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19 Aug

CenturyLink® Deploys Field Trials Of Adtran Virtual 10G – PON Platform

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Adtran Virtual 10G – PON Platform

CenturyLink® has commenced the field trials of Adtran’s virtualized Optical Line Terminal (OLT) 10G-PON platform. The trials involve the use of Mosaic operating system of Adtran for making Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) in its networks. CenturyLink® is making this new move as a means to enter into the SD-Access technology in its network that has already deployed the Passive Optical Networking (PON) system.

Adtran is a key provider of open networking solutions and the deployment of SD-Access will allow CenturyLink® to make its networks more flexible and manageable. CenturyLink® is also offering 10-gigabit symmetrical PON (XGS-PON) and the latest PON (NG-PON2).

The networking technologies function via a single fiber optic cable that is divided to supply numerous end points in different access layers such as residential and enterprise. Jay Wilson, Adtran’s senior vice president of technology and strategy said, “Adtran Mosaic OS is a key component of the industry’s most open and complete SD-Access architecture. The solution spans the entire access network from the cloud edge to subscriber edge, providing services delivery and support for all physical access media, allowing our customers to create best of breed networks.”

Commenting on that, Aamir Hussain, CenturyLink® executive vice president and chief technology officer said, “The move to an open, programmable and scalable access network will facilitate CenturyLink’s service agility and support faster deployment of services and applications for our customers. This solution will enable us to reduce operating costs through the economies of data center architectures and automate our networks as we look to offer 10G services and beyond.”

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Flexible And Manageable Networks

CenturyLink® recently accelerated its network virtualization efforts like other internet providers into a more hybrid nature. This involves using a mix of both the older hardware and latest software technologies offered. It is also to be noted that the Telco has made considerable investments in the past 25 years that amounts to about $64 billion for its network.

Hassan stated, “These investments are just to make sure that we bring customers the services they expect. When we move to a programmable network, it’s about having the right platforms with the right programs, software defined networking, and controlling that through our orchestration engine that allows us to manage the customer’s workloads and applications.”

Adtran uses PON technologies for linking CenturyLink’s network infrastructure. The Mosaic operating system of Adtran’s can function using both copper and fiber connections as well. Adtran being a leader in SD-Access technology will enable CenturyLink® to upgrade its networks to accommodate all the latest technologies and in its virtualization efforts.

18 Aug

AT&T® Hello Lab’s ‘Guilty Party’ Is Set For Launch

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Interactive High School Mystery TV Series

In a recent announcement, the officials from one of the best internet providers in the country, AT&T® announced that they would be launching a new interactive high school mystery TV series, titled as “Guilty Party.” The show will be available to viewers on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other “Guilty Party” social handles.

However, AT&T® has promised that the TV series will be airing on their latest streaming service, DirecTV Now® by the end of 2017. One of the major highlights of “Guilty Party” is that viewers will be able to play the role of detectives and identify who is exposing the secrets.

“Guilty Party” will tell the story of a group of teens who are forced to face their past as a high school bullying victim begins to take revenge on them for their past actions. The main cast members of the show are Tiffany Alvord, Teala Dunn, Kian Lawley, Miles McKenna, Jessie Paege, Alexis G. Zall, and Manolo Vergara.

Karyn Spencer, vice president of Creator Labs at AT&T® said, “AT&T® is passionate about connecting digital creators with their fans, pushing boundaries and challenging our audience to take positive action and consider different viewpoints. We hope that “Guilty Party” entertains, but also prompts viewers to develop positive solutions when they find themselves in similar situations in their lives.”

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Trending TV Series

The vice president of programming strategy at Fullscreen Media, Maude Standish said, “Guilty Party takes the YA genre one step further by making the narrative interactive. We saw firsthand the power of fandom throughout the first year of AT&T® Hello Lab, and we wanted to LEVERAGE that fan passion to tell a more dynamic story with Guilty Party. We’re excited to see how fans respond to their favorite creators doing something so different from their daily content.”

