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08 Mar

Sling TV Expanding Its Sports Programming Packages

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Sports Programming

Sling TV, Dish Network’s OTT TV service, is widening its sports programming packages with the addition of NBR regional sports networks. This newly announced packages would be made available to the customers in selected markets later this month.

The new deal, which is announced at the start of the Major League Baseball season starting April 2, will be a delight to the customers in watching this favored sport shows on television. It will enable Sling Blue customers in accessing CSN California, CSN Bay Area, CSN Chicago, and CSN Mid-Atlantic at no additional charges involved. In addition to that, these regional networks will further aid in accessing additional NBA and NHL games.

This is an added benefit for Sling TV, as it receives MLB games national feeds from TBS, ESPN, Fox, and FS1. It is reported that YouTube is also set to jump in the v-MVPD market later this year, and would also get accessibility to regional sports networks from Fox and Yes Network. In fact, the new move by Sling matches directly with YouTube TV, as they had unveiled their plans of including regional sports networks from Comcast in their announcement earlier.

The new sports channels will be included into Sling TV’s $25 per month Blue package in selected markets only. With this, Sling TV has expanded its bundling options, appeal, and schedules since its launch into the streaming television industry in February 2015. It is only recently that the TV has introduced its extra programming packages with significant discounts in the package. It also included Kids Extra, Lifestyle Plus Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra recently to the offerings.

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Sling Sports Packages

Sling CEO, Roger Lynch has stated that, “Offering access to larger, more diverse OTT TV programming options is allowing Sling TV “to attract a much broader audience than we were able to in the beginning. Plus, we’re starting to get past at least the early phase of early adopters and able to attract people who are more comfortable switching to something like this now…We’re seeing a broadening in our demographic.”

One of the notable aspects of this announcement is that Sling TV is offering these regional sports networks for users in its core platforms and not confining it to the add-on tiers. Sling has also not raised the prices in process of its RSN additions, which is yet another noteworthy feature.

07 Mar

Sling TV Announces Extra Channel Package For $10

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Extra Channel Package

Sling TV has announced a new double channel lineup for the customers at a price of $10. This has been the result of a new pricing plan introduced by TV provider in delivering the favored channels to the customers at an affordable price. Currently, the new pricing option has an addition of over 40 networks at a subscription rate of $10 per month.

Sling has also offered its “Multi Extra Discount” that gives the subscribers an option for many channel packages including the Kids Extra, Lifestyle Plus Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra. The package was previously available at $20 and this new proposal effectively doubles the available channel options of Sling.

Sling Orange and Sling Blue customers are eligible for availing the packages included in this new offer. This will be a highly valuable option for both the customers to access some of the best channel packages available in the network. Through this plan, Sling Orange customers can get access to about 80 networks for just $30 a month.

For Sling Blue customers, the same numbers of networks are available for a fee of $35 per month. In addition to that, customers who have subscribed to both the Sling Blue and Sling Orange service will have access to about 90 networks for a monthly fee of $50. For existing customers already utilizing many of Sling’s packages like Sling TV Lifestyle Plus Extra, Kids Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra plan, there will be discount of $10 in their next bill.

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Multi Extra Discount

The Chief Marketing Officer for Sling TV, Glenn Eisen had stated about this new plan for the customers in a recent blog post. “Most people tell us they don’t want the ‘big, bigger, biggest’ bundles that come with old TV packaging like cable and DirecTV Now,” he said. “But, as more consumers leave traditional pay TV services, we’re seeing a growing consumer segment that is looking for a bigger channel lineup.”

Eisen further added that, “Sling TV’s model is centered around providing consumers with choice and control. This consumer-friendly model is further advantaged by industry-leading pricing. And now, we even beat DirecTV Now at their old TV pricing game.”

With this offer, Sling TV provides a good choice for the customers in adding on any extra networks and packages of their choice. The options for the addition of basic bundles or any extra packages like sports are also available in the service.

