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In The News 03-30-2012

In The News 03-30-2012
Your Weekly Update In The World Of Technology


The Big Break-Up

Phone customers are fickle beings and the stats prove it.  According to a study released Monday by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the average phone user drops their carrier and goes to another right after their two-year contract is finished.  The new average of 48 months is an all-time low and it has carriers starting to worry and think of new business practices.

The reduction of the customer-carrier relationship is nothing new, but the rate is starting to accelerate.  2010 showed a 59 month average relationship. Since then that number has dropped almost a year.  The decline has mostly hit smaller carriers, but carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint are also feeling the pain.

This news may not come as a surprise in an ever-increasingly competitive mobile market.  From what phones are offered, to the amount of data that is provided, companies are constantly changing and aiming to provide the “best” options and features for its customers.  With the common choice of plans being a 2-year agreement, we may see a slow down in the turnover rate, but that won’t stop carriers from being even more competitive.


 Hello?  Anybody Out There?

In the event you  haven’t heard of it, news coverage of the Square Kilometer Array has increased over the past week.  What is the Square Kilometer Array, or SKA for short, exactly?  The SKA is planned to be the world’s largest radio telescope with goals of  learning more about dark matter, black holes, stars and galaxies, and even the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

The SKA is a combined international effort and to put it simply… it’s big.  In fact its name is derived from the total collecting area of the 3,000 dish antennas, each at approximately 15 meters in diameter.  The total area will equal a square kilometer and its job will be to collect information on radio waves from distant stars and galaxies.  Most of the antennas will be located in a core region, while some will be located over an extended area of 3000 kilometers, or 1864 miles.  This large area will allow the SKA to be the most sensitive radio telescope in history.

Currently construction is planned to begin in 2016 with two main locations being considered: Western Australia and South Africa.  Both locations will ultimately have the array span across their respective continents.  The price tag will also come in at a hefty $2 billion.