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27 Mar

Public Service Commission is Seeking 1 Million Dollars from Charter Communications®

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Spectrum® Internet Service

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that the state Public Service Commission is seeking 1 million dollars from Charter Communications®. The Commission states that they are penalizing the telecom giant because they failed to satisfy the terms of an agreement to expand their high-speed Spectrum® internet service in New York.

The commission added that the telecom company had promised to expand the availability of their high-speed internet service to approximately 36771 additional businesses and homes with no broadband service by the end of December. However, it seems that Charter® has failed to meet the deadline.

In a recent statement, the Commission Chair, John Rhodes, said, “It is critically important that regulated companies strictly adhere to the state’s rules and regulations. If a regulated entity like Charter’s cable business decides to violate or ignore the rules, we will take swift action and hold them accountable to the full extent of the law.”

The officials from Charter Communications®, which is one of the best internet providers in the country, confirmed that they have decided to fight against the order from the state Public Service Commission. Spokesman Andrew Russell said, “Charter® is committed to bringing more broadband to more people across New York State.”

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He added, “We exceeded our last buildout commitment by thousands of homes and businesses. We’ve also raised our speeds to deliver faster broadband statewide. We are in full compliance with our merger order and the New York City franchise, and we will fight these baseless and legally suspect actions vigorously.”

The commission had approved the acquisition of Time Warner Cable® by Charter® a couple of years ago. In addition to that, they have also approved a subsequent compliance agreement a few months ago. However, the commission had ordered Charter® to expand the availability of their high-speed internet to approximately 45,000 homes and businesses within four years and to meet all the incremental milestones during the timeline. Reports claim that Charter® had agreed to pay $1 million each time if they were unable to meet any one of the milestones.

The executives from the telecom company, Charter® filed a report in January and said that they have expanded their internet service to 42,889 residential and business properties. However, the Commission responded to Charter’s report and stated that about 14,000 of those locations already had access to a high-speed internet service. The Commission also pointed out that Charter® had to expand their service to more than 8,000 additional locations to meet the deadline.

22 Mar

Comcast® Faces a Program Carriage Complaint in Violation of FCC Rules

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Program Carriage Complaint

Comcast® is now facing a complaint lodged by beIN Sports, who states that the cable provider is in direct violation of Federal Communications Commission’s program carriage rules as well as a non-discrimination condition mentioned in Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal. The sports network stated that the violation of the condition occurred prior to January 20, 2018, which was also its expiration date.

The program carriage complaint filed with FCC points to the fact that Comcast® has put the networks under one sports tier providing low penetration as opposed to Comcast’s own sports programming. The global network owning sports channels now requires the court to urge Comcast® to provide carriage based on “equitable terms,” that won’t “unreasonably restrict beIN’s ability to compete fairly.”

In fact, beIN Sports says in the complaint that Comcast® or NBC Universal have discriminated against the company in preference of similar sports programming to NBC Universo and NBC Sports. In the complaint, it is also stated that some of the other channel distributors give the networks better penetration and that Comcast® is not treating beIN’s networks in the same manner.

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The sports network said that Comcast® is wrong in stating that “similarly situated,” language is applicable to the networks instead of programming. “The Commission has already found that a sports network focused on football (the NFL Network) is similarly situated to Comcast-affiliated networks focused on golf, fishing and hunting programming,” beIN mentioned in the FCC filing. “Here, the similarity among the programming of the four networks in question is much more pronounced.”

In a late response to the complaint, the cable provider said, “Comcast® was one of the first distributors to launch both beIN Sports channels in 2012 and continues to be a good partner to the network. In fact, we have maintained our market-based distribution of beIN Sports, consistent with how it is carried by most other cable and satellite providers.”

“Unfortunately, rather than continue to engage in good-faith commercial negotiations for a renewal of its current agreement, which does not even expire for several months, beIN Sports has disappointingly filed this complaint, which is completely without merit,” they added. “Comcast® has not discriminated against beIN Sports. Instead, beIN has demanded substantial increases in fees and carriage that make no business sense for our company and our customers.”

