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21 Jul

Comcast® Declares Its Commitment To Core Principles Of Net Neutrality

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Commitment To Net Neutrality

The Day of Action demonstration organized last week witnessed numerous organizations and companies standing up for net neutrality. This comes in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plans to override several of the protective regulations that surround the net neutrality concept.

Internet providers like Comcast® adopted a clearer stand on the issue, declaring their support for the proposed deregulation efforts by the FCC such as the Title II classifications. However, Comcast® has also declared that it will still offer support and respect for the very idea of net neutrality and the open internet that it proposes.

The FCC’s proposed rollback of the regulations has support from Comcast®. As per the telecom provider, “Such regulation is entirely unnecessary, outdated, and imposes substantial costs that undermine investment and innovation and undercut efforts to bridge the digital divide and deploy broadband to all Americans. While some seem to want to create hysteria that the Internet as we know it will disappear if their preferred regulatory scheme isn’t in place, that’s just not reality.”

In the arena of innovation, Comcast® has stated that the existence of the Title II classifications has become a hindrance. It claims that its release of Stream TV was held up over the course of an FCC investigation, which affected many of the customers. However, Comcast® has maintained its stance about net neutrality starting that they will always remain to the committed to the central aspects of a free and open internet.

The company stated, “We’ve repeatedly pledged from the highest levels of our company — from Comcast Corporation® Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, Comcast® Cable President, and CEO David Watson, and from me – that we do not and will not block, slow down, or discriminate against lawful content.”

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Title II Classifications

Previously, the company has run into several allegations stating the throttling down of connectivity speeds for certain customers. Even a 2009 lawsuit accused the company of slowing down the upload speeds of Bit Torrent users.

Comcast® has stressed more on the importance of eliminating the Title II classification. Moreover, the company has declared that it will comply faithfully with the regulations that ensure “no blocking, no throttling, no anticompetitive paid prioritization, and full transparency.” However, the Title II classifications will provide the FCC full authority in enforcing the net neutrality rules. Comcast® officials believe that Title II regulations can hamper any innovation, but accept its importance in enabling an open and free internet as well.

21 Jul

Five Towns Opt For Charter® Broadband Service

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Closing Broadband Gap

The once stalled effort from one of the best internet service providers in the country, Charter Communications®, to deliver high-speed broadband internet service to several rural communities in Massachusetts, finally saw some promising progress. In a recent announcement, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute announced that about five towns in Worcester and Berkshire country have signed a deal with Charter®.

Reports indicate that the telecom giant will be building cable networks in Tyringham, Princeton, Peru, Hancock, and Egremont shortly. Charter® will be using a $4,420,000 state grant for building the proposed networks, which means that local taxes will not be raised from the residents.

The officials from Charter Communications® hinted that the new network will reach approximately 3,600 businesses and homes. They also added that the broadband internet speeds would begin at a base level of 60 megabits per second. Charter® has also agreed to complete the proposed project within one year but they asserted they will need the issuance of all essential authorizations and permits including the pole attachment rights.

The State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru said, “As the only legislator in the state who currently lives in a home without access to high-speed internet, I couldn’t be more excited for my hometown of Peru to be on the verge of full connectivity.” He also added that access to a high-speed internet service from one of the fastest internet providers in U.S. would result in a significant improvement in the quality of life and economy in the rural areas of Western Massachusetts.

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High-Speed Broadband Internet Service

This is actually the second grant given to Charter Communications® under the Last Mile program of the state. The telecom company had earlier received an MBI’s award for supporting the construction of cable networks in West Stockbridge, Lanesborough, and Hinsdale. This award was made under the Private Sector Request for Proposals of MI, which is actually a part of the effort of Baker-Polito administration for bridging the digital divide in 9 partially served towns and 44 unserved towns.

In a Press release, the MBI stated that 46 out of the total 53 communities “have either completed a Last Mile project; have received a Last Mile grant for an approved project; or are considering a viable option to close the broadband gap.” It seems that Charter® is determined to bring broadband services to several rural areas shortly.

