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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.”

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.

12 Jul

Factors to Note When Choosing a Business-Grade Internet Connection

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Business Internet Connection

Signing up for an internet connection may seem viable on paper, especially if you have the best internet provider in your area, which extends their service to business customers. Not all internet service providers that cater to residential subscribers provide the service to small and big organizations also, but those with a nationwide footprint tend to. If an ISP has a broader customer base that includes business subscribers, then the subscription can be a matter of getting in touch with them.

Whether you are looking for an enterprise-grade internet to upgrade the present connection, building out to a new location, or even renewing the present contract, you should consider these things to choose the best internet provider for your needs.

The Type of Internet Connection

There are two main types of internet connection: high-speed or broadband and those categorized under high-availability service. The first category comprises internet connections delivered over cable lines and Digital Subscriber Lines. Both are categorized as high-speed internet and considered always on or available connections. On the other hand, high-availability internet service offers a Service Level Agreement to customers.

With an SLA, an internet service provider aims to guarantee, in contractual terms, uptime that typically exceeds over 99.99 percent or a downtime of around 2 hours a year. The high-availability connections comprise those delivered over older fiber optic lines called T1 and newer fiber optic networks. Most businesses that rely on data a great deal opt for the best internet provider that offers an SLA that guarantees more uptime than even “five nine”.

Note that 99.99 percent uptime can lead to around a second’s downtime a day and close to five minutes a year. So, it is best to choose an ISP that can provide the best possible uptime.

The Speed of the Connection

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Types Of Internet Connection

Figuring out the speed requirements of your business can be tricky, but it is important to make sure that the connection speed is sufficient for daily use, comprising peak usage times like big conference meetings. You do not want to annoy end users just because you are not paying for sufficient bandwidth, so consider the best internet speed for a smooth running of operations.

Modern-day business applications are cloud-hosted or web-based, and some even involve VoIP or IP phone systems. If your business has such high-end applications, necessitating high data consumption, take them into the equation to better understand connection and speed requirements. Opting for a best internet provider for a connection with high bandwidth and SLA can help avoid downtimes or continuity concerns, especially when it comes to using similar applications.

The Availability of Internet Service

While it is advisable to have accesses to an ultra-high speed fiber optic internet, not all businesses have the option to sign up for that. In fact, even the availability of DSL and cable internet can be limited in new construction locations where networks are yet to be built out. In such cases, which coincide with time you are changing the business to a new area, it may even take around six months for an ISP to build out the network. So, make ensure to understand these things while starting the search for an internet service provider, well in advance of the move out to the new site.

Failover Internet

In situations when the requirement to be always connected is very high and you cannot even afford a few seconds of downtime a day, it is important to setup failover links. That is important to make sure internet access is not lost to end users in case of events that lead to outages. An example of a failover system is one where wired internet switches to Wi-Fi connection, thus ensuring continuity of use for end users by eliminating a single point of failure.

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A router with an inbuilt SIM card used as a failover internet is common with residential internet services, but you can consider a better failover system for your business. Ensuring highly available connection with “five nine” clause mentioned in the SLA is one thing, but to make sure the best possible uptime, get in touch with network professionals to know if your business requires a failover system. Generally, it is more important for businesses that rely on applications that are cloud-based or have a larger requirement for sending voice and data.

Cost Efficiency

The budget is the bottom line to businesses even when it comes to enterprise-grade internet services. Generally, fiber optic is expensive than traditional cable internet connections. If the cost of high availability internet service is more than the set budget, you can instead choose two broadband options, with one being fiber broadband and the other delivered over cable lines. That can be considered if the best internet provider charges a monthly cost for a connection at a specific speed and to a limited number of users or employees.

04 Jul

Charter® Expands Spectrum® Gigabit Internet Service to More Markets

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Charter® has expanded their Spectrum® Internet Gig plan to millions of residential customers, making the best internet offering available to over 27 million residences. The telecommunications company is also aiming to expand the internet service with up to 940 megabits per second speed to almost all homes in their nationwide footprint by the end of the year.

The launch of Spectrum® Internet Gig to 27 million homes makes up “more than halfway to our goal of making gigabit connections available to virtually our entire 41-state footprint,” Charter® said in an announcement. “By Labor Day, we’ll be rolling out to even more cities to get closer to that year-end goal.”

The cable network of Charter® reaches out to around 50 million business and homes across the country. The prices of the gigabit internet service from the cable giant reportedly range from $105 to $125 per month, which is a variance that depends on local competition.