Viewers will gain clues via “Guilty Party” social channels, which will help them to solve the mystery of who is sharing the secrets of the teens. In addition to that, the cast members of the show will also be interacting with the audience and fans in the comments section of each and every episode of the new TV series. Reports also indicate that some of the cast members of the show will be involved with the Later Haters campaign of AT&T® and Fullscreen, which promotes kindness and positivity online.

17 Aug

Kansas Opts For AT&T’s FirstNet Broadband Network

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AT&T’s FirstNet Broadband Network

Medical, police, fire, and all other first responders in the state of Kansas will shortly gain access to dedicated wireless services for emergencies under the state’s FirstNet deal with one of the best internet providers in the country, AT&T®. Kansas has just become the thirteenth state in the country that has opted for AT&T’s FirstNet dedicated wireless broadband network.

Gov. Sam Brownback recently confirmed the fact to the public by announcing that the state has accepted the proposal from the telecom giant, AT&T®. As per the plan with Kansas State, the telecom company will build, maintain, and operate an efficient broadband network through a public private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority without any charges.

The officials from the telecom company stated that first responders would be easily able to gain access to the broadband network by simply signing up as paying customers. At the present, most of the first responders usually subscribe to Verizon®, AT&T®, or any other wireless internet providers, and communicate via tablets, phones, and other devices on the exact same network as other subscribers.

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Dedicated Wireless Broadband Network

Traffic from the first responders will continue to travel along with the traffic of other wireless customers in FirstNet network too. However, the good news is that the first responders will be having a preemptive claim on network capacity with FirstNet network, which means that other customers may also be temporarily knocked out from the service if needed. Earlier, the telecom giant called the feature as “ruthless preemption”.

Dick Heitschmidt, chief of police and chairman of the Kansas 9-1-1 Coordinating Council and Hutchinson, recently said, “There’s a whole host of things that are going to happen once this system gets built out.” FirstNet emerged as a reliable and efficient solution to communication issues during major emergencies such as tornadoes, Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and other events. First responders experienced severe communication problems during such horrible events before the service was introduced.

Reports indicate that Virgin Islands has also opted for the proposed broadband network. On the other hand, Missouri has not yet announced their plans for a FirstNet network, although reports say that it may happen very soon. States can either develop their own FirstNet network or team up with the best internet service provider, AT&T®, for the same.

17 Aug

AT&T® Launches Fixed Wireless Internet In Areas Of The Rural Triangle

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Connectivity Via Outdoor Antennas

AT&T® is now expanding their wireless broadband services across the Triangle to target the rural and the “underserved” areas. The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® is now offered in areas of western Wake County and eastern Chatham County, AT&T® announced on Monday. The Fixed Wireless Internet standalone will be offered for a charge of sixty dollars per month with one-year contract.

AT&T® started to roll out the service in June and the service was introduced in areas of Georgia first, spreading to the other states gradually. This new service from AT&T® is built around connectivity offered via outdoor antennas and indoor Wi-Fi gateways. The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® includes:

  • High-speed internet service that offers download speeds of minimum 10 Mbps
  • 160 GB of internet data per month – if the limit of internet data is exceeded, AT&T® will offer additional data in increments of 50 GB for ten dollars. They will offer up to a maximum of twenty such increments costing 200 dollars.
  • Wi-Fi connection for more than one device like tablets, laptops, gaming consoles, etc.
  • Wired Ethernet connection for up to four devices

Installation Of The Service

AT&T® says that getting their Fixed Wireless service is very easy and includes three steps – Survey, Installation, and Connection.

Survey – In this step, AT&T® technicians will find the best place to install the equipment for the Fixed Wireless Internet service.

Install – The installation of the service is real quick and easy. An AT&T® technician will install an antenna that can communicate with the nearest tower to get the most reliable and strongest wireless signal.

Connect – The technician will then help you connect your devices to the Fixed Wireless Internet service.

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Reliable And Stronger Wireless Signal

AT&T® said that they would continue to expand the Fixed Wireless cheap internet service to offer it to about 13,000 locations by the end of 2020. “The nearly 6,500 men and women who work for AT&T® and call North Carolina home, are proud to work with our local, state and federal leadership to provide the connectivity that North Carolina’s residents and businesses demand,” said Robert Doreauk, regional director of external affairs for AT&T® North Carolina. “Through this innovative service, we are working to close the connectivity gap in North Carolina.”