20 Jul

AT&T® Decides To Keep Wireless And DirecTV Separate From Time Warner®

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Satellite Streaming Service

As AT&T® gets ready to acquire Time Warner®, reports say that the best internet provider would run wireless and cable service as two separate entities. The Telco giant announced the merger for $85.4 billion in October last year and if the merger sees through its current hurdles, AT&T® wireless and DirecTV® would be separate from the Time Warner’s media assets.

The US Justice Department would hopefully approve the merger soon, and the Telco giant would get a competitive edge in the wireless segment on approval. Reliable sources indicate the proposed merger would bring a flurry of targeted advertisements and new cheap internet plans from AT&T®.

It is reported that John Stankey, the current head of DirecTV® and entertainment divisions of AT&T® would lead the media wing. On the other hand, John Donovan, AT&T’s chief in charge of technology and global operations, would head the Telco giant’s wireless wing. Apart from that, once the merger gets the nod from the Justice department, AT&T® CEO Randall Stephenson would lead the merged company.

The sources reveal Fletcher Cook as the official speaking on behalf of the Telco giant, and that a revamped organization structure of the merged company is yet to be confirmed by the Chief Executive Officers of both AT&T® and Time Warner®.

Bob Quinn, a senior executive at AT&T® told reliable sources that the Telco giant expects the merger to be closed by year-end. “We are just working through the process,” Quinn said, whilst not omitting the fact that the deal requires the approval of United States Justice Department. “All indications are that end of the year is definitely in reach,” reassured the Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T®.

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AT&T® – Time Warner® Merger

Quinn had not commented on the White House intervention to the merger either, and rightfully so, it would seem to all those who are anonymous subscribers or well-wishers of the proposed merger. One may also remember the fact that the President-elect Donald Trump showed his disapproval towards the merger during campaigning days, but has not said anything about the same after taking charge at the Oval Office.

Yet again, the Senate Democrats Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Al Franken have told the US Justice Department officials to keep a watch on the proposed merger between AT&T® and Time Warner®.

19 Jul

AT&T® Commences Its 5G Evolution Network At Indianapolis

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5G Evolution Network

AT&T® has declared that it has launched its ultra-fast 5G Evolution network in parts of Indianapolis. In view of this, the telecom provider has completed the upgrades for the 5G network in the region that includes centralized-RAN, 256 QAM, 4X4 MIMO, and three-way carrier aggregation.

AT&T® is certainly the fastest internet provider in many regions of the US, and implementing a full-scale development of its network and infrastructure in the city of Indianapolis will make them even more superior. Besides, this will also aid in assisting with many of the futuristic developments planned for the city such as self-driving cars.

AT&T® has made a considerable investment of more than $350 million in the last three years for developing both the wired and wireless networks in Indianapolis. Marachel Knight, senior vice president of Wireless Network Architecture and Design at AT&T® said, “We’re excited to launch these new, faster, wireless technologies in Indianapolis as we march towards standards-based mobile 5G. The upgrades in Indianapolis are crucial to the future of next generation connectivity in this city.”

Previously, AT&T’s announcement of deploying 5G Evolution network in about 20 metros by the year-end has met with criticism from other providers. AT&T® has stated that it is in the process of finalizing the standards of 5G networking technology and justified its usage of the 5G Evolution brand. Moreover, the company has made significant contributions to the development of 3GPP wireless standards process and is collaborating with numerous technology companies for deploying 5G networks across the regions.

According to AT&T® officials, the 5G Evolution network will offer twice the speeds than the standard 4G LTE network. This will allow the customers to experience a faster internet connectivity experience and download speeds than was previously possible.

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3GPP Wireless Standards Process

Customers having the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones can access this best internet service and technology upgrades from AT&T®. The company also revealed that the service would be increasingly accessible as numerous 5G Evolution capable devices are expected to be released in the coming months.

AT&T® has also unveiled its new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) and expanded the network capacity to its nine existing systems in Indianapolis. This will provide maximum internet connectivity across larger venues such as airports, shopping malls, and stadiums. The carrier expects to install the LTE-LAA and 4-way carrier aggregation in numerous parts of 5G Evolution metro areas by the year-end.

The launch of 5G network in Indianapolis by AT&T® follows the successful deployment of this networking technology across Austin lately.

