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20 Jul

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

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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®.

12 Jul

AT&T® Supports Open Internet Policy And Joins Internet Action Day

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Open Internet Policy

AT&T® recently said that they are looking to join Title II fans’ Internet Day of Action. AT&T® is calling for the Congress to step in to preserve the open internet. Many of the internet service providers have argued that the fans of Title II do not have monopoly on protecting net neutrality.

“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® senior executive VP 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.”

“On the eve of this ‘Day of Action,’ AT&T® reaffirms our support for an open internet based on protections that are fair and equal for everyone. We hope Congress can reach agreement on these principles and make those protections permanent,” he added.

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Internet Action Day

The participation of AT&T® in the Internet Action Day includes running print and television ads showing that they also support the open internet policy, though not based on the Title II, and saying that none of the companies should discriminately throttle or block data. AT&T® shared their agreement to the view that the internet need to be a free flow of commerce and ideas and that none of the internet providers should impede that. This has made them to join the move to support the right to access data, and applications.

The words of AT&T® covers about two of the three Title II based rules, against throttling and blocking. The third rule is against paid prioritization, is a grayer area for the internet service providers, and is not mentioned in the ads by AT&T®.

The ad also says that censorship should be avoided and that there should be good transparency. Internet service providers have been pushing the Congress to clarify that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to prevent anticompetitive throttling or blocking without the need to reclassify the ISPs under the Title II registrations.

However, that is not the type of action, which the Internet Action Day organizers are planning to have. They claim that Title II is the one and only way to offer protection to the internet against potential anti-competitive conduct.

11 Jul

AT&T® Customers In Illinois Will Continue To Receive POTS Services

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AT&T® POTS Services

In a recent statement, the officials from AT&T® indicated that they will continue their support for the traditional POTS voice lines in Illinois region regardless of the new state law. The telecom giant also added that several customers in Illinois heavily rely on POTS voice lines.

A few weeks ago, the Illinois Legislature made a voting that allowed the telecom company, AT&T® to disconnect their 1.2 million POTS voice customers statewide. Reports indicate that this happened when the lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto and accepted the telecom modernization bill. However, AT&T® will still need FCC’s acceptance if they want to alter the existing POTS network of the state.

In a statement, Paul La Schiazza, president of AT&T® Illinois, said, “It’s important for our Illinois customers to know that traditional landline phone service from AT&T® is not going away anytime soon.” In addition to that, the newly introduced Illinois law also contained a provision for increasing the 911 emergency service fees of all phone subscribers including wireless, landline, and online services.

La Schiazza said, “The new Illinois law helps plan for the eventual transition to only the technologies that customers overwhelmingly prefer today modern landline service and wireless service. While the timetable for that transition is undetermined at this time, it could take a number of years.”

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The AT&T-supported legislation in Illinois, which would get rid of a requirement for the telecom company to offer plain old telephone service or landline voice service encountered opposition from the AARP and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) back in the month of May. This in turn ignited a new debate on the legacy services transitions.

The Senate Bill 1381, which was passed with a voting of 56-2 in May, will eliminate the state requirement that AT&T® will have to provide traditional phone service to customers in the state. Even though several customers have ditched their landlines to enjoy the convenience of a wireless, a major population of old users still depend on POTS voice service.

A spokesman for the CUB, an Illinois nonprofit watchdog group, Jim Chilsen, said that, “If AT&T® succeeds in ending traditional landline phone service, we think that will hurt people particularly seniors and those with medical conditions who depend on a landline as their most reliable link to vital services.” Apparently, the move from AT&T® to extend the POTS voice service will be highly greeted by Illinois customers.

06 Jul

AT&T® Improves Their Prepaid Offerings

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AT&T® Prepaid Offerings

When asked about the Target website offering airtime refill for “AT&T® Prepaid”, that the retailer site notes is the former GoPhone brand, an AT&T® spokesperson declined to comment about the plans of the carrier to rebrand the service. “We are making exciting changes to AT&T® GoPhone, our prepaid service, that our customers may start to see at national retailers,” the spokesman said. “Look for announcements in the near future.”

However, the Redditor site has shared a flyer that provides the details on the new prepaid plan rates of AT&T®. As per the flyer, there are three prepaid offerings and the 35 dollar/1 GB plan is a new low price one. This plan will be suitable for those users who do not use much data. This plan is the cheapest prepaid plan from AT&T® and the rate is far less than the unlimited offerings from the other best internet service providers in the country that starts at around 70 dollars per month.

