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25 Mar

Comcast Announces Major Leadership Change

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Comcast Leadership Change

Comcast Corporation is one of the leading internet providers in the country and they offer some of the best and cheap internet deals to their customers. The telecom giant recently announced that Dave Watson would hold the position of President and CEO of Comcast Cable from April 1, 2017. Officials also said that the previous President and CEO of the company, Neil Smit, would become the Vice Chairman of Comcast Corporation.

The officials from Comcast also confirmed that Watson and Smit would work closely for a few months in order to ensure a smooth transition of the leadership. They also added that Smit would also be engaged in a part-time work with the leaders of Comcast for developing future technology-oriented business opportunities.

Smit has served the role of head of Comcast Cable for seven years and he has had a wonderful career with the company. He also held several senior executive positions at Nabisco, Charter, and AOL, before he joined Comcast. On the other hand, Watson joined Comcast Corporation back in the year 1991 and he was Comcast Cable’s Chief Operating Officer since the year 2010.

Watson has also held several senior roles with the telecom company such as the leadership of sales, marketing, product, and advertising functions. He has also partnered with Smit to run the cable division of Comcast Corporation earlier.

The Chairman and CEO of Comcast, Brian L. Roberts said, “Dave Watson is the perfect new leader of Comcast Cable. There are few people in the cable industry who have his breadth and depth of experience. Dave, along with Neil and the executive teams across the cable division, drove the operating strategy and execution that have led to phenomenal growth over the last several years as well as our focus on the customer experience and the improvements we have made recently. Dave knows the business and has a track record of delivering results.”

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He further stated that, “Neil has been an extraordinary leader and has helped transform Comcast Cable into the top cable and broadband company in the nation. He is not only an exceptional executive, but he is also one of the finest individuals with whom I have had the privilege to work. Neil and his team have created an innovation engine at Comcast Cable, with countless new and game-changing products and businesses.”

“We are also so appreciative and inspired by Neil’s service as a Navy SEAL,” Robert added. “While the personal sacrifices he made on behalf of our Country can never be repaid, all of us who know Neil are very grateful for his service. As Neil cuts back on his full-time role, I am delighted that he will continue to work with us.”

23 Mar

Is AT&T Blocking Quality Internet Access In Poor Neighborhoods

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Quality Internet Access

Telecom companies are much notorious and many consumers often complain about the slow services, issues in coverage, and high prices. However, what if you cannot stream your favorite show or research your term paper as the internet service in your area is very slow? What if the slow speed is based on your neighborhood and not because you have used up the data allowance?

Experts say that this might be happening in the poorest neighborhoods of Cleveland and AT&T internet might be the culprit. As per the report from internet consumer advocacy groups like Connect Your Community and National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the lack of investment and refusal to extend the available discounts services to poor neighborhoods is equivalent to income discrimination that was used by banks, called redlining.

The internet consumer advocacy groups analyzed the broadband availability data of FCC and they found that the Cleveland neighborhoods with highest poverty rates have the slowest internet connections. They also added that the old infrastructure in use by AT&T is the cause of the slow internet speeds. As per the report released by the groups, AT&T is not investing in fiber based broadband internet infrastructure and are excluding some of the neighborhoods from their discounted internet services for the low income users.

Gizmodo also reported that AT&T was blocking high-speed best internet access to those neighborhoods where at least thirty-five percent of the total population lived below the poverty line. This means that the more money a household makes, the more likely they are to have good internet access.

“Recognizing a publicly traded company’s first priority is to profit means we, as a country, must take the necessary steps to ensure broadband infrastructure is upgraded equally regardless of income, not just for today but for the future,” NDIA director Angela Siefer said. “Since the free market is clearly not solving this issue, we need local, state and federal policies that encourage build out in all neighborhoods, subsidizing when necessary.”

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Connect Your Community

Access to internet services from the various internet providers is an economic issue. It is estimated that thirteen percent of the adults in USA, who do not use the internet, make less than fifty thousand dollars per year. As per the report from the Center for Public Integrity, twenty percent of Americans in low-income families do not have access to the internet and among those, who make between 35,000 and 47,000 dollars, fifteen percent are not connected to the internet.