19 Jul

DirecTV Now® Users Experience Streaming Issues During The Season Premiere Of “Game Of Thrones”

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Live Streaming Issues

DirecTV Now®, the online streaming service from one of the best internet providers in the United States, AT&T®, has become immensely popular among customers in a short span of time. The exciting packages offered by DirecTV Now® have attracted several cord cutters to the service over the last few months. However, reports indicate that AT&T’s streaming service encountered a few streaming issues during the seventh season premiere of “Game of Thrones”.

Several DirecTV Now® users expressed their frustration through social media platforms, as they experienced a number of live streaming issues when they tried to watch the season premiere of the show. Fans have been waiting for almost a year for the latest episode of the fan favorite TV series, “Game of Thrones” and they wanted to watch the episode without any disruptions or delays. However, DirecTV Now® failed to stand up to the expectations.

Officials say that even the HBO.com website temporarily went down during the premiere of “Game of Thrones”, so some would argue that there is no point in blaming DirecTV Now® alone. Nonetheless, reports indicate that more than hundreds of DirecTV Now® users were not able to watch the episode due to continuous interruptions. Interestingly, a representative from the telecom giant, AT&T® stated that the streaming service did not encounter any technical issues during the season premiere of the TV show but he refused to share any details on what caused the trouble.

Despite the streaming issues during the season premiere, DirecTV Now® users are hopeful that AT&T® will fix the issues before the second episode of the show airs. The second episode from this season of “Game of Thrones” will air on Sunday, which means that AT&T® will have to fix the streaming issues within a week.

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Top Rated TV Series

The VP of marketing at database load balancing software vendor ScaleArc™, Michelle McLean said, “Scaling a database is hard, and not quick. This is complicated engineering, and it often has to get paired with adjustments to the application code hitting that database. These kinds of meltdowns are common during surge events like ESPN suffered with the launch of Fantasy Football or when Macy’s suffered last Black Friday.”

McLean added, “You can prep for those events, and you can be sure that HBO prepped. But sometimes, despite all the testing, traffic levels exceed your preparation. As previous website crashes have shown, the weak spot in the technology stack was likely the database. The physics around having an application talk to multiple instances of a database remains a challenge. HBO will likely be scrambling to build more elasticity into the data tier to avoid this kind of catastrophic outage in the future.”

18 Jul

DirecTV Now® Is Now Equipped With A Cloud DVR

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4K HDR support

DirecTV Now®, the latest streaming service from one of the leading internet providers in the United States, AT&T® will be finally introducing a number of exciting features including a cloud DVR. The officials from AT&T® added that the addition is actually a part of a bigger platform upgrade for the TV applications of AT&T®, which includes the app for current DirecTV® pay TV customers and the streaming service itself.

The newly added cloud DVR is one of the most anticipated addition and DirecTV Now® customers have been eagerly waiting for the addition since the launch of the streaming service. Most of the competitor online streaming services of DirecTV Now® such as Hulu Live TV, PlayStation VU, and YouTube TV already have a cloud DVR option that allows users to save movies and TV shows for later viewing.

The streaming service from AT&T® was however introduced without this key feature, but the officials promised that the cloud DVR feature will be arriving to DirecTV Now® sometime “next year”. Even though it has taken AT&T® quite a time to bring this key feature into their streaming service, the telecom company is hopeful that the introduction of the cloud DVR will lure in more cord cutters to DirecTV Now®.

DirecTV Now®, which was unveiled by the end of 2016 initially, offered a variety of plans to their customers. The basic package offered by the streaming service that allowed customers access to more than 60 popular channels was priced at just $35 a month. Currently, the service offers a wide selection of live channels in HD and 4K quality. In addition to that, DirecTV Now® users can also access 30,000 on-demand contents.

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Introducing Cloud DVR Feature

A short while after the launch of the streaming service, customers from several parts of their country expressed their frustration, as the new service often encountered technical glitches. AT&T® quickly responded to the issue and assured users that technical issues are quite common during the launches of streaming services. Consequently, AT&T® fixed all the errors in a short span of time and DirecTV Now® added over 200,000 subscribers in the first month itself.

Reports indicate that other additions like live TV pausing, parental control, 4K HDR support, and a “download and go” feature will soon arrive to DirecTV®. If you have access to the best internet service, make the most of it by subscribing to DirecTV Now®.