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GoPhone Prepaid Plans

The thirty-five dollars plan also provides unlimited call and text within the United States, free texting to most countries, and 1 GB high-speed internet. When the data allowance of 1 GB expires, the speed will be throttled and the maximum speed will go down to 126 kbps.

The forty-five dollars plan can a great step up option for the heavy internet users and is still cheaper than the popular unlimited plans. This plan offers 6 GB of high-speed internet that can be enough to meet the data needs of most of the users. Apart from the internet, the users also get free roaming services to Canada and USA that is not normal in prepaid plans. Throttling is same as the thirty-five dollars plan.

The last plan is the sixty-five dollars Unlimited plan, but the plan is far from unlimited. The plan speeds are capped at 3 Mbps and there is also a soft cap of 22 GB data per month, after which throttling will be applied. All these plans are available on the official AT&T® website under the GoPhone branding. Those users who opt for autopay option will be offered a discount of five dollars and this applies to all the three plans.

29 Jun

AT&T® To Invest $22 Billion If They Get Tax Breaks

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Huge Broadband Investment

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® recently promised that they would make massive broadband internet investment if President Donald Trump gives them tax breaks. This has been one of the major tricks of several internet service providers when they are in need of a tax break.

Several popular internet providers in the country had earlier promised that they would make future broadband investment deals in return for approval of an industry deal or for immediate tax breaks. In most cases, the government approves the conditions put forward by the companies because delivering high-speed internet service to rural areas is uneconomic. So, they feel that it is better to cut a deal with a private industry to accomplish it.

However, the reality is that most of the telecom companies have failed to keep up their promises and they often expand the deadline multiple times. This is the reason why several experts in the field of telecommunications are worried about AT&T’s recent promise of investing $22 billion in new infrastructure in exchange for immediate tax cuts.

The promise from AT&T® came after a meeting that was held at the White House a few days ago. The president of Verizon®, John Stratton lauded praised President Trump’s “focus on U.S. job creation and U.S. leadership in these industries,” whereas AT&T® CEO Randall Stephenson said, “It’s been dizzying the pace that the regulatory playing field has been cleared and been made more clear for companies that invest like ours.”

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Broadband Investment Deals

Stephenson added, “We’re on pace to invest around $22 billion in capital in the United States this year if we have some kind of tax reform, see that rate move down, we’ll consider stepping up our capital investment.” However, reports from several sources indicate that the Telco has made the same promise to deliver broadband to 100 percent of people in its regions for more than a decade. Additionally, reports also claim that AT&T® has used this as a leverage in numerous acquisitions and mergers too.

On the other hand, Charter Communications® was recently fined $13 million by the New York State, as the telecom giant failed to meet the conditions put forward by the state when they approved a merger. Charter® had promised that they will be upgrading their internet speed to 100 Mbps and they will be deploying broadband to approximately 35,000 new homes.

22 Jun

AT&T® And GE Aviation Join Hands To Improve Aircraft Health Monitoring

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Improved Aircraft Health Monitoring

AT&T® Internet of Things (IoT) and GE Aviation recently announced that they have joined hands to together connect the off board and onboard parts of Aircraft Health and Trend Monitoring System (AHTMS) – powered PlaneConnect HTM systems that are used on the Gulfstream G500, G650, G600, and G650 ER jets. The companies made the announcement in the recently conducted Paris Air Show.

Experts say that the AHTMS collects the performance data of the aircraft to help find the issues before they occur. The system also helps in troubleshooting difficult to find issues with the aircraft. When an aircraft connected with the system lands, the AT&T® Global SIM and the AT&T® Control Center connects to AHTMS. If the user is okay, Gulfstream Technical Operations will be able to have access to the data to improve their Product Support. If the users choose to go with the improved support, the system will be able to:

  • Activate fleet wide comparison and issues as they arise;
  • Help and support the specialists by allowing data queries;
  • Send time stamped data to a web portal of MyGulfstream that is dedicated to the particular aircraft;
  • Provide transient issue visibility offering resolutions to the most difficult of the issues to solve; and
  • Offer data to each of the operator in an organized and prioritized way. The data offered include aircraft usage data, pressure readings, fuel consumption, and operations details.
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AT&T® Control Center

“Our focus is to help our customers and the overall industry to be more efficient,” said Darin DiTommaso, who is the VP for Digital Services and Solutions at GE Aviation. “This system improves an already great track record at Gulfstream. The beautiful part about the system is that it will continue to grow and respond as the needs of each fleet change throughout their lifecycle.”