Many regulatory efforts are in place to mitigate these issues. One such regulation is the net neutrality that prohibits the broadband internet providers from blocking, throttling, and other techniques to control internet speeds. Nevertheless, experts believe that these regulations are at risk under the Trump Administration.

21 Mar

AT&T And IBM Launches New IoT Analytics Solution

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IoT Analytics Solution

AT&T, along with the multinational technology company IBM, has opened up a new collaboration with their respective technologies, the IoT solutions and IBM Cloud. This will provide a new way for the companies to gather more value from their data in a relatively simple way.

The collaboration between the two companies has resulted in the development of the latest AT&T IoT analytics capability. This will enable AT&T’s Enterprise customers in changing their industrial IoT data into analytic insights, which will prompt them to take quicker action in improving their business operations.

IoT has witnessed tremendous growth due to the increasing demand for real-time operations data. By the introduction of this new service, AT&T and IBM provide the enterprise customers of AT&T with key insights into their industrial IoT data. This is done by using AT&T M2X, Flow Designer, Control Center, and other IoT solutions. IBM Watson IoT, IBM Watson Data Platform, the fastest data ingestion engine, and IBM Machine Learning Service is also available to the Enterprise customers.

This new service will enable companies to use their own IoT generated data to improve the maintenance prediction and optimization of their systems. Chris Penrose, President of IoT Solutions at AT&T said, “Businesses are eager for actionable data insights from their connected devices that help improve their processes and take the guesswork out of decision-making. Integrating the IBM Watson Data Platform into our IoT capabilities will be huge for our enterprise customers.”

Steve Canepa, General Manager of Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment at IBM stated that, “With the tremendous growth in IoT adoption comes the need for more tools and services that will unlock the value in the IoT data being generated.”

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AT&T IoT Analytics

“As part of our continued collaboration to drive innovation, IBM is working with AT&T to combine our strengths and expertise to combine analytics solutions on the IBM Cloud that will enable AT&T’s enterprise customers to utilize their complex data in a meaningful way and deliver insights that can help accelerate their business transformation,” Canepa added.

This strong collaboration between AT&T, which is one of the best internet providers in  the US, and IBM will bring forward new IoT innovations to the market. The alliance is expected to bring about advancements in wireless connectivity, enhanced analytics, and cognitive capabilities.

Earlier in 2016, AT&T and IBM had proposed plans for integrating many of its IoT and cloud platforms. This is now a reality, as developers have now access to these capabilities, which enables them to build, organize, and scale their IoT applications.

21 Mar

CBS Goes Dark On AT&T U-Verse Customers

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AT&T U-Verse Customers

A recent television contract dispute between AT&T and Raycom Media has resulted in the blackout of CBS on AT&T U-Verse in Charleston. This means that AT&T U-Verse customers in this region will miss some of the most crucial matches of the college basketball games this month.

Tensions between both parties started when the officials from Raycom Media made a statement that they are pulling their stations from AT&T U-Verse in Charleston. The timing of the blackout created frustrations among many AT&T U-Verse customers because it took place just a few hours before the first tip-off of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on the CBS.

WCSC-TV, which is owned by Raycom Media, is the local affiliate for the Tiffany Network. In a written message, the officials from Raycom Media said that the “inconvenience to viewers is part of a broader business strategy to convert AT&T U-Verse customers to DirecTV because a DirecTV subscription is more profitable” for AT&T, which owns both services.

Reports indicate that the dispute between both the parties happened when the Dallas-based telecommunications giant, AT&T was asked to pay a new “retransmission” fee in order to secure the rights for carrying the programs offered by Raycom Media.

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Blackout Of CBS

The officials from AT&T blamed the broadcaster for the blackout of the channels. They also added that Raycom is looking for “a significant increase” in the retransmission fee and they are “deliberately preventing WCSC” from being delivered or brought to their U-Verse customers. “We have asked Raycom repeatedly to allow our customers to watch while we work this business matter out privately, but Raycom continues to refuse,” officials from AT&T said.