18 Jul

Cox® Expands Internet Usage Data Caps While CenturyLink® Dumps Data Caps

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Expands Internet Data Caps

There is both good and bad news for all the home internet users of the nation. Cox Communications®, one of the best internet providers of the country has now started to charge overage fee to their users in four more states. On the other hand, another cheap internet provider, CenturyLink® has decided to end the tests with data caps. They are now offering bill credits to all those customers in Washington who were charged with overage fees in their trials.

Cox Communications® operates in eighteen states and have about six million business and residential users. Recently, they introduced their overage fees to Louisiana, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Nevada. Interestingly, they were already enforcing the overage fee and data caps in Connecticut, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, and Ohio.

Apart from that, Virginia, Rhode Island, and California have the monthly data caps, but these states do not have enforcement on the overage fees, as per the list of data cap locations shared by Cox Communications®. It seems that the states of North Carolina and Massachusetts are exempted from the data caps, at least for now.

Just like Comcast®, Cox® allows the capped subscribers to use 1 TB of data per month and charges an overage fee of ten dollars for every additional block of 50 GB. As per the reports, Cox® is planning to introduce an “unlimited” internet plan later.

If Cox® unlimited internet matches with that of Comcast®, the unlimited internet from Cox® would be costing an extra fifty dollars per month above the normal charges. Paying the fees for the unlimited internet will allow Cox® users to return to the condition before the implementation of the overage charges. They can pay a flat rate to have internet access, regardless of the quantity of data that they use. All the Cox® users who subscribe to the Gigabit fiber internet service offered by the Telco can use two terabytes of data before being charged for overuse.

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Dumps Data Caps

Generally, the data caps have headed in the wrong direction for the US customers and they seldom have a choice due to the lack of competition. However, the good news is that CenturyLink® has now understood that the extra income that they make from the overage fees is not worth when compared to the rise in the number of irate users.

Before a year, CenturyLink® decided to run a data cap trial in Yakima, WA and as per the trial, a data cap of 300 GB was imposed for a month. When the users exceed the data allowance of 300 GB, they will need to pay an overage fee of ten dollar for every 50 GB data block. However, instead of expanding the data caps and overage fee to more states and cities, they decided to end the “usage-based billing program.”

“Because this approach no longer aligns with our goal to simplify offers and pricing for our customers, we have decided to end this program, effective May 3, 2017,” CenturyLink® said in an announcement.

17 Jul

CenturyLink® Expands Broadband Service In Rural Colorado Communities

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High-Speed Internet Service

CenturyLink® has declared that it has extended its high-speed internet service to numerous rural households and businesses in rural Colorado communities. The telecom provider has extended its best internet services as a part of the government supported initiative in enhancing broadband connectivity among the regions. Under this new expansion initiative, about 28,000 houses and businesses are now offered with internet connectivity with speeds ranging from 10 to 80 megabits per second. This is available across cities such as West Cortez, Durango, and Pagosa Springs.

According to CenturyLink®, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has marked approximately 14,000 of the houses and businesses based in these areas as high cost. Moreover, this initiative is also qualified under the Connect America Fund of the FCC.

Previously, the company had announced that as a part of the Connect America Fund, it had annually accepted about $26.5 million for a period of six years. Due to this, CenturyLink® is entitled to provide broadband internet to about 50,000 households and businesses in rural areas with speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads.

As a part of this program, CenturyLink® has carried out numerous upgrades to about 150 of its networking infrastructure located in the rural areas for expanding the broadband service. Brandon Yergey, spokesperson for CenturyLink® said, “Through the construction of new fiber cable and upgrading additional existing facilities to rural wire centers across the state, more than 13,000 additional customer locations benefited from improved speeds, some reaching 80 Mbps. Speeds vary based on distance limitations.”

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Upgrading Additional Existing Facilities

Numerous households and businesses operating in these rural areas will immensely benefit from this broadband upgrade. Colorado is the only state for which CenturyLink® received public funding for extending the broadband to rural areas. Anthony Neal-Graves, executive director of the Colorado Broadband Office said, “Improving broadband access in rural areas is a critical goal in Colorado. We need to ensure that federal funds that have made this investment possible, along with private investment, make the biggest impact in our state.”

