Tech Digest daily roundup: Openreach to offer free broadband installation for poor


Openreach will install broadband for free to UK households on universal credit which have no other earnings. The company would usually charge ISPs, such as Sky or TalkTalk, for connecting households to broadband. The firm estimates about one million people could save up to £92, depending on how internet firms pass on the saving. But some analysts have questioned how big an impact the move will have. The Good Things Foundation, which works to make sure everyone benefits from digital tech, told the BBC it welcomed Openreach’s fee waiver. “Access to data is a lifeline. Public services like universal credit are already online, and the pandemic has meant more of us are managing our health online through contacting GPs via video call, or making use of the NHS apps,” a spokesman said. BBC 

There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them…Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods. One of the new stores will be in Washington, D.C.; the other in Sherman Oaks, California. AP News 

A project to develop four-legged robots that could assist British farmers is among 97 innovations set to receive a share of £113 million to help turn their ideas into reality. The Government funding is aimed at supporting the UK’s future science leaders working on ways to tackle major global issues, such as new therapies to fight chronic illnesses and unlocking the secrets of naturally occurring batteries. Dr Dimitrios Kanoulas from University College London is one of the beneficiaries. He is building RoboHike robots to navigate through difficult terrain, for construction and agriculture, as well as at the scene of natural disasters. Evening Standard

Apple has announced a new “special event” at which it is expected to unveil a new iPhone and Apple Watch. It will hold the digital launch on 14 September at 10am local pacific time, or 6pm in the UK, it said. As with every event since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the launch will be held virtually. Apple said that it will be “broadcasting from Apple Park”, and titled the invitation “California streaming”. Other than that, the company gave no hints about what the event could play host to, or what features might be revealed. Its invitation included a picture of a Californian sunset with a glowing Apple logo floating in the middle. Independent

Bitcoin licked its wounds on Wednesday, a day after its heaviest losses in 2-1/2 months as El Salvador’s historic adoption of the crypto asset as legal tender caused chaos online and on the street. The coin last traded at $46,560, having endured wild trade the day before in which it hit a near four-month high of $52,956 before plunging 11.1%, its largest fall since June 2. Analysts said the sharp retreat was partly due to investors who had bought the rumour of El Salvador’s move now selling the fact…At one point on Tuesday, the digital currency fell as much as 18.6%, wiping out more than $180 billion from the market. Reuters

A minor design change to Apple’s upcoming iPhone has hit sales at a Welsh technology company that supplies the Silicon Valley giant. Aim-listed IQE said sales of a key component in smartphone facial recognition systems had fallen by 26pc in the first half of 2021. It comes as Apple prepares to announce a new iPhone later this month that is expected to feature a smaller 3D sensor chip used in the Face ID technology that unlocks phones and authenticates payments. While the smaller chip will allow Apple to reduce the size of the unsightly “notch” that features at the top of the iPhone’s screen, each chip requires a smaller amount of the “VCSEL” wafers that IQE supplies. Telegraph 


Chris Price
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