GE Aviation makes use of AT&T® Control Center to ensure coverage across the globe of these mobile assets. They make use of secure connection and custom MPLS/VPN of the fastest internet provider to offer a very high degree of control and secure connection to the network. Experts said that the data that is transferred from the aircraft to Gulfstream Operators and Gulfstream Technical Operations would be highly secure and encrypted.

“IoT solutions have the potential to significantly transform the operational efficiency of nearly any industry,” said Chris Penrose, President of IoT Solutions at AT&T®. “It’s exciting to see that our solution with GE Aviation is giving them actionable insights into the performance and health of their planes.”

19 Jun

AT&T® Unveils A New Deal For DirecTV Now®

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DirecTV Now® Deal

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T®, has accepted the fact that the launch of their comparatively low-priced latest streaming service, DirecTV Now® has cannibalized subscriptions to AT&T’s DirecTV® satellite offering. However, the officials from AT&T® do not seem too worried because they have just unveiled a new deal for DirecTV Now® instead of focusing on DirecTV®.

As per reports, the telecom company will be providing a Roku Premiere Box to their new streaming subscribers. The price of the Roku Premiere Box is approximately $70 but customers will have to pre-pay AT&T® for two months of DirecTV Now® subscription. The cable-like live service, DirecTV Now® that offers customers access to over 60 popular channels for $35 per month become available to Roku users last month.

Reports indicate that AT&T® is all set to increase their promotion for DirecTV Now®. The telecom company recently launched their first national ad campaign for the streaming service and it featured Mark Wahlberg. The CFO of AT&T®, John Stephens said that the telecom company had “deliberately pulled back on marketing to give the platform time to mature and improve”. He added that customers should “expect us to be more aggressive with DirecTV Now® in the second half of the year, with additional features and content.”

It seems that the telecom company is embracing the appeal of DirecTV Now® to attract potential cord cutters to their streaming service. The officials from the telecom company had targeted young people and the ones who did not have a subscription to a traditional satellite video or cable service last year.

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Roku Premiere Box

AT&T® Entertainment Group Chief Marketing Officer, Brad Bentley added that people are “looking to cut the cable cord may not always know the best place to start. We’re making it easy by eliminating up-front cost and providing a cost effective solution to stream the content they crave from their living room couches.”

The CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson had earlier indicated that the “churn was up significantly” for DirecTV®, particularly among the ones who prefer not to buy the service as part of a bundle. He added that it included “some cannibalization” from DirecTV Now® too, but promised that they are going to “make some adjustments” to the marketing of DirecTV®. However, it seems that the telecom company has shifted their entire marketing focus to DirecTV Now®.

15 Jun

AT&T® Will Be Offering Wings To IoT Project Of Red Bull

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Internet Of Things Technology

The Telco AT&T® had announced that they would be connecting the one million branded beverage coolers of Red Bull across the globe. AT&T® said that they will be using Internet of Things technology to manage and track the supply and demand of the beverages to the coolers or fridges. They said that it would help to maintain a steady flow of highly caffeinated beverages to the hung-over and the fatigued.

Data Flows

Developers and technologists specialized in the technological innovations at the AT&T® Foundry centers that are located in Texas, Plano, and Palo Alto, worked hand-in-hand with the Red Bull team and their partners. The data that is offered by the coolers will help ensure that the drinks are cool and will help figure out any issues with the cooler. AT&T® executives said that in some cases, the data from the coolers could even be used to predict an issue before it occurs.

Having the alerts from these coolers mean that the workers of Red Bull will no longer have to manually check the status of every cooler. The alerts from the coolers will offer details on the performance of the cooler, its temperature, and the location. AT&T® also added that the data offers a “shopper frequency insight” allowing them to see when the door of cooler is opened and closed.

“Each time a connected cooler door opens and closes, an embedded monitor collects data and on regular intervals send the data via the AT&T® Global SIM. The AT&T® Control Center and AT&T® IoT Platform (Flow and M2X) process the data from each cooler,” said the press release from AT&T®.

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Shopper Frequency Insight

Commenting on the move, Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of business solutions and international at AT&T® said that, “This is another great example of collaboration and innovation to create real value for our customers. It streamlines the processes, creates visibility and improves operations, helping drive significant cost savings and return on investment.”