CBS Network was scheduled to bring the broadcast of four basketball games as a part of their March Madness coverage. However, AT&T U-Verse customers in Charleston missed the coverage of these games because both the parties failed to reach a settlement on the retransmission fee issue.

You can catch the live broadcast of the college basket basketball games online, but you will need to subscribe to any one of the best internet service in the country for that. Many internet providers including AT&T offer high-speed internet service to their customers that allow them to watch these games online without any delays or disturbances.

15 Mar

AW North Carolina Seeks Help From AT&T To Secure Business Operations

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Mobility Business Services

One of the best internet providers in the United States, AT&T offers mobility business services and security to AW North Carolina, who is a leading automatic transmissions manufacturer. The services offered by AT&T allow the company to protect their data and to connect their employees to the manufacturer’s network.

It is a fact that many major business corporations in the country face serious and growing cyber security threats. A research published by the telecom giant, AT&T pointed out that about 90% of companies encountered a preventable cyber attack in the year 2016.

This means that if you want to protect and secure the sensitive files and other data of your business, then you should certainly adopt a multilayered approach. However, many small-scale businesses do not have the necessary resources for developing and managing a multi-layered security approach on their own.

AW North Carolina went to seek the aid of AT&T after they experienced a number of service disruptions from viruses and ransomware. These service disruptions affected the day-to-day business operations of the company and it even went on to halt their production at times, which in turn resulted in a potential loss of revenue.

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AW North Carolina

The Cybersecurity Consulting Division of AT&T positioned an Incident Response and Forensics team who successfully identified and eliminated the ransomware, which in turn brought W North Carolina back online. The General Manager of Information Technology, AW North Carolina, John Peterson, said, “It was essential to find a solution to these attacks as quickly as possible. A highly secure network is key to our success. Now, it’s no longer a matter of chasing a virus from one network connection to the next to identify compromised computers. Throughout the process, AT&T was a trusted advisor.”

Vice President of AT&T Security Consulting, Todd Waskelis said, “Today, an attack could mean a loss of reputation, revenue, and resources. Reacting quickly and with the right tools is of the utmost importance. We worked with AW North Carolina to understand the root cause of this attack and how it happened using Incident Response and Forensics capabilities to not only protect their business but to also improve their security protections to help prevent further security issues.”

Reports indicate that the best internet service and highly efficient security solutions offered by AT&T will enable them to attract more customers towards their services.

15 Mar

Sling TV Enhances Accessibility In Its Cloud DVR Feature

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Better Accessibility

Sling TV, Dish Network’s streaming television service, has launched its latest cloud DVR feature for more customers through its “First Look” early access program. First announced back in the month of November, the DVR feature solely existed as private beta for Roku users until now. It is expected that the feature would be available to all Sling TV subscribers soon.

The cloud DVR feature functions like a standard DVR and the recordings are stored in the cloud instead of a hardware device. Furthermore, Sling’s cloud DVR lets the user record several programs at the same time. This, however, is unavailable for all the channels because of the rights negotiations that exist between Dish and other broadcasters.

However, Sling is not offering unlimited storage or any other storage options to the customers. Besides that, “First Look” customers need to pay an extra charge of $5 per month for storing up to 50 hours of recordings. When the intended storage space runs out, the initially watched recordings are selectively removed first to save space for the newer ones. Moreover, users have to join the “First Look” program in accessing many DVR features.

The “First Look” program offers Sling TV customers using Amazon devices the means to test the cloud DVR feature alongside the Roku beta testers. In addition, to accessibility into the cloud DVR, the users joining the “First Look” program will get access to features such as setting the recordings on the go, protecting the recordings, and grouping the recorded content into different folders.

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“Many customers have requested Cloud DVR since our launch, and as more consumers cut the cord, we know Cloud DVR is a must-have feature for many consumers,” Ben Weinberger, Chief Product Officer of Sling TV stated. “We also know some customers prefer to watch our 30,000 on-demand titles, and we don’t want to make them pay for a feature they won’t use. While other OTT providers force everyone to take Cloud DVR at a higher price, Sling TV continues to give our customers choice and control over their entertainment experience.”