06 Mar

AT&T And Chevrolet Offer Unlimited In-Car Wi-Fi Data

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Unlimited Wi-Fi Data

In a recent statement, General Motors Co. stated that they would provide a $20 a month unlimited prepaid data plan for 4.1 million Chevrolet and to other GM vehicle users in the United States through the fastest internet provider, AT&T. The officials from General Motors Co. added that this service would only be available to vehicles, which are equipped with the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

This new offering will be available to customers by the first week of this month. Reports indicate that General Motors Co. is offering the new plan to Cadillac, GMC, and Buick vehicles that are equipped with the hotspot. This new initiative between AT&T and General Motors Co. came when both the parties discovered that Chevy owners in the country used over 4 million gigabytes of data in the year 2016.

More than 3.1 vehicles equipped with OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots were sold by Chevrolet in the last 3 years. The officials from the company also claimed that they have more vehicles that are equipped with a 4G LTE connection than any other carmaker.

The director of global communications for GM, Global Connected Customer Experience, and Urban Mobility, Vijay Iyer stated that the company hopes that this new offering will increase the subscriptions for data use. However, they refused to share any details on how many data customers it currently has.

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AT&T And Chevrolet

The basic data pass offered by OnStar is available to its customers for $5 per month and it gives them access to 250 megabytes of data per day. OnStar also offers a few more packages. For instance, customers who pay $20 a month will get access to 4 gigabytes of data, whereas those who pay $150 will get access to 20 gigabytes of data. The data plans are available through OnStar or through AT&T’s best internet service.

In a statement, the president of GM North America and global head of Chevrolet, Alan Batey said, “We have contractors bidding jobs in their Silverados, families streaming movies in their Suburbans and Malibus, and everyone tapping into the cloud for music. With the most affordable unlimited 4G LTE data plan in the auto industry, the widest availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and new connected services like OnStar AtYourService, our momentum can only grow.”

06 Mar

Comcast Increase Internet Speeds For Users In Houston

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One-Gigabyte Internet Speeds

Comcast Corporation has recently announced that they are increasing speeds of their best internet service, Performance Internet, for the current subscribers in the city of Houston free of charge. They said that the users of Performance Internet would see an increase in their download speeds from 50 Mbps to 70 Mbps and that users can experiences the increase in speed from March 1.

“We realize technological innovations are occurring rapidly, and our customers need the speed to make the most of them,” said Ralph Martinez, who is the Regional Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Houston region. “These increases reflect our commitment to delivering the fastest speeds to our customers, just like we’ve done almost every year for more than a decade.”

To access the speeds, most of the users just need to restart their modems when Comcast notifies them. Comcast will also notify those users who need to upgrade their current modems to access the increased speeds.

In addition to that, those users who lease modems from Comcast will also be able to get upgraded modems from Comcast free of charge. Those users who have their own modems and need to upgrade modems to have access to the increased internet speeds will have to buy a new one for them or may lease a new one from Comcast Corporation.

Xfinity from Comcast continues to offer the best in-home Wi-Fi and most of the customers of Xfinity internet will be able to enjoy complimentary access to the fifteen million plus Wi-Fi hotspots that are spread across the nation. This can be done just by selecting “xfinitywifi” from the list of available Wi-Fi networks on their smartphones or laptops and typing in their email ID, Xfinity ID, and password.

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Performance Internet

Customers can find hotspots using the Xfinity Wi-Fi app that can be downloaded free for Android and iOS devices or by using the hotspot finder map that is provided on the Xfinity website.

Comcast is striving to be the best internet service in the US, as they offer variety of speeds to meet requirements of every household. Comcast had announced in 2016 that they will start to offer a residential gigabit internet service to the customers in Houston and they are now delivering super fast internet with DOCSIS 3.1 technology.

The DOCSIS 3.1 technology uses the existing wiring to deliver high-speed internet. What’s more, it is reported that Comcast will be the first internet provider in Houston to offer one-gigabyte internet speeds.

03 Mar

Turning Off The Stream Saver Feature Of AT&T Internet

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Stream Saver Feature

AT&T knows that the competition is growing fast in the wireless industry and they have introduced unlimited data plans to attract more and more customers to their best internet offerings. Recently, they have announced a lower price tier and many improvements and promotions for their unlimited mobile data plans that were offered to all the users last week.

