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31 Jan

Why is the Subscriber Count of Netflix® Soaring High

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When Netflix® reported their fourth quarter results, the subscriber growth of the company continued the steady march upwards. The percent of the global paying customers increased by 26% per year to more than 139 million. The inclusion of 8.84 million subscribers has exceeded the 7.6 million users anticipated by Netflix®. They continue to confound skeptics by bypassing their own forecasts. However, what is leading to the addition of more subscribers.

Netflix® has long known that it is the content that matters. Since their starting, they have made use of massive amount of data that they have collected from their viewers to find out the money to be spent for their various licensing programs, the list of original programs that would be appealing to more people, and the genres to invest in. As per the latest research, this can be a good advantage for Netflix.

“Certified Fresh” Movies

Various analyses made, focusing on streaming television and cord cutting shows that Netflix® offers more movies that the viewers wish to watch when compared to the other streaming service providers. The data was used from Rotten Tomatoes to compare the popularity of the movies that are found on the top most streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video, AT&T’s HBO Now®, Hulu, and Netflix®. A movie that is deemed “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes will be maintaining a rating of 75% or more getting 80 reviews for a wide release and 40 reviews for a limited release.

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The analysis found that Netflix® had more than 596 “Certified Fresh” movies in their catalog, which is much more than Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now® combined. Amazon had the greatest selection of movies with 17,461 movies, which is followed by Netflix® with 3,839 movies, Hulu with 2,336 movies and HBO Now® with 815 movies.

Netflix® wins the battle when it comes to quality as well. While 15.5% of the movies that were available for streaming on Netflix® were “Certified Fresh”, Hulu had 9.6%, HBO Now® stood at 4.7%, and Amazon Prime, just 1.3%. This is just one measurement. However, it shows the improving quality of the library of content of Netflix®, which is attracting more and more customers to the streaming service.

22 Jan

4 Ways to Get Internet for a Lower Monthly Cost

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Monthly Internet Cost

Even if you are happy with your existing internet service provider, you might still be paying more for the service. Some ways to find a cheap internet service or lower your monthly bills are outlined below.

Reduce your Internet Speed

A few internet providers offer plans that promise downstream speeds of 100 megabits per second or more. However, not all residential users require that much speed. You could choose a different plan and decrease your bill by 35 dollars or more, depending upon your service provider. Determine the internet speed you want, and contact the carrier to choose a different or lower speed tier package. This speed requirement might depend on your monthly usage; if you do basic surfing and stream video and audio on a single device, you can choose an alternative plan that is lower in price.

Negotiate your Internet Bill

Tell your service provider that you have found a cheap internet plan elsewhere, and that you need to opt for it instead. Be polite yet firm enough in conveying this to your existing carrier. The better you back up this stance, the better the leverage you will have. So research promotional prices your provider and its rivals offer to new customers now – be ready to cancel the service and subscribe to another one that offers a better deal in comparison.

Bundle your Services

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If you already subscribe to cable, then you can save over 1,000 dollars in the course of two years with some service providers by bundling it with internet. Be wary of the upsell. Some operators may try to talk customers into extra speed or TV channels for 5 or 10 dollars a month. That monthly increase adds up to a bigger cost over time, and in turn defeats your main aim – to save money.

Use your Own Cable Modem as Well as Router

If you are planning to stay with one ISP for a few (contractual) years, it might be even more cost-effective to use your own equipment unit rather than renting the hardware. Many services charge 10 to 15 dollars a month to rent it. If you stay with such types of providers for a couple of years, the overall costs would be 240 to 360 dollars. You can purchase a top-rated router and modem for less than 200 dollars. Moreover, remember that some service providers will not offer support or personal hardware troubleshooting.

11 Jan

Digital Divide and the Initiatives to Tackle it

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Digital Communication Facts

The term ‘digital divide’ refers to the connectivity gap, meaning the gap between regions and demographics that have access to today’s communications and information technology, and those that have limited access or no access at all. This technology can comprise telephone, TV, personal computers, as well as the internet.

Before the twentieth century, the term referred mainly to the division between people or regions with telephone access and those without it. After the late 1990’s though, its use primarily started to describe the divide between those with and without access to the internet, especially broadband.

This divide usually exists between people in cities and rural areas, between educated and uneducated sections of society, socioeconomic groups, and the more as well as less industrially developed countries. Even among a population with some access to today’s technology, the divide can be apparent in the form of slower personal computers, lower-speed Wi-Fi connections, and restricted subscription-based content access.