Meanwhile, this new move by Sling comes ahead of the increasing competition in the streaming television market, as many newer services like AT&T’s DirecTV Now and YouTube TV have stirred up an increasing competition in the arena.

14 Mar

AT&T Launches Cheap Internet Plan For GoPhone Customers

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AT&T Internet Plan

The telecom giant, AT&T recently introduced a cheap internet plan for their AT&T GoPhone customers. The officials from AT&T confirmed that the customers who are currently under their GoPhone plan would be able to enjoy unlimited data for just $60 per month. However, AT&T GoPhone customers will have to sign up for AutoPay in order to enjoy this latest offering.

The subscribers who sign up for AutoPay will receive unlimited text, talktime, and data with a maximum internet speed of 3 Mbps. This plan is ideal for web browsing, accessing social media platforms, and for streaming standard definition video content at a maximum speed of 1.5 Mbps.

This is one of best internet deals available to AT&T customers now, because they will not have to pay any extra charges for their basic internet needs with this plan. However, the officials from AT&T stated that they would temporarily slow the internet data once the consumer exceeds the usage of 22 GB during periods of network congestion.

If you are traveling to Canada or Mexico on your vacation, then you might have earlier spent hundreds of your dollar to make calls to your friends and relatives and for using the internet. However, the latest AT&T GoPhone Unlimited plan allows you to make texts and calls to and from Canada, Mexico, and the US, which means that you will no longer have to worry about additional charges.

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AT&T GoPhone

AT&T vice president of wireless voice and prepaid products, Bob Bickerstaff said, “We’re excited to offer a truly unlimited plan for our AT&T GoPhone customers. AT&T GoPhone customers now have even more flexibility to pick the plan that fits their needs as well as the perfect device from a selection of premium smartphones they really want.”

If you are an AT&T customer who is planning to subscribe to a plan without a credit check or an annual contract and if you don’t unlimited internet data, then AT&T GoPhone plan of 6GB for just $40 a month after AutoPay is undoubtedly the best choice for you.

You will be able to access 6 GB of your internet data at a high speed, but the internet speed will be eventually reduced to 128 Kbps once you exceed the 6 GB limit during your plan cycle. You will be also able to make texts and calls to and from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.

10 Mar

Satellite Internet Will Offer True Broadband

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HughesNet Gen5 Service

In the United States, satellite internet providers that cater to remote and rural users, have been improving steadily over the last few years. Hughes Network Systems, which is a subsidiary of EchoStar, has now announced that their latest HughesNet Gen5 service, which is planned to go live on March 16, has cleared a big hurdle to become the first internet service to achieve the Federal Communications Commission’s defined broadband speeds across important areas in Alaska and the continental US. The broadband speeds for internet service set by FCC are 3 Mbps for uploads and 25 Mbps for downloads.

The Gen5 service from HughesNet will tap into the newly launched EchoStar XIX satellite and EchoStar XVII satellite. HughesNet describes the EchoStar XIX satellite as the “world’s highest capacity broadband satellite.” Gen5 service is powered by Hughes’ Jupiter System, which is the “world’s most widely deployed satellite networking platform,” the company said.

The new Gen5 service will not only deliver more data and faster speeds, but will also offer built-in Wi-Fi. “HughesNet Gen5 will bring a new level of Internet services to the approximately 18 million households across the United States that are either unserved or suffering from slow wireline Internet services,” said Pradman Kaul, who is the president of Hughes Network Systems.

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Broadband Speeds

For the residential users, the HughesNet Gen5 service will offer plans with up to 50 GB of monthly data and prices starting from 49.99 dollars per month. Business plan offerings will range up to 250 GB of data per month and prices starting from 69.99 dollars. All these plans are offered with 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed. HughesNet said that they would share more details of the Gen5 plans and prices on the launch day.

Other new features of the Gen5 service are:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi service;
  • No hard data limits, meaning that if the monthly data plan is exceeded, the service will continue with decreased speeds until next billing cycle;
  • Video Data Saver feature to watch videos without using much data; and
  • 50 GB of free data per month that can be used in off-peak hours (i.e. 02:00 am to 08:00 am local time).