As per the latest updates, the unlimited plan will cost 90 dollars for the first line with a 10 dollars price cut. Note that Verizon also introduced their unlimited plan recently, under pressure from the smaller internet providers like T-Mobile and Sprint, who are offering cheap internet plans. Wireless users hate the monthly data allowances, as it forces them to guess in advance the amount of used data. When these users go over the monthly data allowances, they will have to face extra charges and fines.

Interestingly, it was AT&T who started to offer unlimited data plans. This was over an year ago, much before T-Mobile and Sprint, but their offering was limited to their DirecTV and U-Verse cable subscribers only. Statistics shows that 8 million customers signed up for the offer, and now, AT&T has opened the plan to all wireless users.

None of the unlimited plans, from AT&T or any other carriers is truly unlimited though. For instance, in case of AT&T, if a subscriber uses more than 22 GB of internet in a month, the speed can decrease. Verizon and Sprint also threaten to de-prioritize after 22 GB and 23 GB data use respectively. Still, the slow downs are preferable than the overage fees.

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Streaming Video

Another catch in the unlimited data plan from AT&T is the Stream Saver feature. This feature is meant to save the data plan of the users. The feature limits most of the video streams using the unlimited offering from AT&T network to 480 pixels or almost DVD quality. However, none of the users may wish to watch DVD quality video with the unlimited data plan. The Stream Saver feature is turned on by default, but AT&T offers an easy way to turn off the feature. The steps are discussed below.

  • Log into your AT&T account by visiting the company website;
  • In Account Overview area, click on Manage Stream Saver;
  • Then click on the buttons provided next to each feature that you need to disable.

If you are logged in from the mobile app,

  • Sign into the app and choose Usage from the menu;
  • Scroll down to bottom of page to select Manage My Usage; and
  • Select the button next to every option that you need to disable.
01 Mar

AT&T, Ericsson, And Qualcomm Successfully Demonstrate Volte For IoT

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Volte For IoT

AT&T, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies Inc. have successfully concluded the demonstration of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call for Internet of Things on existing mobile network infrastructure. This is the first successful trial of the technology, and will open up a new vista of possibilities in the connectivity domain.

The demonstration utilized one of Qualcomm Technologies MDM9206 LTE modem and Ericsson’s LTE Radio Access Network along with its other core networking infrastructure and new software. The successful conclusion of this new communication technology shows its readiness to be deployed in commercial operator networks and in many fastest internet provider services.

Chris Penrose, President of IoT solution at AT&T said, “AT&T is proud to participate alongside Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to advance VoLTE support over Cat-M1/LTE-M. The ability to support voice services is an important feature to many verticals within our IoT portfolio, including our customers in the alarm and security industry, automotive, wearable’s and connected health markets.”

The new technology will be instrumental in extending mobile voice service capabilities to IoT devices. This opens up new opportunities in expanding to many areas and serve potential applications like wearable’s, security alarm panels, remote first aid kits, digital locks, disposable security garments, and other IoT applications and services. This can have numerous advantages for enterprises by allowing them to make voice calls while also extending the operator’s mobile network capabilities through the IoT system.

There are many other advantages of these CAT-M1/LTE-M enabled IoT devices as well, lower power consumption and costs, excellent coverage, and good connection dependability being some of them. Due to the existing leading LTE coverage and voice communication capabilities by internet providers, operators can deploy it in a range of applications in smart cities, logistics, medicine, transport, etc.

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AT&T Internet Plans

Anders Olin, Head of Network Applications, Business Unit IT and Cloud Products at Ericsson said, “With this successful demonstration of Cat-M1/LTE-M also supporting VoLTE voice calls in IoT devices, we are providing more value to operators and users. The benefit of basic human communication blends perfectly into the IoT environment. Supported by our radio and core portfolios, it will now be feasible to globally deploy voice services for IoT cost-effectively for all kinds of industries and different use cases.”

In addition, the uptake of VoLTE is predicted to accelerate to 3.3 billion by the year 2022 and accounts to more than 60 percent of the total LTE subscriptions. It is estimated that there will be around 18 billion IoT devices connected worldwide by 2022.