19 Mar

AT&T® May Extend its Fiber Gigabit Service to Warren County

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Fiber Gigabit Service

AT&T® is considering extending its high-speed fiber internet service to Warren County. The launch of fiber to the region will enable more homes and offices of the county to access superfast internet connectivity for various applications. The Telco intends to offer the Internet 1000 option for the residents of Warren County that provides them with broadband gigabit internet speeds of about 1000 megabits per second. As the fastest internet provider, AT&T® intends to further expand its broadband services to more underserved regions of the country.

Two other telecommunications companies, North Central Communications of Lafayette, Tennessee, and South Central Rural Telecommunication Cooperative of Glasgow have also announced their plans to extend high-speed internet connectivity to various regions of Warren County. This has prompted AT&T® to come up with plans to offer its own improved high-speed fiber service to the county than the two communication providers. However, the officials from AT&T® did not disclose any details related to the specific areas that it intends to offers its Internet 1000 service.

According to the statement of Cathy Lewandowski, the Lead Public Relations Manager of AT&T®, “This is our initial launch announcement, and additional details of where it will launch in parts of Warren County are not available at this time.” The Telco has already invested considerably in expanding its high-speed internet to other locations in the country. Its popular Internet 1000 service has already become functional in areas of Lexington, Louisville, and Kentucky.

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Warren County Judge-Executive, Mike Buchanon, has expressed optimism regarding the extension of AT&T’s fiber gigabit service to the county. He said, “We have worked with several providers, including AT&T®, over the past several years. Although we have had no direct communication recently from them and have been given no information as to their intended timing, scope of their commitment or which parts of Warren County they intend to commit to serve, we are happy that they have responded to our efforts.”

Warren County has become a potential investment source for telecommunication companies like AT&T® and other regional service providers for offering their services. According to Buchanon, “We have worked hard to level the playing field, to create a competitive marketplace in Warren County. We continue to meet regularly with new companies and work toward the goal of countywide accessibility of high-speed internet service to every home.”

The Internet 1000 service if made available can provide the residents of Warren County with better services that can tailor the growth of jobs and the economy. Residents can opt for this Internet 1000 service for $70 per month by bundling with another service offered by AT&T®. The internet only service will cost about $80 per month.

16 Mar

Comcast Business® Introduces One Click Conferencing App to its VoiceEdge™ Service

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One Click Conferencing App

Comcast Business® has announced that it had added a new VoiceEdge™ Conferencing app to its cloud phone service. The addition of this new app will radically improve the service by making it easier to carry out and manage conference calls.

With the VoiceEdge™ Conferencing app, a single click can help in initiating a conference call and resolve any of the issues for a smoother calling experience. Available to all Comcast Business® VoiceEdge™ subscribers, this new facility can add up to 50 participants for a conference call and initiate the call using the “click to start conference” feature.

John Guillaume, the Vice President for Product Management at Comcast Business® said, “With an increasingly distributed and mobile workforce, conference calls are an important tool for keeping teams connected, but this can become challenging from a user standpoint when different people are trying to access a conference call while traveling, in remote locations, from a different office.”

“We’re continually innovating and evolving our voice platform with a focus on improving the end-user experience and overall business impact,” he further added. “With Comcast Business® VoiceEdge™ Conferencing, the days of remembering long phone numbers and PINs or asking ‘who joined the call,’ are now a thing of the past – saving our customers both time and resources.”

The Conference app for VoiceEdge™ will also make it easier for users to join a conference call by simply clicking on the “join conference” link. The app comes with several management tools and options that allow those who host the conference calls to view and identify the users who are connected to the call.

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The VoiceEdge™ Conference app is an award-winning feature developed by Comcast Business® that was conferred the 2018 Internet Telephony Product of the Year by TMCNet. Comcast® being one of the best internet service has made a new development by introducing this feature as it allows business services to become more advanced and user-friendly. Besides, the VoiceEdge™ Conference app is also available for many of the standard tools and software used for business, such as Microsoft OWA, Skype for Business, and Google Chrome.

The VoiceEdge™ Conference allows the addition of 50 participants along with a moderator for making the conference call. It essentially takes away the elaborate processes of making a conference call by providing a one-click access feature. This makes it much easier and fast to make and manage conference calls with multiple users.