In this day and age, the digital divide is a reality even in developed nations. For instance, not all areas in the United States of America have access to the broadband internet. Even as technology keeps becoming more and more affordable and internet access keeps expanding across the country, studies have revealed that millions of Americans still lack a cheap and reliable internet broadband connection. Many of them who lack the access to it reside in rural areas.

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The digital divide affects peoples’ lives in many different ways. Since they are deprived of access to the internet, some of them have to rely on public internet access spots. However, this divide deprives them of job or education opportunities.

While adoption of smartphone technology is growing even among low-income and minority groups, data plans’ rising costs and the complexity of doing tasks as well as transactions on phones can hinder the closing of the connectivity gap in some ways. Still, the US takes steps to tackle the digital divide. The best internet service providers have a commitment to reach out to underserved or unserved areas in the country to the Federal Communications Commission. They also offer low-cost or best internet service that unserved or underserved subscribers can afford.

Besides, major internet providers take initiatives to improve the digital literacy of rural or low-income people. Some of them even provide free laptops or computers to those who do not have the same, to access the web.

07 Jan

3 Surefire Ways to Cut the Cord and Their Benefits

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Are you tired of very high prices, hidden fees, as well as the customer service that several satellite and cable cum internet providers offer? What about programming packages with channels you do not really need? Then, it may be high time for you to cut the cord.

For years, big broadcasting companies and cable TV providers have had the exclusive rights to carry a number of premium channels on their TV platforms. As a result, they were the means for audiences to access their desired programs, but that is no longer the case.

Nowadays, you do not necessarily require a cable service or subscription to receive these TV channels. In case you need content for free, one of the best ways for that is to go the free streaming route. In case you need regular TV programs for a relatively cheaper price, then you could subscribe to one or more streaming services.

As you can see, there are a few cord cutting options for you. Let us take a closer look at what each of them comprises.

Option One: Antenna

In the era of cord cutting, television antennas are back in style! An antenna lets you get TV shows from over-the-air (OTA) channels. You simply have to connect either an indoor antenna or outdoor antenna to your TV set to get programs from any network-affiliate or local channels.

In case you need to get free programs from your preferred networks, then this is the ideal way to do it. It is also one of the simplest methods to cut the cord. However, it is important to note that a customer having an analog TV set might have to use a “converter box” for digital.

Option Two: Streaming

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Streaming TV Services

Streaming basically means you can access TV shows and movies over the web. With this method, you do not need to have satellite or cable services, or a TV antenna. However, you do require a speedy internet connection that is suited for your data usage.

Most internet providers give information about speed tier plans and what they are suited for, on their websites, so customers can easily choose plans as per their data consumption patterns or requirements.

Option Three: Antenna Plus Streaming

This is the priciest option for cord cutters. Still, it allows you to access free local channels over the air, while still letting you get more content over the web. This is also an ideal option as it brings a lot of content that you get to watch on-demand.

09 Oct

Explaining the Plans and Packages by Charter Spectrum®

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The impressive internet speeds and plenty of bundling perks offered by Charter Spectrum® have urged several internet users in the country to subscribe to Charter’s internet service. There are no monthly data caps in most of Charter’s internet plans and customers does enjoy the luxury of browsing internet at speed ranging from 60 to 940 Mbps.

The price of Spectrum’s telecom services may increase after the first twelve months after signing up for the service. However, the telecom service provider usually covers the early termination fees of their new customers up to a maximum of 500 dollars, which is pretty amazing.

Customers who bundle either two or three of Charter’s telecom services will be able to save hundreds of dollars. In addition, bundling will also open up attractive promotional deals as available in your area. The lighting fast internet service offered by Spectrum® is sufficient for a big household to surf, download, and stream contents with zero delays or interruptions. Let us check out some of the best plans offered by Charter Spectrum®.

Bundling Options

Triple Play Select

Customers who wish to bundle their TV, internet, and home phone services together should consider opting for Spectrum’s Triple Play Select plan. This plan is available to customers for 99.97 dollars a month for the first twelve months. Customers who subscribe to this Spectrum® plan will gain access to over 125 popular channels.

The best thing about this plan is that customers will be able to browse internet and stream video contents at a minimum internet speed of 100 Mbps. Apart from that, unlimited nationwide calling and more than 35 popular home phone features are also included in the Triple Play Select plan.

Triple Play Silver

Triple Play Silver is another bundled plan offered by Charter Spectrum® and it is available to customers for 119.97 dollars per month for the first year after signing up for the service. More than 175 popular channels are included in the Triple Play Silver plan. In addition to that, subscribers will be able to access the contents of premium channels like CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, and HBO.

