialling the paper and scoring the answers.

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Spar shops across northern UK shut after cyber attack hits payment processing abilities

Franchisees' closures also affect petrol stations

The British arm of Dutch supermarket chain Spar has shut hundreds of shops after suffering an "online attack," the company has confirmed to The Register.

"This has not affected all SPAR stores across the North of England," a Spar spokesman told us, "but a number have been impacted over the past 24 hours and we are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

LancsLive, a local news website for Lancashire, reported that a "total and widespread IT outage" hit the chain at the weekend, along with "security breach" problems today.

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AWS DocumentDB not MongoDB-compatible, says MongoDB Inc

MongoDB CTO Mark Porter: 'It is 34 per cent compatible, through our tests'

Interview Amazon's DocumentDB database service is described by the cloud corp as "MongoDB compatible", but MongoDB CTO Mark Porter has told The Register this is not entirely the case.

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Miscreants make off with $150m of digital assets in BitMart security breach

Or it might be nearer $200m. Even the amounts stolen seem to be volatile in the crypto world

Cryptocurrency exchange BitMart has coughed to a large-scale security breach relating to ETH and BSC hot wallets. The company reckons that hackers made off with approximately $150m in assets.

Security and analytics outfit PeckShield put the figure at closer to $200m.

"We have identified a large-scale security breach related to one of our ETH hot wallets and one of our BSC hot wallets today. At this moment we are still concluding the possible methods used. Hackers were able to withdraw assets of the value of approximately 150 million USD," BitMart said.

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MySQL a 'pretty poor database' says departing Oracle engineer

PostgreSQL a better option for open source RDBMS, he claims

You've collected your leaving card, novelty presents, and perhaps a bottle of wine – what's next on the list for the departing developer? For one, it's a blog rubbishing the technology he's been working on for five years.

That was the choice of Steinar Gunderson, a former principal software engineer at Oracle and member of the MySQL optimiser team.

In an online missive, the engineer, who has now taken up a role in Google's Chrome team, left no reader in doubt of his views on MySQL.

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