It also provides improved security with the feature of PIN-protected conferencing, which is crucial for business communications. The VoiceEdge™ Conference app is compatible with various PC and mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.

13 Mar

AT&T® to Roll out Its 5G Services in Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco

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Rolling Out 5G Services

The development of 5G services took a major turn when AT&T® declared that it intends to first roll out its 5G network across the cities of Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco. AT&T® has been working on introducing its 5G services and the latest announcement conveys the rapid development of its 5G network. The Telco is also planning to open a 5G innovation center and test lab in Austin for further extending its best internet service. According to the official statements, AT&T® intends to debut its 5G services later this year with further upgrades planned for the beginning of 2019.

AT&T® is using the non-standalone (NSA) 5G 3GPP standards for deploying its 5G networks across the selected cities. The 5G network will use the millimeter-wave spectrum for providing the service. The customers can enjoy basic 5G services after AT&T® launches the network in the three cities. However, the Telco intends to include further additions to the network such as 5G capable smartphones and devices in 2019. Several additional spectrum bands will also be allocated in the coming years to accommodate the traffic.

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AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Wireless Network Architecture and Design, Igal Elbaz, said, “After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G — and do it much sooner than most people thought possible. What this means for our customers in these cities is that they will be the very first to access this next generation of wireless services.”

AT&T® is also planning to release the name of more cities that it intends to roll out 5G services in the coming months. It has already signed up with the Swedish telecommunications major, Ericsson for advancing its Internet of Things (IoT) solutions platform. According to AT&T®, “The experience we’ve gained by leading the industry transformation to network virtualization and software control will help our customers to get the most out of 5G. Ultimately, this means new experiences with augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), future autonomous cars, and delivery drones.”

The setting up of the new test lab and innovation center will help AT&T® to carry out extensive testing and trials of its standards-based 5G network. The engineers are provided with a conducive environment where they can build and test the 5G networks and devices. The outdoor 5G testbed of AT&T® Labs, known as Advanced 5G NR Testbed Systems (ANTS), will be used to carry out trials 5G applications and real world user cases.

06 Mar

Comcast® Introduces New Push Notifications Feature for its Xfinity xFi™ Customers

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New Push Notifications Feature

Comcast® has rolled out a new set of push notifications feature into its Xfinity® xFi™ system. This will enable its customers to obtain detailed information regarding their home network, which helps them to manage them more effectively. These push notifications will inform the user regarding any changes that happen in the home network and offers an improvement to the security of the system. The constant reminders sent out by the push notification feature will allow the customer to remain aware of all the recent changes made into the system and override the security of their home network.

The new push notifications feature introduced by Comcast® will provide their customer with real-time alerts through connected digital devices like a smartphone or TV. This will allow the customer to understand whether any changes have been made in the home network and take the necessary action. Since its launch last year, Comcast® has become one of the best internet providers in the country that offers a reliable home networking solution. The introduction of the xFi™ service allowed the customers with a solid platform to manage and customize their home networks via connected devices.

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Comcast’s newly introduced push notification feature will inform the user regarding several aspects. This includes alerts when a new device joins a home network that gives the customer more control over such as naming and assigning it to a particular person inside the home. It can also give valuable alerts about various security flaws in the home network such as when the network is switched to an open model by unauthorized access without consent of the customer.

Other network features like the status of the SSID or network name such as whether it is set to hidden or visible are also provided in the notifications. Other aspects such as a change in the IP address or the first time activation of Xfinity® Internet and the xFi™ gateway will also be included in the notifications. Comcast® is providing its customers with total control in customizing and managing their home network with this latest push notification feature.

The Telco has actually made these improvements to the xFi™ system solely for enhancing the security of the network. It was due to several security issues related to home networks that prompted Comcast® to come up with this improved push notification feature. It seems that with the introduction of this new feature, Comcast® is actually striding forward to make its xFi™ system a dependable platform and to step up the competition with other internet providers.

02 Mar

CenturyLink® To Extend Its SDN Services By Introducing E-LAN

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Extending SDN Services

CenturyLink® has made several plans to extend and develop its SDN based architecture in the country for enhancing services, particularly in the cloud, for its business users. Several other remarkable developments carried out by the telco in its Ethernet services have made it the largest domestic Ethernet carrier in the country. As a part of these improvements, CenturyLink® also intends to debut an E-LAN service this year. These improvements will enable CenturyLink® to offer the best internet service in a fast and efficient manner for enterprise customers.