Some of the channels are available to users in High-Definition or HD format. The reliable internet service of Spectrum® offers an incredible minimum speed of 100 Mbps with this plan. Nearly 28 exciting phone features and unlimited calling all over the nation are added perks of opting for Spectrum’s Triple Play Silver plan.

Triple Play Gold

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Customers who wish to gain access to more TV channels should settle for the Triple Play Gold bundled package of Charter Spectrum® because this plan offers you access to over 200 popular channels. Free HD channels, premium channels, and some other popular channels in the United States are included in this plan.

The starting internet speed customers will be able to enjoy with this plan is around 100 Mbps. Just like all other bundled plans of Spectrum®, unlimited nationwide calling and more than 25 excellent phone features will also be available to customers who choose the Triple Play Gold plan. The price of this bundled package is 139.97 dollars a month for the first twelve months.

Standalone TV packages

Spectrum TV®

The stand-alone TV service from Charter Spectrum®, Spectrum TV® is the ideal option for customers who are looking for just a TV service. More than 200 popular channels are available in HD with this plan. Moreover, customers who select this plan will be able to access over 10,000 On Demand choices and the Spectrum TV® app. The Spectrum TV® is available to customers for just 44.99 dollars a month for the first year.

Spectrum Internet®

Customers who are looking only for an internet service should consider choosing the Spectrum Internet® plan. The minimum internet speed available with this plan is around 100 Mbps. The best thing about Spectrum Internet® is that there are no monthly data limits, which makes the plan suitable for heavy internet users. Finally, users will also receive a free modem when they subscribe to the Spectrum Internet® plan.

Spectrum Voice®

The home phone service of Charter Spectrum® has become quite popular among internet users in recent years. This home phone plan is available to customers for just 9.99 dollars per each month for the first year when it is bundled with Spectrum’s other telecom services. Unlimited long distance and local calling to Northern Mariana Island, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada.

Apart from that, more than 25 excellent home phone features are included with this home phone plan. Some of the features customers will be able to enjoy are Call Waiting with Caller ID, Forward All Calls, Block Outbound Caller ID, Accept Selected Callers, Block Unwanted Callers, Block Collect Calls, 3-Way Calling, Call Waiting, and more.

14 Sep

Tips to Increase the Speed of Internet Connection

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Internet Speed Tips

Many things affect internet speed, including peak usage or network traffic. If you are experiencing slowness in your internet connection, try these things to improve speed. While it is a good thing to have high-speed tiers in your best internet service, what you do with it is equally important. While it is not possible to boost the speed of your internet connection beyond the speed for which you are paying your internet service provider, you still have to make sure a few things to get the maximum possible speed.

Note that these are general pointers, which most carriers recommend to improve speed. Also, check out other suggestions for that from your internet service provider. For instance, if your best internet service provider has announced a latest and upgraded speed tier plan, then it will tell you to reset your router or modem to get it.

Test the Speed First

Testing your actual downstream and upstream speeds will give you an idea of how close they are in relation to the advertised speeds. Many internet providers advertise download speeds of up to a certain a megabits or gigabits per second. If you are getting close to what is advertised in your best internet service, then be sure your carrier is only adopting industry-wide standards. If, however, the speed tests reveal a noticeable disparity, then get in touch with your carrier. It is likely it will suggest some changes to improve speed.

Reduce the Distance between your System and Router

If you are further away from your wireless router, you will notice speed drops. Thus, stay as proximate as possible to it. Also, ensure your computer and router have sufficient space all the way around in order to avoid overheating. If you have more room to cover at home, then consider adding wireless range extenders to maximize signal strength. You can buy it from your best internet service provider at an affordable cost than a new router.

Limit Access to your Network

If they are configured for it, some devices connect to a network as and when they come within range. If there is a setting in your smart device that receives the signal and then gets connected that way, then it is best to turn it off. Also, ensure only the devices you know have access to the network. If someone else is accessing it without your permission, perhaps it is time to change the Wi-Fi password.

Keep Line of Sight Obstacles Out of the Way

If the signal of your router has to pass through even an appliance, it will not be strong as you expected it to be. As a rule of thumb, keep your router in plain sight from where you are using your system or smartphone. Obviously, if it is on a distinct level than your device, then you will face signal problems.

Use Ethernet Connection in Place of Wireless

Plug in an Ethernet cable at the back of your computer to work around the delay taken by your system to receive a wireless signal. With the right Ethernet cable, you can get steady and fast speeds than perhaps what your wireless connection offers.

Other Ways to Improve Internet Speed

Restart your Internet Devices

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Restart your computer, and turn off and turn on your modem or router. These can resolve most connection issues as well.