According to Guy Gunther, the vice president of operations for CenturyLink® in Colorado, the company is dedicated to improving internet connectivity to the people like other internet providers. He stated, “Our promise is to continue our investment in our Colorado network, providing fast and affordable high-speed internet to customers across the state and helping to close the urban-rural divide.”

14 Jul

AT&T® Under Heavy Fire For Supporting Internet Protests

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Supporting Internet Protests

AT&T® might not be the first Telco to find itself on the wrong side of the internet outrage. AT&T® had been an opponent of the government’s 2015 net neutrality rules for long and had once sued FCC in a failed bid to make them throw away the tougher rules. However, this has not stopped them from supporting Wednesday’s Day of Action, which is a day of online protest organized by the non-profit group named Fight for the Future.

The protest day was organized to speak out in favor of all the existing government regulations that are supporting and protecting an Open Internet policy. However, unlike the other service providers like Google®, Amazon®, Netflix®, and Facebook®, who have also support the fight, AT&T® might benefit from the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to revert the net neutrality rules and guidelines that were put forward by Tom Wheeler under the Obama Administration.

This might be the reason why it seemed so odd to the activists when they saw AT&T® coming out to push back against the rules, which is expected to allow the different cheap internet service providers to throttle the traffic to some of the websites.

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Net Neutrality Rules And Guidelines

“AT&T® are lying when they say they support net neutrality, while actively opposing it,” Fight for the Future Campaign Director, Evan Greer said. “If they want to support the Title II protections that we have now, which prevent them from shaking down Web sites for extra fees as part of ‘paid prioritization’ schemes, we’d be glad to have them as part of this protest. Until then, they’re just making noise to continue their campaign of misinformation.”

“This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T® is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free Internet,” AT&T® lobbyist, Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post. “But that’s exactly the point—we all agree that an open Internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world.”

It is reported that AT&T® supports the basic rules that prevent the throttling of websites, even though the post from Quinn does not say that they would support banning the paid prioritization plan that will allow best internet providers like AT&T® charge websites or businesses for faster access.

14 Jul

Cox® To Renew Nationwide Deployment Of Gigabit Services By 2020

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Nationwide Deployment Of Gigabit Services

Cox Communications® has renewed its strategy of deploying gigabit services across the country by the year 2020. By implementing this nationwide strategy, Cox® intends to become the fastest internet provider offering gigabit internet services to the customers. Previously, the telecom provider has made several unsuccessful attempts in expanding its gigabit speed offering across the country.

Cox® has entered with its 1-gig services into parts of 13 states among its 18 state footprint. Their latest announcement of nationwide gigabit deployment will pave the way for improving the internet connectivity and speeds across most regions in the country.

Recently, Cox® declared that it intends to use a strategy that involves both fiber and DOCSIS 3.1 to achieve the rollout of its 1-gig services. The deployment of fiber between its network and DOCSIS 3.1 will further expand its gigabit services across more regions of the country. In view of this, the provider has made plans in carrying out several large-scale upgrades of its HFC plant to DOCSIS 3.1 by putting new Converged Cable Accessed Platform systems (CCAP). According to Cox®, about a third of the CCAP installation would be carried out by the end of the year.

Cox® Vice President, Philipp Nutsugah stated, “Cox®, at the end of the day, is a connectivity company. And so, take the city of San Diego for instance, not only have we built out… fiber to the home in the city of San Diego, we also have a significant deployment of business B2B fiber.”

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Converged Cable Accessed Platform Systems

This will facilitate the availability of the D3.1 service to the customers by the year-end. However, the DOCSIS 3.1 service will be only available to the customers by next year.

“We’ve got some real interesting partnerships on the Wi-Fi side of the house so in the gas-lamp district, as an example, we worked with the city of San Diego… for them to allow us to hang, unobtrusively, Wi-Fi access points on those historic streetlamps throughout that district,” Nutsugah further added. “We’ve partnered with them to have Cox® Wi-Fi all through Balboa Park. We got on the USS Midway. So we have worked very closely with the city of San Diego to have that connectivity available.”

By implementing a combination of fiber and node plus zero, Cox® will be able to offer much larger bandwidth and capacity for other features such as public Wi-Fi services. Moreover, Cox’s significant investments in broadband connectivity across the country will also make possible the development of smart cities in the near future.

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