Chris McReynolds, Vice President of Core Product Management, CenturyLink®, said, “We’re upgrading our backbone in a bunch of key U.S. markets to 100G in 2018. We are taking products like our E-Access and E-Line and completed that Ethernet portfolio by investing in a new E-LAN capability that will be more SDN powered. We do have an E-LAN offer today, but now we’re making it part of a next-gen portfolio so to speak.”

CenturyLink® has become the largest provider of Ethernet services in the country after it has acquired Level 3 Communications. With this, the company actually surpassed AT&T® to become the largest domestic Ethernet provider in the country. It will actually be beneficial for CenturyLink® to serve a range of customers based both domestically and globally. It will also equip the telco to offer services to medium businesses and multinational companies based in different countries across the world.

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Regarding the new offering of E- LAN, CenturyLink® is planning to introduce it by the second half of this year. The E- LAN product will be adaptable for various kinds of use cases, and the telco is intending to release along its global footprint, such as in Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions. The telco also expects that their E-LAN offering will be successful in metro cities, which will enable it to serve both the small and medium enterprise markets.

CenturyLink® has also partnered with various other cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure and Oracle. McReynolds said, “We’ve continue to add cloud partners over the years such as Azure, Oracle and AWS. We do some connections to those cloud providers dynamically, but we’re going to double down on that investment so we can enable customers’ digital transformation as they move from their legacy data centers and move workloads into the cloud in a real-time fashion.”

23 Feb

Comcast® Files an Application with FCC to Trial Services in 3.5 GHz Band

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Wireless And Mobile Services

Comcast® hopes to trial fixed wireless and mobile services over 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum band and has filed an application with Federal Communications Commission. “Comcast® will conduct outdoor and indoor fixed and mobile testing in a small targeted portion of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, market within its service territory. Specifically, testing will be conducted within a 7 km radius,” the company’s FCC filing stated.

“The field test will evaluate coverage, throughput, and mobility of equipment and facilities operating in the CBRS band to obtain data and advance Comcast’s understanding of the full potential of the technology and equipment utilized in these experimental operations. The field testing will also evaluate the performance of pre-commercial equipment in the CBRS band.”

The best internet provider also suggested that its interests firmly lie in phones that support CBRS band. “Through the use of mobile test devices and commercial handsets (i.e. ‘End User Equipment’), Comcast® will evaluate propagation characteristics for model verification, data throughput performance, inter-cell interference, and advanced Spectrum Access System (‘SAS’) functionality.”

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Comcast® is one of the members of CBRS alliance, which includes some major internet providers and equipment vendors. In August last year, Comcast® seemed to have contacted Nokia® to conduct small cell trials and half a dozen mobile units operating in CBRS band in Philly. Comcast’s application with FCC to self-test CBRS band in their headquarters may suggest an even deeper interest to deploy wireless services. Comcast® is not the only company to show interests in CBRS band; even Charter® has urged FCC to regulate 3.5 GHz band in the previous month using geographic currency no more than counties.

Charter® has also suggested that their fixed wireless trials in rural locations on 3.5 GHz have shown it can provide speeds at 25 megabytes per second at ‘significant distances’. Charter® has conducted mobile and fixed wireless trials in the said band but is yet to disclose details on results of the trials.

The interests in mobile wireless in CBRS band from Comcast® could coincide with Xfinity® Mobile, which runs on Verizon® network. Xfinity® Mobile is Comcast’s MNOV tie-up with Verizon®. As of now, the wireless service from Comcast® roams on to the public wireless hotspots, and the company might be looking to add more locations that can handle CBRS band and traffic from the customers. If that goes through, Comcast® would have to pay a less amount to Verizon® for network use.

20 Feb

Comcast Business® Completes Fiber Network Expansion in Downtown Holland

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Fiber Network Expansion

Comcast Business® has announced the completion of fiber network build-out in downtown Holland. The 45 miles long fiber expansion is meant for business tenants in up to 376 buildings situated in the area and is equipped with 100 Gbps network capacity. The VP of Comcast Business® in Michigan, Jeff Marston, said that fiber expansion is meant to reach small scale and medium scale companies and they seek that fiber too apart from large companies.