In addition to that, the new Jupiter Aero System will tap into the EchoStar XIX satellite to offer 400 Mbps of best internet service in aircrafts. Reports say that some of the airlines like Southwest will be offering boosted wireless internet service by the second half of 2017.

10 Mar

AT&T Offers LTE-M Technology To Capstone Metering For Water Conservation

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LTE-M Technology

AT&T has successfully implemented its LTE-M technology for conserving water by offering its network to Capstone Metering, a water management solutions company. The carrier has also planned to introduce LTE-M technology all across the country this year.

Capstone has become one of the first customers using AT&T’s LTE-M technology in water management. For this, the LTE Category M1 is utilized that differs from the conventional categories of LTE networks focused on smartphone usage. Reports say that it uses very low amounts of bandwidth for sending smaller amounts of data at intervals, which is ideal for low power modems that connect meters and other sensors to the network.

Capstone Metering LLC was founded in 2007 and it offers innovative water management solutions to ensure effective conservation and usage. Their efforts focus on metering and monitoring water usage for the thousands of water authorities spread across the nation. For achieving this, the company connects their meters and sensors to the AT&T internet network. Apart from that, Capstone Metering also offers numerous other additions including the meter, installation, platform, training, analytics, maintenance, connectivity, and cloud database.

AT&T adviser James Brehm explains that, “Water as service moves the small and medium water districts from a [capital expense] to an [operating expense] model. There are 148,000 water authorities across the United States. They serve 98 million service connections, and about a third of those are in the top 20 to 30 cities, the next third are in medium-size cities and then the rest are split across small cities.”

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He also suggested a new method of requiring the water authorities to pay the meter fee each month. This will aid in removing all the costs involved in each of the technicians visit a water meter. Brehm anticipates that the new solution by the carrier will be highly beneficial, mainly for smaller districts. This is evident in Capstone’s claims of success and usefulness of the best internet technology by AT&T for managing water resources in larger cities as well.

Capstone has stated that such real-time data from the water meters will effectively aid in conservation efforts. The company is currently in the process of developing algorithms for detecting any leaks in the water supply systems to alert the water authorities quickly. The company has also stated that the LTE-M network is the most suitable for this use case.

09 Mar

DirecTV Cuts Price For MLB Extra Innings In 2017

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MLB Extra Innings

DirecTV has announced the price for the Major League Baseball Extra Innings out of the market package for 2017. The new price has dropped from the prices of 2016 level, but only by a meager 1.20 dollars. DirecTV in one of their posts shared this information to the public. MLB fans need to pay only 172.74 dollars to watch the complete 2017 season when compared to the 173.94 dollars price for 2016 season.

The price reduction might not seem to be a lot, but subscribers were able to see a big discount in the previous season when DirecTV, Comcast, and some other cheap internet and pay TV providers agreed to cut the price of MLB Extra Innings in 2016 and 2017. This decision was made as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that was filed by the MLB Extra Innings fans.

Comcast charged 165 dollars in 2016 for MLB Extra Innings, but they have not yet announced the pricing for 2017. In addition, DirecTV will also offer a free subscription to MLB.TV to all people buying Extra Innings. This means that the MLB fans can not only watch out-of-market games on television, but also on their mobile phones, computers, and connected devices.

This is the third time that DirecTV is including MLB.TV with the MLB Extra Innings offering. They have offered free subscription to MLB.TV in the last two seasons also.

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NFL Sunday Ticket

The net price for MLB Extra Innings remains flat as previous year and it is a good thing for the subscribers, as DirecTV is planning to increase the pricing for NFL Sunday Ticket package. It is reported that the pricing for the NFL Sunday Ticket will increase by over 9 percent before the 2017 season and by an additional 2 percent after the start of the season.

Subscribers not seeing a big increase in the pricing for the baseball package this year can be a good thing, but they should also understand that there is the potential for a price increase for the NFL Sunday Ticket season. For now, those baseball fans who wish to buy MLB Extra Innings package from DirecTV for 2017 will get a reduction in price, even though it is a small one.

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