The fax machine is about to be pushed closer to the dustbin of history. The device – formally known as a facsimile machine – was once a regular feature of British offices. But now the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom is consulting on changes to telecoms rules that could formalise its obsolescence. It would mean telecoms providers would no longer be required to provide fax services under the universal service obligation (USO). Currently there are two designated telecoms providers responsible for universal service in the UK – BT and KCOM (in the Hull area only). BBC
Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has announced the platform’s coveted ‘blue tick’ will now cost users $8 (£7) a month, and criticised the current system as “bulls“. In a tweet himself, Musk said: “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bulls. “Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.” Musk said the cost would be “adjusted by country, proportionate to purchasing power parity”. For the new monthly fee, Musk also said, users will get “priority in replies, mentions and searches” as well as the ability to post long videos and audio clips. Sky News
Staff at struggling electric car battery start-up Britishvolt have agreed to a pay cut as the company races to secure its long-term future. Up to 300 members of staff at the company championed by Boris Johnson will enter into a salary-sacrifice scheme for this month, it announced on Wednesday. Britishvolt also confirmed it has short-term funding that will allow it to survive “for the coming weeks”. The rescue wards off the threat of imminent collapse. Britishvolt was on the brink of appointing administrators earlier this week. Telegraph
Game Pass may be making a profit but the Xbox hardware isn’t, as boss Phil Spencer reveals Microsoft loses a minimum of £87 with every sale. One of the reasons many are upset at Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is the suggestion that the company is just buying its way to success, accepting huge loses that no other publisher could afford, in an attempt to outspend the competition. Even a company as rich as Microsoft doesn’t have infinite funds though (or rather they have risk averse shareholders) and they’ve already warned that hardware, software, and subscriptions will see price hikes starting next year. Metro
Workers in the gig economy are grappling with another threat to their wages – the double-edged sword of online reviews, research has found. Academics have shown how tech companies are compounding the problem, leaving scores of workers in fear of their future income. The study, led by researchers from the University of Bristol and University of Oxford, analysed the reputation systems of some of the biggest gig economy platforms, such as Upwork and Fiverr, which use customer feedback to produce ratings. It found the algorithms – processes used to rank workers according to performance metrics – lack transparency and are highly volatile. Yahoo!
The number of people subscribed to PlayStation Plus has dropped by two million over the past year, despite Sony’s big summer revamp of the service and the launch of several new pricing tiers. PlayStation Plus had 45.4 million subscribers as of 30th September this year, down more than two million from the 47.2 million signed up at the same point in 2021. Sony relaunched its PlayStation Plus subscription in June, when it split the service into three tiers and launched a Game Pass-style catalogue of games for those paying more. Eurogamer