“The increasing reliance on big data and cloud applications is driving bandwidth usage from small and medium-size businesses,” Marston said. “Our scalable fiber network allows us to be all things to all businesses because we can easily tailor our technology solutions to meet their changing and diverse needs.”

The fiber expansion of Comcast Business® gives customers more access to high-speed internet, Ethernet, and voice services, and will greatly help businesses, which are seeking substantial bandwidth speeds. New customers of Comcast Business® will not have to bear build-out costs since the fiber network has been expanded in Holland. “Providing businesses with the most advanced technology today and in the future is imperative to our ability to grow Holland’s business community and overall economy,” said Arlan Meekho, R-West Olive township’s Senate Majority Leader.

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The debate on fiber-based internet keeps drawing interests in the Holland area, in particular since Holland Board of Public Works, continues to expand fiber network. The public works department in Michigan has started to offer shared gigabit service from December last year between 7th and 9th streets amid River Avenue and Garretson Road. Holland Board of Public Works has been expanding their fiber optic infrastructure as an open access network for more than two and a half decades said Becky Lehman, the department’s technology director. As of now, several service providers use the network built by HBPW to cater to the customers in Allegan and Ottawa counties in Michigan.

“The mission of the HBPW is to provide competitive, reliable, and innovative public utility solutions to the greater Holland area in a socially, environmentally and financially responsible manner,” Lehman said. “Expanding our fiber infrastructure and services helps to accomplish this mission and puts the community in a position to maintain its vitality for years to come.”

The announcement of fiber expansion completion by Comcast Business® is the 3rd in the last 7 months. In August last year, Comcast® installed Xfinity® hotspots across Holland, and in January, the best internet provider announced that it will provide revamped gigabit internet speeds in Kent, Allegan, and parts of Ottawa counties.

08 Feb

AT&T® Upgrades Fixed Wireless Internet Service in Arkansas

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Wireless Internet Service

The consumers in underserved and unserved areas in select parts of up to 40 counties in Arkansas can now access AT&T® Fixed Wireless Internet service. AT&T® debuted Fixed Wireless Internet in the US state back in September last year as part of their FCC Connect America Fund commitment. AT&T® has now upgraded the service in Arkansas’s rural and urban communities in order to cater to the varied broadband needs of both business and residential consumers.

AT&T® deploys the high-speed internet service without satellite via a wireless tower to a fixed antennae placed on the customers homes or business premises. AT&T® provides Fixed Wireless Internet with downstream speeds of up to 10 megabytes per second and upstream speeds of 1 Mbps at the least. “Access to broadband service is key for today’s digital economy,” said Senator Jonathan Dismang, President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas State Senate. “New technologies such as these will assist in closing the access gap that is present in certain areas of rural Arkansas. I’m excited to see AT&T® investing in this way.”

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The best internet provider now equips select parts of Arkansas counties namely Bradley, Benton, Carroll, Clark, Greene, Jackson, Mississippi, and so forth, with Fixed Wireless Internet. “It’s nice to finally have a fast, dependable connection, even though we live in a rural area,” said Judy McCool, who lives in Hot Spring County. “It’s especially great for our triplet granddaughters who live with us. Each has a laptop to complete school work and EAST Initiative projects at home. Before the new AT&T® technology was installed, we had to go to the county library seven miles away to connect to the Internet.”

“The thousands of dedicated men and women who work for AT&T® and call Arkansas home are proud to work with our state’s political leadership to provide the connectivity Arkansas’ residents and businesses demand,” said AT&T’s External Affairs Manager for Arkansas Area, Ronnie Dedman.

AT&T® started to offer high-speed internet service to more than 440,000 localities across 18 US states in 2017 as part of the FCC Connect America Fund commitment, and will continue the expansions to reach over 1.1mn areas nationwide by 2020. Considering Arkansas alone, AT&T® has committed to expand high-speed internet to over 50,000 locations throughout the Arkansas state in the years to come.

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