The funding for the Fixed Wireless Internet service is offered via the FCC Connect America Fund. Apart from AT&T®, CenturyLink®, Frontier Communications®, and many others are also receiving FCC funds to expand high-speed internet connectivity.

16 Aug

CenturyLink® Enters Into Agreement With King & Union To Resell Its Security Collaboration Platform

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Agreement With King & Union

CenturyLink® has entered into an agreement with King & Union, a security company that will authorize it to become a reseller for its security analysis collaboration platform. This will enable the Telco to sell the numerous security collaboration platform and services offered by the company to its commercial and government customers.

The Avalon platform of King & Union will enable the users to cultivate more awareness and provide general information about the cyber security threats through graphing and visualization. With this platform, the users are allowed collaborate on the threats and intelligence via automated threat improvement services.

Erich Sanchack, CenturyLink’s senior vice president and general manager for federal solutions said, “CenturyLink®  is excited to be King & Union’s first reseller and go-to-market partner for its cyber analysis collaboration platform. We’re committed to the nation’s cybersecurity mission and to providing customers with industry-leading cyber security measures and analysis that improve an organization’s cyber risk posture. Avalon complements CenturyLink’s managed security services offerings, including CenturyLink’s Enhanced Cybersecurity Services offering authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

The Avalon platform will also act as a collaboration platform by creating an interactive community of analysts specializing in cyber security. This encourages more collaboration among the users and peers for various aspects of cyber investigation and its related findings. Moreover, this platform will also provide an excellent way for users to work together without sharing any of the sensitive and classified information.

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Managed Security Services Offerings

This is an excellent advantage to information sharing and analysis among the members of the community. CenturyLink®, being one of the best in class internet providers, will provide the government and commercial client with the necessary security measures in their operations through this deal. Besides its best internet service, CenturyLink® also offers other services such cloud, managed hosting and IT via its reliable network, which will be immensely useful for King & Union.

The Managed Security Services suite offered by CenturyLink® is available as a standalone service or an add-on service for existing customers. This will be of particular benefit to government agencies and commercial customers in improving their network security and response against any cyber attacks. Joan Cassidy, King & Union President said, “King & Union is thrilled to be working with CenturyLink®, an established leader in public-private cyber information sharing efforts and an innovative provider of security services.”

11 Aug

CBS Networks Comes To DirecTV Now®

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CBS Networks Added

DirecTV Now®, the live TV service from one of the leading internet providers, AT&T® has already become one of the most favorite choices of cord cutters in a short span of time. However, it seems that AT&T® is planning to lure in more cord cutters towards the streaming service by adding CBS and its networks to the streaming platform.

In a recent announcement, the officials from AT&T® confirmed that they have signed an agreement with CBS, which will allow them to live stream from the local CBS and The CW stations in approximately 25 markets in the country. The telecom company also indicated that these stations would be available to DirecTV Now® customers in all the packages.

However, other popular networks such as Showtime, CBS Sports Network, and Pop will be available to subscribers on select premium tiers. Additionally, DirecTV Now® customers who wish to access and watch the contents of Showtime would be able to subscribe the channel as an add on to their current DirecTV Now® plan.

The first United States metros to gain access to The CW and CBS in their DirecTV Now® packages include Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Philadelphia, Chicago, L.A., and New York.

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Directv Now® Plans

AT&T® is hopeful that the recent addition of Showtime network to DirecTV Now® will attract more cord cutters to the service. This is because their streaming service offers the network to customers for just $8 a month, which is actually the lowest monthly rate offered by a streaming service provider.

The officials from the telecom company also added that they would be adding the Pop channel in the DirecTV Now® “Just Right” plan, while the CBS Sports Network will be available to DirecTV Now® customers who have subscribed to the “Go Big” plan. The officials refused to share any details on when these channels will be made available to customers but reports indicate that this will happen within a month or two.

The telecom company, AT&T® also added that they are planning to bring at least 30 more NBC, Fox, and ABC affiliates to DirecTV Now® shortly. This means that the streaming service from AT&T® will contain more than 170 live and local channels, which makes it a great alternative to cable TV. So if you have access to the best internet service, you should definitely check out DirecTV Now®.