Update the Firmware of your Router

If your router’s firmware is outdated, then it can prevent the equipment from maintaining a stable connection. This is important if you have been using it for over a year or two. If a replacement is due, then consider buying a new router to improve its signal reception.

Clear the Temporary Internet Files

Most internet providers recommend customers to clear caches and/or cookies to have an impact on page load speed. Although cached data allows a website to load quickly after accessing it once, it will lead to connection issues or errors in case the cache of a site does not match the records of your web browser.

Update your Browser and Operating System

An outdated browser can lead to slow page load times, choppy streaming of videos over the web, and many other things. Keeping your browser up to date makes it stable. The operating system update can also help in this respect.

Get Rid of System Malware

Viruses or malicious files slow down a computer, not to mention installed programs in it. Run a system scan and quarantine malware and get rid of potentially unwanted programs if required. This can improve the performance of your computer performance too. Therefore, it is worth running a system scan from time to time.

However, try not to activate the default update feature of your antivirus program as that could consume the remaining data in your internet plan and thereby affect speed.

07 Sep

3 Ways to Get the Most Value Out of an Internet Service

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Whether you already have subscribed to one of the top internet providers or are looking forward to doing so, you should note these things to get the most of your internet service. You need to single out an ISP who offers the best speed, bandwidth and other options. Still, make the most of your data plan with these pointers.

Improved Speeds

Even when you are getting good downstream and upstream speeds, you still have to ensure certain things to get the best internet in this respect. If you keep an eye on the following things, you can improve speeds.

  • Make sure there are no services uploading, downloading and/or backing up cellular data to a cloud service in the background.
  • Make sure no device is connected to and is consuming data. If you have data caps, this will affect further data you could use or speeds if the limit exceeds.
  • Reset your equipment, comprising the router.
  • Test speeds with one connected device at a time in order to find out which device is using most data.
  • Replace old software and hardware and upgrade the firmware of your router.
  • Use your devices closer to your router and make sure a line of sight communication is there or no blockage exists between both.
  • Get rid of unwanted malware and virus on your device with antivirus software. Also, ensure its auto-update feature is turned off.
  • Use an updated web browser. Also, clear its cached files from time to time.

Consider your Data Requirement

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Make sure your internet package is one that is tailored to your data requirement. Usually, with an unlimited plan, you can download plenty of content or binge-watch TV shows online prior to your data caps start limiting speeds. In any event, you certainly need an unlimited plan for large data per month. On the other hand, if you use less data, a pay by the gigabyte internet plan will perhaps suit you. In other words, a pay by the gig plan means you will be charged for the data you consume in a billing cycle. There will be a specific monthly charge for up to one gigabyte.

Add-On Services

There are best internet service providers offering bundled packages to customers. You could bundle voice, data, and cable TV in a triple play package. If you only require less number of channels, it is best to go for a “skinny bundle”.

There could be other options to limit data usage such as parental controls or content filtering if your ISP provides the same. It will help you keep a tab on what your kids watch or stream, thereby impacting data.

03 Aug

Comcast Business® Wins the 2018 Best Practices Award

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Comcast Business® recently announced that they have won the Frost & Sullivan 2018 Best Practices Award for Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership in the North American Server Message Block VoIP services category. The judges of Frost & Sullivan gave Comcast® a 10/10 score for both the evaluation factors, as well as for customer impact. In addition, they appreciated the company’s spotlight on the SMB market, continual solution enhancements, and the resulting growth rates.

Frost & Sullivan analyzed factors such as superior leadership, customer service, strategic product development, and technological innovation. The business firm’s main goal is in driving positive industry change by recognizing companies, individuals, and products that fulfill the criteria.

The six VoIP services of Comcast Business® are Business VoiceEdge, Business VoiceEdge (PRI), Business Voice Mobility, Business Voice, Business VoiceEdge SIP, and Business VoiceEdge Select. The offerings of Business VoiceEdge are IP telephony offerings. It is designed for supporting SMBs need but is scalable to enterprises. Business VoiceEdge offers advanced calling systems like simultaneous rings, automated attendant, readable voicemail, and additionally, a mobile app for giving businesses top-end voice capabilities.

Frost & Sullivan mainly recognized the best internet provider Comcast® VoIP services for its rich and cost-effective web service, the breadth of the solutions portfolio, and the enhancements of advanced features in voice solutions. The comprehensive portfolio of data, voice, and value-added service by Comcast Business® can bundle connectivity services with unified communication solutions for simplifying their technology experience thereby providing one-stop shopping for SMBs.

