Superfast broadband has driven a £9 billion surge in turnover for local businesses, according to the latest government figures.

Minister for digital Margot James says the roll-out has been "the most challenging infrastructure project in a generation” but described it as "one of our greatest successes".

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) claims superfast broadband has now reached almost five million homes and businesses across the UK.

It is estimated that more than a million extra UK homes and businesses will gain access to superfast speeds, taking superfast coverage to 98 per cent of the nation over the next few years.

The vice president EMEA of BMC Software recently described the UK's connectivity as simply not acceptable.

Fighting fire with AR

As the world has watched devastating fires blaze in California this summer, tech is stepping up to help brave rescue teams in their mission to contain them.

Tech from augmented reality company EdgyBees is helping police and fire fighters in the region by turning live video feeds into useful maps of the affected areas.

This means that the people with the information at HQ can send the teams who are – quite literally – out in the field maps of areas with information layered over them. This could be things like the locations of other teams, hazards or equipment.

The company’s co-founder Adam Kaplan has described the tech as a ‘two-way radio  for visual information’ and it can be downloaded onto PCs, iOS and Android devices.

We reported last month how the entrepreneur behind a university start-up which monitors wildfires has said the UK could be headed for regular long wildfire seasons like those seen in the Mediterranean.

Google employees push back again

More than a thousand of Google's employees have signed a letter demanding transparency from their employer about the ethical consequences of their work with China, according to The New York Times.  

In an internal letter which the newspaper claims it has obtained, it details the company’s willingness to abide by China’s tight censorship requirements as an ‘urgent moral and ethical issue’. 

Google employees last protested after the company began work with the Pentagon which they believed could be used to kill people.

A new warning signal

Ordinary Wi-Fi can be used to detect hidden dangerous objects according to a new study.

The researchers claim that a basic Wi-Fi router with two or three antennas can be used to analyse its own signal as it bounces back, with a 99 per cent accuracy to detect dangerous objects, 98 per cent for metal and 95 per cent for liquid.

The research, conducted at the Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB), recently won a best paper award at the 2018 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security.

LinkedIn brings Groups to main app

Creating a professional network on LinkedIn is about to get real-er, as the social media site is due to bring its virtual forum function ‘Groups’ to the main app.

The service lets users come together to discuss business topics with like-minded professionals or colleagues on the site, but until now has been confined to a standalone experience.

LinkedIn announced it would be moving Groups into the main app as a streamlined experience, also implementing threaded replies and support for video uploads.

The integration is expected to be completed by the end of the month, along with its new features.