10 Aug

Comcast® Testing New ‘Manage Channels’ Feature On Its X1 Platform

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New ‘Manage Channels’ Feature

Comcast® is carrying out numerous trials and testing on its Xfinity® X1 platform for enhancing the services. The latest testing carried on the X1 platform includes collecting, surfacing, and presenting every of the premium channels available along with the increasing mix of subscription VOD services to the regular pay TV package of the customer.

Comcast® has named this feature as ‘Manage Channels’ and is currently being tested with a limited set of subscribers of the X1 platform. Through this testing, the Telco, which is also one of the fastest internet providers in the US, intends to create more awareness among the subscribers related to these services.

The currently testing of the Manage Channels feature offers the customers with more control over the content offered to them by letting them access and manage it more effectively. The success of this new feature is imminent as about the X1 subscriber base amounts to about 55 percent of the total residential video customer base of Comcast®.

Comcast® has been making several rounds of upgrades into its X1 platform. These upgrades include several additions of new features into the existing system. The inclusion of that has considerably enhanced the services of the X1 platform and provided the customers with more facilities in the accessing and viewing of broadcasted content. The new Manage Channels option is accessible to the set of subscribers through the X1 Apps section.

This feature offers the subscribers with numerous choices such as Premium Channels, Subscription On Demand Channels, Sports Entertainment Packages and International Packages. The customers are also provided with the ability to include various services through the interface and verify the ones that they have already subscribed. The testing of the new Manage Channels feature by Comcast® is to firmly establish the SVOD services.

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Residential Video Customers

This will enable them to increase their revenues generated from the X1 platform and in setting up themselves as an aggregator for these services. Previously, Comcast® chairman and CEO, Brian Roberts stated that, “X1 has been a game changer for us…We’re an aggregator of aggregators.” The new aggregation also shows that the subscription VOD services are a growing mix and are available to the customers.

The mix of subscriber VOD services is offered along with the premium services offered by Comcast® such as Showtime, HBO, and Starz. Comcast® has also made it clear that OTT video options will also be made available on the X1 platform soon. At present, the provider has included Netflix into its platform and plans to further integrate YouTube and Sling TV to Xfinity® X1.

10 Aug

AT&T® Is Not Planning To Quit On CNN

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Five Billion Acquisition Deal

AT&T® said that they are not looking to spin off the news channel CNN as part of their eight five billion acquisition deal of Time Warner®. This declaration from AT&T® has put to rest all the speculations about the fate of the news network as the deal is still under the review of the Justice Department.

John Stankey, who is the head of AT&T® Entertainment group, said that they see cable news as important as live sports. “It would be a strategically missed opportunity if we weren’t in that business,” Stankey said. He also added that CNN would continue to be editorially independent. This can be a likely nod to the criticisms of the news outlet by President Trump.

In his 2016 campaign, President Trump had promised to block the acquisition of Time Warner® by AT&T® over the concern that the resulting company would be much powerful in the media world. The President’s move was considered unusual, as professionals at the Federal Trade Commission, or the Justice Department, do most of the merger reviews, independent of the President’s office.

President Trump said during his election campaigns that he sees the merger “as an example of the power structure I’m fighting. AT&T® is buying Time Warner® and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

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Top Rated Channels

The specific mention of CNN by the President prompted some of the analysts to think if his opposition of the merger is due to his dissatisfaction with the coverage of the CNN network of him. This perception of the analysts was reinforced when the New York Times reported that the President’s office was considering using the deal as a leverage against the CNN network. However, with the guarantee of CNN’s independence from Stankey, who will be overseeing HBO, CNN, and other media properties of Time Warner® after the deal is completed successfully, it seems that AT&T® is trying to remove all doubts about the future of Cable News Network.

Both Time Warner® and AT&T® said that they are expecting the deal to close by the end of the year, however, AT&T® executives did not respond to request for comments. Experts in telecommunications industry believe that the merger may result in the formation of the fastest internet provider and cable company of the country, but we will have to wait for that.