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Elka Popova, the Vice President of Frost & Sullivan, said, “Comcast Business® stands out among its competitors. It has excelled over the years in terms of VoIP services user and revenue growth rates, and continues to pursue growth opportunities through ongoing solution enhancements, new service offerings, and unwavering commitment to serving the needs of SMB customers.”

John Guillaume, the Vice President of Product Management, UX and SaaS, Comcast Business®, said, “Receiving an award like this from such a respected analyst house is always a great honor. Add to that the fact that the two primary evaluation metrics are innovation and customer impact – two of the most important factors for any business – and that we received a perfect score in each of them, it just brings this award to a whole new level. As always, we plan to continue to improve and keep this momentum going forward with our VoIP offerings.”

27 Jul

What AT&T® Has at Stake for the Streaming and Cable Industry

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The best internet providers in the US are trying every bit to reduce the trait of cord cutting with newer offerings, even as new competitors have surfaced to rival them. Soon after the acquisition of Time Warner®, AT&T® announced the launch of streaming services, including one touted as a skinny bundle dubbed as “WatchTV”. The skinny bundle comes at a monthly cost of $15 and offers a select number of channels for binge-watchers to enjoy at their convenience. Further, the company has announced more streaming video services by 2018.

Another trait that followed suit was applicable to the cable industry as a whole. Some of the best internet providers, including AT&T®, have raised the price of their subscription-TV services by $5. The upcharge to the monthly cost of DIRECTV NOW® has made the cost of the pay-TV service of the Dallas-based Telco to $40 from $35. Another ISP or cable operator to have adopted a similar strategy earlier this year is Comcast®, who raised the price of their triple-play deals on XFINITY® by $5 per month.

Moreover, AT&T® reportedly increased the administrative fee they charge wireless subscribers from the previous 76 cents to $1.99. As per reports, the fee applied to subscribers who have contract-based wireless plans. The Telco giant has confirmed that the fee is applicable for the industry and that it helped cover costs incurred for maintenance of cell site and interconnection amid carriers.

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The AT&T® Unlimited plans begin at $70 per month for a single line and range up to $160 per month for 4 lines with auto pay. Subscribers who sign up for the Unlimited plan also get a select number of cable channels aside from data, voice, and text. The number of channels is not just the forte – that is why it has the characteristic of a quadruple play package.

On the other hand, the WatchTV offers a limited channel lineup, including those of Turner Broadcasting System, which is part of AT&T® WarnerMedia. The skinny bundle provides a more flexible deal for independent users or those who feel cord cutting is the only way to stream programming. The acquisition also paved way for the best internet provider to control and deploy WarnerMedia content, which comprises popular shows on HBO® like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and True Detective.

19 Jul

Charter Spectrum® and Cox® Bring Gigabit Speed to San Diego

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Internet Speed Upgradation

Recently, the top internet and cable TV providers in the US increased their internet speeds to gigabit in San Diego County in order to let subscribers handle growing requirements of data. The modern-day customers require speedy internet plans to access videos over several streaming platforms. That is why the cable operators are coming up with speed upgrades to the millions of households.

You might be a San Diego County resident having a cheap internet connection from any of the ISPs. Note that Comcast®, Cox®, and Charter Spectrum® have upgraded the service to gigabit speeds, so you have more options access the internet. Cox® said that the gigabit speed internet is now available in ninety-four percent of the coverage area in the county. However, Charter Spectrum® started offering the speeds back in April inside their San Diego footprint, which usually lies to its northern parts Interstate 8 and extends to Rancho Bernardo community as well as Carlsbad.

The high-speed internet is highly demanded by customers and with newer methods to stream videos over the web, ISPs can only come up with best practices such as speed upgrades and other methods to access the same. “We know YouTube is consuming a ton of data,” said the Cox® VP of Market for West Region, Suzanne Schlundt. “But there are also a lot of other devices in people’s homes.”

The gigabit internet speeds can let customers download an HD movie in a minute, a hundred songs in 3 seconds, and around 1000 photos in 60 seconds. “It used to take almost as long to download a movie as it did to watch it when you were getting ready to go on a flight,” Schlundt said. “With this, you can do it so much faster.”

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San Diego is amongst the cities with a latent demand for over-the-top or OTT video streaming from a cheap internet service provider. Many of the residential subscribers in the area have internet-supported streaming devices, which can be connected to the TV sets to stream videos.

Gigabit internet is the latest connectivity option that offers an alternative way to stream. No wonder the internet and cable TV providers are upgrading the download and upload speeds. Besides, these companies have been upgrading the networks to support the DOCSIS 3.1 standard in 2018. It provides gigabit internet connections without having to rely on fiber lines to each residence.

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