On the other hand, small and medium scale businesses can now subscribe to Spectrum® Business Internet Gig in markets where the best internet speed tier is available to residential customers. Charter® already offers the gigabit speeds to large-scale businesses. The starter download speeds of the cable operator are 100 or 200 megabits per second in select markets.

While the advertised speed by Charter® indicates that it is a gigabit internet service, the actual maximum speeds are 940 Mbps downstream and 35 Mbps upstream. This variance in speed is common in the telecommunications industry, and is caused due to network constraints that necessitate cable providers to limit the speed to support Ethernet overhead.

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The high-speed connections are possible thanks to DOCSIS 3.1, which is an industry standard used in telecommunications networks. Further, Charter’s cable internet service has no data cap. That is because the cable giant cannot sell internet plans to subscribers with data limits and overage fees until 2023, as FCC and US Justice Department stipulated that in their merger conditions. Charter® acquired Time Warner Cable® in 2016. Nevertheless, the regulators approved that based on that and several other conditions, including expansion of the network to underserved locations.

As of now, the gigabit internet does not support symmetrical downstream and upstream speeds, though updates to DOCSIS standard could change that in future. In fact, Charter Communications® has announced that it would eventually rollout symmetrical gigabit speeds over their existing network, which mainly relies on coaxial cable lines to reach out to each residence.

18 Jun

The Repeal of Net Neutrality Invites Skeptics and Open Possibilities

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Net Neutrality Ruling

The Net Neutrality, a ruling that was set by the US government in the past, had required major internet service providers to treat web traffic without giving preferential treatment to a particular website. In other words, internet providers should not block a website or throttle speeds to make surfing a different website much easier.

The Net Neutrality ruling is now repealed, following a campaign favoring the deregulation from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I think ultimately it’s going to mean better, faster, cheaper internet access and more competition among the carriers,” Pai said.

Those favoring Net Neutrality and disagreeing with Pai include Congress members, officials of certain states, tech firms, and some advocacy groups. They will challenge the Net Neutrality repeal in federal court, while many US states plan to implement their own set of laws, which may further muddle the situation.

The Net Neutrality ruling of 2015 prevented internet providers from slowing down web connections, charging content providers for quicker streaming of videos over the web, and blocking accesses to specific websites. Starting this month, such practices will not be prohibited.

For now, internet service providers have to inform how they are managing their own networks. If any of the ISPs violate promises, or show practices that threaten consumers or competition, they fall under FTC’s jurisdiction. When FCC adopted the repeal back in December, Ajit Pai and his allies from the Republican Party argued that Net Neutrality would free the heavy regulations that restricted Telco giants from investing toward expansion of broadband.

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However, Democrats charged that the Chairman of FCC had ignored millions of comments that flooded from all quarters, especially the internet. Many of those comments had urged FCC to keep the previous ruling on Net Neutrality, which had treated internet providers similar to public utilities.

Aji Pai commented that people who reverted to online vitriol were misinformed, and that “some of the politicians who’ve been grandstanding on this issue have been misinforming the public.” In particular, the FCC Chairman said that the politicians were Senate Democrats, or social media influencers with millions of followers, who tweeted that repealing Net Neutrality would immobilize web speeds.

Reports say that a few ISPs have acknowledged that they would not block websites or throttle speeds or charge for quicker delivery of content over the web, although they might take advantage of the Net Neutrality repeal.

09 Jun

Charter® to Unveil Spectrum Mobile® Wireless Service by June

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Unlimited Wireless Service

Charter® is reportedly inching closer to unveiling Spectrum Mobile®, their unlimited wireless service to be delivered over mostly Verizon Wireless® network, by the end of this June. Charter® has an MNVO agreement with Verizon®, but the cable operator will also provide the best internet service over existing wireless accent points in residences and business locations. Reports also indicate that the wireless service of Spectrum® is priced at $45 a month.

The wireless service or mobile network marketed by Charter Communications® takes cues from Comcast’s similar offering, titled XFINITY Mobile®. In other words, Philadelphia-based Telco giant also has an MNVO tie-up with Verizon Wireless®. In the first year of XFINITY Mobile’s operation, Comcast® has managed to win over half a million customers to the wireless network. Much like XFINITY Mobile®, even Charter’s best internet service is anticipated to be accessible to those who have a subscriber relationship with the cable operator.

Existing residential customers that rely on Spectrum® for cable or internet will be eligible to add their wireless service and the same goes for those who want to move to Spectrum® for cable or internet. Charter’s Chief Mobile Officer, Danny Bowman, recently announced a collaboration with Comcast® for backend systems and software required for supporting the two mobile networks. Still, both companies noted that Comcast® had made investments toward a working platform’s development, which they will share with Charter®. In exchange for that, Charter® is funding the collaboration, even though the company spokespeople said that they plan to invest in future.