09 Aug

Comcast® Partners With FX Networks To Provide Ad-Free Service To Subscribers

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Ad-Free Service To Subscribers

Comcast® has partnered with FX Networks to commence a new subscription service titled as FX+. This premium service is available for an additional cost of $5.99 per month for the subscribers of Xfinity® platform and includes ad-free access to all the currently airing TV series and other shows. The new service from Comcast® will be launched on September 5 and would be much different from the streaming apps rolled out by CBS and other major television networks.

This new collaboration with FX is a great way for the Xfinity® subscribers to access the quality programming offered that includes many of its well regarded TV series and shows. The FX+ paid service will offer about 1000 episodes from some of the most admired TV series such as Sons of Anarchy, Terriers, Damages, American Horror Story, etc. Also included in the FX+ service are FX channel and FXX, the sister network of the broadcaster, which will be made available on Comcast’s Xfinity® platform.

Previously, Comcast® released a simultaneous broadcast streaming service, AMC Premiere, which was available for just $4.99 per month. This streaming service also included the airing of commercial free episodes of numerous running series such as The Walking Dead. FX+ is the second streaming service offered by Comcast® that allows for an extension of the subscription for a basic cable channel.

John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions stated, “This is an exciting day for FX Networks because it represents the next step in building a consumer experience as good as our original programming brand. We have been diligent about recapturing the in-season stacking rights for all current original programming and recapturing the rights to all seasons of a large portion of our legacy of great original series.”

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New Subscription Service

Matt Strauss, Executive Vice President and General Manager for Video and Entertainment Services at Comcast® said, “FX has built a brand known for high-quality, award-winning original content, and we are pleased to partner with John Landgraf and the team at FX to offer premium experiences like FX+ to Xfinity® TV customers, and explore what it means to be a network in the future.”

The subscribers of the new FX+ service can access the contents through Xfinity® On Demand, Xfinity® Stream app, FX NOW, and the service website. FX+ will remain as an upgrade option for the subscribers of Xfinity® TV. Subscribers can easily upgrade to the FX+ service through the Xfinity® set top boxes as well as by visiting the website or calling the Xfinity® service.

08 Aug

AT&T® Appoint GroupM CEO Brian Lesser To Lead A New Advertising Unit

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Premium Video And TV Advertising

AT&T® has hired Brian Lesser, former CEO of GroupM North America, to head an advertisement and business analytics unit of the Telco giant. Lesser would leave the leading position of WPP media agencies and will report directly to Randall Stephenson, CEO and Chairman of AT&T®.

“Brian is a terrific executive and one of the best there is in harnessing technology and data to create targeted advertising,” Stephenson said in a recent statement. AT&T® provides the best internet service in the US, but the internet and cable subscribers should note that the appointment would apply to the media assets. However, AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner® is still pending, and is under review by the US Department of Justice and legislators.

It is unclear if the advertisement sales executives at Time Warner® and Turner cable networks would report to Brian Lesser when the AT&T® – Time Warner® merger goes through. However, Stephenson said, “Once we complete our acquisition of Time Warner® Inc., we believe there is an opportunity to build an automated advertising platform that can do for premium video and TV advertising what the search and social media companies have done for digital advertising.”

Both Time Warner’s Turner network, as well as Comcast’s NBCUniversal, has offered various products letting advertisers use the customer data and place TV commercials timely. Further, many of the TV outlets roll out programmatic advertising products, which allow for the buying of advertisement inventory via bids. Programmatic advertising is the algorithmic buying and sales of commercial space in real time and it uses software to automate the buying of commercial space.

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Advertising And Insights Business

“Advertising is evolving from broad messages delivered through traditional media channels, to customized, individual content coordinated across all connected devices,” Lesser said. “AT&T has amazing assets for creating engaging advertising experiences for consumers. I am excited to work with Randall and the entire AT&T team to build a world-class advertising and insights business.”

As per an AT&T® spokesperson, Brian Lesser would lead “an advertising and analytics business using the company’s unique customer data and growing content assets.” On the other hand, GroupM® is in search of a replacement for Brian Lesser, and Kelly Clark, global CEO of GroupM®, would hold the interim position in the absence of Lesser.


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