Weekly Tech Round-Up | #22

Here is all the tech news you need to know from the past week, sign up for our newsletter to receive this in your inbox every week. We also do a South West tech news update.

Tech giants fight ‘cloud wars’ deep in the ocean

It is easy to overlook that our access to the internet relies on thousands of miles of cable, crossing the world’s oceans. They provide the plumbing for the internet 98% of all international internet traffic travels through them. Some connect neighboring countries, such as the 131km CeltixConnect cable between Ireland and the UK. Others like the Asian-America Gateway cable, stretch for 20,000km and link continents. The data flashes along optical fibres as thin as a strand of hair. Each cable will have several of these at its core and then further layers of protective coating to prevent damage.

According to Daniel Sousa, managing director of manufacturing operations at SubCom, one challenge is that “the entire cable systems need to be manufactured and tested as a complete system”.

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Orocco becomes first UK construction company to accept cryptocurrency as payment

Orocco, a Scottish construction firm has announced that it is accepting cryptocurrency as payment for projects as it continues to push industry boundaries. With this move, Edinburgh-based Orocco became the first building company in the UK to adopt such a payment solution.

The construction firm has set up a digital wallet to accept cryptocurrency payments. It accepts Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stellar, and XRP as settlements for completed projects.

“With digital currencies becoming increasingly popular, it’s something I have been thinking about for a while,” said managing director Mark Ivinson, whose company specialises in high-end building and renovation work. I have spent some time researching what we could provide and I’m delighted we’ll now have this fast, safe and secure service as part of our offering to clients.

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Tech giants need a tough new set of rules to fix global problems

The end of the Internet free-for-all is nigh. Or so we are told. Big technology companies need – and even want – regulation; yet fears of stifling freedom of speech has made it political hot potato. Debate about regulation has been raging since the Internet began. Technology companies scored an early victory with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in 1996. This says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the published or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

Big tech has used this to argue they are simply platforms delivering the views and content of their users. Therefore they are not publishers of content and are not responsible for it. However, 1996 wad a different time; Mark Zuckerberg was twelve, one of the most popular songs was the Macarena and the Nintendo 64 was released.

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UK green economy: £50M for sustainable tech businesses as regional funds focus on net-zero

The British Bank’s regional funds – The Midlands Engineer Investment Fund and Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund have announced that they have enabled more than £50 million of green investment into small businesses in the midlands and North of England. It will be used to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and develop new technologies that will tackle climate change and reach net zero.

The investment highlights the commitment of these funds to contribute to the future of the low carbon and green economy. Since their debut, MEIF and NPIF have supported 45 businesses in their mission to drive the UK’s net zero and wider sustainability agenda.

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