AT&T®, one of the best internet providers in the country is working to build IoT business to business deals, as more and more traditional areas of their cheap internet offerings are on the decline. AT&T® is one of the sponsors of Red Bull Racing, which is the Formula 1 racing team owned by Red Bull, the drinks company based in Austria.

14 Jun

Root Sports To Be Rebranded As AT&T® SportsNet

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Regional Sports Network

AT&T®, the best internet providers in the country is rebranding Root Sports, its key local sports network as AT&T® SportsNet. The sports network currently operates in several areas of Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain, and the Southwest regions. The company has proclaimed that the channel will rebroadcast under the new name from July 14 onward. With the latest rebranding strategy, AT&T® expects to diversify and enhance its sports programming portfolio thereby offering quality content to the viewers.

Bill Roberts, head of content for AT&T® Sports Networks stated, “We have always brought an authentic and personal level of coverage to all of our teams, because as fans, we also know the history and feel the rivalries. And while we have that same undying commitment to quality, this rebrand will help us heighten the experience as we transform our visual effects capabilities further.”

According to AT&T®, the latest rebranding strategy will involve overall upgrades into many specific aspects of the channel. This includes the addition of new iconic graphics packages that utilizes a combination of both images and animation to substitute the previously used animated design. Moreover, the channel will now display the new AT&T® SportsNet logo that contains AT&T’s iconic globe logo design.

A recent press release by the company has stated that the company intends to introduce the new logo and upgraded features over time via its off-channel and promotional efforts. “We have had the same visual effects since 2011, so with this rebrand and new graphics packages, we’re excited to bring a new look and features to our teams and their fans for a truly immersive feel,” Patrick Crumb, President of AT&T® Sports Networks said.

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Exclusive Sports Coverage

AT&T® SportsNet is offering viewers with a truly distinctive and enhanced storytelling experience. The company has also stated that it will still keep all of the existing team partnerships and programming previously offered. Root Sports has exclusive coverage rights to the 150 Pirates games, 70 Penguins regular seasons games, and the playoff games of the first round.

Moreover, the network also covers the press conferences for Mike Tomlin, the Steelers coach. Root Sports was previously known as CSN Houston, which was then rebranded by AT&T® in 2014. The new AT&T® rebranding will be the second in a period of three years for Root Sports Southwest.

AT&T® Sports Networks currently manages AT&T® SportsNet and RootSports RSN across Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain, and Southwest regions. Together, the four networks have a total coverage of over 13 million customers among the 22 states.

12 Jun

Senators Claim That AT&T® Used Forced Arbitration For Overcharging Subscribers

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Forced Arbitration Clauses

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that five Democratic US senators claimed that the usage of forced arbitration clauses by the telecom company, AT&T® has allowed them to charge higher prices than the ones they normally advertise to their subscribers. The US senators highlighted a CBS News investigation, which described that “more than 4,000 complaints against AT&T® and [subsidiary] DirecTV® related to deals, promotions and overcharging in the past two years.”

According to Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), most of the AT&T® subscribers have shown little remorse, as they are currently being forced to settle disputes with the telecom giant. The senators wrote a letter to the CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson, in which they said, “Forced arbitration provisions in telecommunications contracts erode Americans’ right for seeking justice in the federal courts by urging the individuals into a privatized system, which is inherently biased in the favor of internet providers like AT&T®.” They also added that the privatized system provides virtually no way for challenging a biased outcome.

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Leading Telecom Company

“Forced arbitration requires consumers to sign away their constitutional right to hold providers accountable in court just to access modern-day essentials like mobile phone, Internet, and pay-TV services,” the letter added. The senators also stated that the forced arbitration provisions of the telecom company also “includes a class action waiver; language which strips consumers of the right to band together with other consumers to challenge a provider’s widespread wrongdoing.”

The senators further said that they are “particularly concerned about AT&T’s treatment of customer complaints alleging that the company charged a higher rate for services than initially offered in a deal or promotion.” On the other hand, the officials from AT&T® reacted to the issue by arguing that the arbitration is actually a lot more better for their customers when compared to courts of law.

In reply to that, the senators said, “Only 18 out of AT&T’s nearly 150 million subscribers sought accountability for these or other issues through individual, forced arbitration proceedings.” The senators also asked for information on how many complaints the telecom company has received on breaches of promotions, deals, and offers, in the last two years. However, we still have to wait for AT&T’s detailed take on the issue.

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