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The launch of Spectrum Mobile® is speculated to steal subscribers from some of the other major US carriers, but Verizon Wireless® will be able to cushion such threats through payments they will receive from Charter Communications® upon moving data through Verizon’s network. In other words, the cable operator will reportedly pay Verizon® $5 per GB of data, which Charter’s customers get to access through the wireless provider’s network.

As of now, it is unclear as to how United States Department of Justice will view mobile virtual network operators such as XFINITY Mobile® and Spectrum Mobile® when appraising competition in the nationwide wireless market. In fact, competition is an important factor that the DOJ will consider as and when they study the proposed merger between T-Mobile® and Sprint®.

02 Jun

Comcast® Customers Can Now Buy Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Tickets off Their TV

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Comcast® is arguably the best internet provider in the US, but they are surely amongst the top cable providers in the country because of their amazing offers and TV deals. Currently, Comcast® further raised the bars for other cable providers with their tie-up with Fandango.

Comcast® joined hands with one of the best American ticketing companies in order to offer a unique deal for the Xfinity® customers. They can now see the latest movie details including the show timings and availability of movie tickets on their television. The cable provider is also offering the option to buy movie tickets by using a voice-activated X1 remote.

People who are using Xfinity® set-top boxes can enjoy this amazing offer from May 30, 2018, onwards. The first movie that you can watch by availing tickets through your TV at your home is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which will hit the theaters on June 22, 2018. For this, all you have to do is to say “get tickets” into your voice-activated X1 remote while watching the trailer of the movie on your Xfinity® TV. Instantly, around 30,000 theater screens to be playing the movie will be displayed on your screen from which you can pick your desired one.

Note that you can also press the Info button on your remote in order to begin the online ticketing process. Comcast® and Fandango may soon extend this feature to almost every new release throughout the year. You can also choose to send the local show timings to your smartphone in order to book tickets via the website or mobile app of Fandango.

The vice president of strategy and execution wing in Comcast® cable, Nancy Spears, said, “Fandango is the perfect partner to help us give customers a fun, easy way to go right from watching TV at home to enjoying the newest releases in the movie theater.”

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She further added, “Xfinity® X1 enables us to continually explore one-of-a-kind experiences that complement the TV viewing experience, allowing viewers to interact with content where and when it is convenient for them. We’re launching this experience starting with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in conjunction with the film’s trailer and look forward to further enhancing additional movie titles with this functionality throughout the year.”

The Senior Vice President and Head of Business Development and Strategy wing at Fandango, Mark Young, said, “At Fandango, we are always looking for innovative ways to super-serve movie fans, when they are engaging with movie content so that they can easily act on their interest and purchase a ticket to the theater on the platforms and devices they use. We’re thrilled to team up with Xfinity® to offer millions of X1 customers across the country a convenient new way to use their TV set and voice-activated remote to buy movie tickets right from their living rooms.”

17 May

Comcast® to Open Xfinity® Stores in Indiana and Illinois Soon

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Comcast Xfinity® is set to open a new store in Valparaiso city in Indiana this month. The existing and new residential customers of Comcast® can walk into the Xfinity® outlet at 2710 LaPorte Avenue for any service-related purposes. The outlet will serve as a gateway for subscribers to learn about Comcast’s services, comprising cable, best internet service, home security systems, and mobile offerings, which are being sold under the Xfinity® brand.

The outlet will allow customers to get hands-on with Xfinity® applications, which can stream cable channels and on-demand video content. The customers of the cable, telephone, and best internet service can access hundreds of channels and thousands of video-on-demand. With growing number of subscribers, it is unsurprising that Comcast® is opening several Xfinity® outlets soon.

“The stores are awesome places to visit and learn more about Xfinity® products and services from the trained store staff,” said Comcast® Senior VP for Great Chicago Region, John Crowley. “Visitors are welcome to come in and experience our products and services like they would at home.”

The existing customers of Comcast® can walk into the Xfinity® store for paying their monthly invoices, for picking up and returning equipment, or interact with new features of Xfinity®. For that, the best internet provider has installed the Xfinity® app in several mobile phones displayed in the store.

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“We’re pleased that Valparaiso is getting a new Xfinity® Store,” said Valparaiso City Mayor, Jon Costas. “Located within Valparaiso’s centrally located, dynamic retail scene, the new store will be able to serve thousands and thousands of existing Xfinity® customers and attract new ones not just from Valparaiso, but from the surrounding communities as well.”