01 Mar

Cox Raises Internet And Cable Prices

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Internet And Cable Prices

Lafayette-area residents have witnessed a significant increase in the price of their internet and cable service this year. Two of the most popular internet providers in the region, LUS Fiber and Cox Communications, recently announced a raise in the price of their cable and internet services.

In addition to that, the telecom giant, AT&T also increased the price of their Internet Basic service by $2 for a month. This situation has made it almost impossible for the Lafayette-area residents to subscribe to a cheap internet service.

In a recent announcement, Patricia Thompson, a Cox spokeswoman stated that the price of the basic cable package offered by the company to its customers will be increased by $4 a month. In addition to that, she also added that broadcast surcharges would be raised by $1, which means that the customers will now have to pay $4 per month for the service.

“Cox is required to pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually to TV networks, and those costs continue to rise,” Thompson said. “We also must pay local stations for their programming, which was previously broadcast for free. These rising wholesale costs drive up retail prices.”

She added, “The broadcast surcharge reflects a range of costs associated with the delivery of broadcast TV stations to our customers. These costs may include, but are not limited to, portions of re-transmission costs, network costs, copyright costs and others.”

Cox subscribers will also have to pay a new regional sports surcharge of $3.50. Thompson stated that these surcharges have become an industry standard that the telecom providers must pay to acquire the rights for carrying the local sports teams.

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Costs Continue To Rise

Thompson also added that the internet rates of Cox have also been increased from $2 to $5 based on the service level. However, she added that these hike in prices would not affect Cox customers who bundle their data package with other Cox services.

She also indicated that Cox Digital Telephone Essential subscribers would have to pay an extra dollar, if they want to receive their service, while the Telephone Premier customers of Cox will see a decline of $2 dollar in the pricing.

Thompson also said that Cox has invested millions for the infrastructure developments of the state and the internet provider has boosted the internet speed by 50 percent in the year 2016.

28 Feb

AT&T Signs An Agreement With Current Powered By GE

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AT&T Partnership

In a recent announcement, AT&T and Current (powered by GE) stated that they are entering into a partnership to speed up the digital era of urban development. Both these companies have an extensive history in communications technology and infrastructure.

The officials from both the companies added that the exclusive agreement between them would connect cities across Mexico and the United States to the IoT (Internet of Things). Reports indicate that the partnership between the two companies will bring a number of possibilities, which will considerably improve the way cities communicate, operate, and meet the requirements of its citizens.

The telecom giant, AT&T has been using their IoT expertise and resource since the launch of their Smart Cities program to create impactful solution for the cities. The fastest internet provider has also helped several cities to implement and develop a holistic Smart Cities strategy in order to address their present and future needs.

AT&T’s recently signed deal with Current considerably expands the Smart Cities services of the telecom company. The introduction of GE’s Predix-powered IoT platform will allow AT&T to use LED lighting in any city for creating a digital infrastructure. This will in turn address issues such as parking optimization, traffic flow, air quality monitoring, weather emergency alerts, and gunshot detection on the streets.

The president of IoT Solutions at AT&T, Chris Penrose said that, “Intelligent lighting plays a huge role in a smart city. Our collaboration with Current will enable us to use a city’s existing lighting infrastructure to more securely connect sensor-enabled networks. This will put them on the path to becoming a smarter, more sustainable city.”

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IoT Platform

The Chief Digital Officer of Current, John Gordon said, “We are thrilled to expand Current’s relationship with AT&T to help cities redefine the civic engagement model—our digital network is based on an open platform, which allows entrepreneurs, incubators and students to get involved in the future development smart city applications. AT&T has a long history of working commercially with municipalities, and our technology will be a perfect fit toward helping more cities unleash the limitless potential of the Industrial Internet.”

Reports indicate that the Smart Cities initiative of the best internet provider will bring connectivity to spotlight cities across the United States and it will help these cities to become safer, cleaner, and a lot more efficient.

28 Feb

AT&T Announces Unlimited Data Plans To Lure More Customers

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Unlimited Internet

AT&T had launched new unlimited internet plans a few weeks ago, but with more competitive offers from internet providers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, they were forced to go back to the drawing board to come up with better offers and now they have announced improved plans.

