Friday Five: BT set for full-fibre ‘fury’ after Ofcom ruling

Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. BT set for full-fibre ‘fury’ after Ofcom ruling

BT says it will “build like fury” to roll out full-fibre internet connections after Ofcom ruled it would not impose price caps on full-fibre connections provided by Openreach, BT’s subsidiary. Openreach lays down and maintains the fibre-optic cables and then sells use of these services to individual internet service providers.

The decision not to impose price caps gives BT the certainty it wanted ahead of a planned £12bn investment that aims to build fibre-to-the-premises connections to 20 million homes by the late 2020s. But critics say that Ofcom has given a generous deal to a near-monopoly operator, which could lead to price rises for customers.

2. Royal Mail to trial adding barcodes to stamps

The Royal Mail is to add unique barcodes to second-class stamps as part of a modernisation drive to improve customer service. The pilot scheme, beginning on 23 March, will see barcodes appearing on around 20 million second-class stamps supplied to UK businesses, to be linked with services relevant to them.

The initiative will see Royal Mail become one of the first postal authorities in the world to add unique barcodes to stamps. It says barcodes will boost the efficiency of mail-handling, creating savings which Royal Mail can pass on to customers. Not to mention, it could open up a whole new avenue for stamp collectors…

3. Tinder to let users run background checks

In what could be a highly significant move, Tinder is going to let its users run background checks on possible dates. Match Group, the owner of Tinder, has announced an investment in Garbo, a non-profit that aims to help people to run background checks with only their first name and phone number, or full name.

It means Tinder users will be able to vet their dates with details like their arrest record or history of violence, giving them a certain amount of peace of mind. Garbo won’t publicise drug-related offences, partly to take an ‘active stance towards equity” and also because they don’t “meaningfully predict gender-based violence”.

4. An app to measure your food’s climate impact

Lots of us are concerned about the food we eat and its impact on the climate. And a Dublin-based startup is looking to make it much easier to work out your carbon footprint from your food shops. Users simply take a photo of their receipt and the Evocco app identifies the food products and calculates your carbon footprint.

The result is based on the store’s location and by checking the type, weight and origin of a food against a database. The app gives users the option to offset their shopping by contributing to Go Carbon Neutral, a non-profit that plants native woodland. Available in the UK and Ireland, Evocco aims to launch in the US by the end of 2020.

5. Bitcoin ad banned for irresponsible claims

An advert for a cryptocurrency exchange has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for “irresponsibly” promoting investments in Bitcoin. The ASA said the ad, in a local newspaper, had targeted pensioners who were “unlikely to know” much about the topic, while a disclaimer printed in small print was insufficient.

The full-page spread contained a Coinfloor customer with a personal testimony about how she had invested part of her pension into Bitcoin. The quote included the frankly incredible phrase: “To me, Bitcoin is digital gold and it has allowed me to take the steps to secure the cash I already have.” Yep, safe as houses, that ol’ Bitcoin.

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