The Xfinity® store at 2710 LaPorte Ave will stay open from 10:00 am to 08:00 pm from Mondays to Saturdays, and from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sundays. Other than the new Xfinity® outlet set to open in the city, Comcast® is also opening other such stores in Illinois. In fact, it is reported that the cable giant will open Xfinity® stores in Glenview and Kildeer in the second quarter or by summer of this year. The store doubles up as a service center of Comcast®, where customers can pay outstanding bills, manage their Xfinity® accounts, or even subscribe to newer services that get rolled out in due course.

11 May

Charter® Seals a New Deal with CBS Corporation

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One of the best internet providers in the United States, Charter Communications®, recently entered into a partnership with CBS Corporation by signing a long-term distribution deal. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Charter® has gained retransmission rights for all CBS-owned stations through this deal. In addition to that, the telecom giant will also be able to expand authenticated streaming rights to both Showtime® and CBS programming thanks to this new deal.

Despite being one of the best internet providers in the country, Charter Communications® did not have authenticated streaming rights to the programming of CBS Sports Network and CBS. This implies that the new deal signed by Charter® will enable them to expand their streaming service offering, which will in turn lure in more customers.

Moreover, the multi-year pact signed by Charter Communications® and CBS Corporation also includes carriage pacts for Smithsonian Channel™, Showtime®, and CBS Sports Network. The previous agreement between these parties was rumored to be expired on April, but both the companies were eager to sign a new contract to extend their long-term partnership, which has benefited both the parties.

The chief operating officer of CBS Corporation, Joseph Ianniello, said, “We are very pleased to extend and expand our partnership with Charter, which clearly recognizes the value CBS’ industry-leading content brings to their viewers throughout the country. This latest deal once again helps us achieve our company’s economic and strategic goals, while delivering must-have content to viewers live and on demand whenever and wherever they want.”

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The executive Vice President of programming acquisition of Charter Communications®, Tom Montemagno, further shed some light into this new deal. He said, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with CBS that reflects the importance and breadth of Charter’s distribution and provides us expanded rights to provide our customers increased access to CBS’ content both inside and, now for the first time, outside the home as well.”

The executives from both the companies refused to share the financial terms of the deal. However, more reports about the new deal are expected to hit the telecom market in the upcoming days. It is evident that customers who have subscribed to Charter Communications® will be happy with the new deal because it will let them stream the TV shows and other programming of CBS across multiple devices at the same time.

27 Apr

Comcast® Shifts Focus to Internet Following Q1 Results on Cable Subs

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Comcast Cable® officials recently reported that they experienced a significant loss in the number of video subscribers as of this year’s first quarter. As per reports, this decline in Comcast® video subs is 96,000 as of Q1 of 2018. However, being one of the best internet providers in the US, Comcast® has also achieved more than 350,000 high-speed internet subscribers during the same period.

This only goes to indicate the Philadelphia-based Telco giant’s role in nationwide markets of being an internet service provider that bundles cable TV packages and best internet plans. Slowly but surely, Comcast® treats internet as the core competency of their overall service portfolio to stay competitive in a market that is shifting toward streaming services. In other words, more and more customers are choosing internet to stream online channels on Comcast Xfinity® TV. Besides, their home security and Xfinity Mobile® offerings also serve as adds to their product portfolio.

To retain customers and drive sales, Comcast® sales reps are now pitching broadband packages first, and then, the company’s other offerings such as cable TV. “Our focus is very much centered on broadband,” said Dave Watson, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable®.

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This focus of Comcast® on internet offerings may seem surprising even at a time when the company has made a billion dollar bid, which is $31bn as per reports, to acquire Pay-TV broadcaster Sky plc. Comcast Corporation®, the parent company of Comcast Cable®, is surely trying everything it can to improve byline profits through broadband offerings even as their actions may seem to the contrary.

Trade analysts say that selling broadband would seem much profitable to Comcast® than selling cable TV packages, for which profit margins are thinner in comparison owing to programming costs. No wonder Comcast® is looking to acquire what is often billed as the largest satellite broadcaster in the UK namely Sky plc. In fact, Comcast® is not alone in bidding for the broadcaster – even Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox Inc. join them in the bidding process. The board members of Sky plc welcomed the Comcast® bid and withdrew a suggestion that shareholders have accepted an earlier proposal from 21st Century Fox.

Despite trying to cement their status of being one of the top internet providers, Comcast® also sees an opportunity in the form of wireless subscriber growth. It has added 196,000 subscriber lines to Xfinity Mobile® service in Q4, bringing its aggregate to 577,000 lines.

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