New and existing users of AT&T will be able to choose from the two new plans named Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus. The Unlimited Plus offering from AT&T starts at 90 dollars per month for one line and offer unlimited talk, messaging, and internet at up to 4G LTE speed.

This means that the users can stream videos in HD quality, but the presence of the Stream Saver mode can reduce streaming video quality to around 480 pixels, as the mode is enabled by default. If the user needs to stream HD videos, he or she will have to turn off the feature by going to their AT&T account.

It is reported that the Unlimited Plus plan from AT&T will offer up to 10 GB of 4G LTE tethering per line, monthly. The speed will be reduced to a maximum of 128 kbps for the remaining time in bill cycle, once the allotment for high-speed internet is exceeded. Subscribers can have two smartphone lines for 145 dollars per month and they can add up to eight additional devices for twenty dollars per month for each of the additional devices.

AT&T said that this pricing includes the monthly access charges, but does not include additional fees and taxes. Additionally, the plans will need paperless billing and AutoPay. Officials also said that for a limited time, the Unlimited Plus customers can have a twenty five dollar bill credit towards DirecTV Now, DirecTV, or AT&T U-Verse subscriptions every month. This bill credit will start in the second-third billing period.

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High-Speed Internet

Meanwhile, the Unlimited Choice offering from AT&T starts at 60 dollars per month for one line and provides unlimited talk, message, and internet up to 3 Mbps speed, but does not provide tethering options. Users can stream video at maximum speed of 1.5 Mbps (480 pixels). Unlimited Choice does not offer any discount for bundling DirecTV, DirecTV Now, or AT&T U-Verse either.

Two smartphone lines on Unlimited Choice starts at 115 dollars per month and the user may add up to eight extra devices for an additional charge of 20 dollars per month for each extra device.

AT&T officials clarified that for both of the unlimited internet plans, each line that exceeds a limit of 22 GB data usage, may experience reduction of speeds on that line for the rest of the billing cycle, but only in areas with increased network congestion. This is similar to the 22 GB, 23 GB, and 28 GB data caps from providers like Verizon, Sprint, and T-mobile respectively.

27 Feb

Cox Collaborating With The American Library Association To Bridge Digital Divide

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Internet For All

Cox Communications has announced a new partnership with the American Library Association, an effort intended to close the digital divide. This partnership is the result of the new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s focus on narrowing the digital divide prevalent in the communities. Three of the cities in the US: Topeka, Baton Rouge, and Tucson are selected in the partnership to pilot the program.

Pat Esser, President of Cox Communications has announced the plans in enhancing its Connect2Compete program that has been around since 1990. This will help in providing the best internet access to low income families in the communities. This will promote increased access for the students to the digital literacy training offered at the libraries and online platforms.

Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library CEO Gina Millsap said, “I think people are surprised that every day in public libraries in our community and around the country people are still setting up their first email account, they’re learning how to apply for a job online. 80 percent of jobs you have to apply online now.”

Cox has said that the partnership with the American Library Association will be a good way to study the results. This is done by offering customized training courses in both English and Spanish in the areas of Tucson, Topeka, and Baton Rouge.

The trainings are accessible for Cox customers on the website www.digitallearn.org and across the 1500 libraries that have collaborated with the company. Pet Esser further states about this pilot project that, “Experience with computers and the internet is necessary for competing in today’s digital world. Through our partnership, we will ensure that the libraries never close for our families, expanding the reach of their digital collections and services, and empowering more families to experience limitless learning and full participation in the knowledge economy.”

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No More Digital Divide

Both the companies in the partnership have stressed upon the importance of cheap internet connectivity in increasing the educational career opportunities for the low-income families. ALA President Julie Todaro exemplifies this in a statement that says, “America’s libraries combine the expertise of our librarians with a robust technology infrastructure and growing digital resources to advance digital opportunity for all in our nation. We look forward to working with Cox to further extend our reach and resources to help more families thrive online.”

Cox has been one of the major players in the Connect2Compete program in providing discount broadband prices to lower income families. The company also came up with another program last year offering free WiFi for the participants of Connect2Compete.

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