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09 Nov

Hughes Network® Enters into Contract with OneWeb for Developing Ground Network System

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Ground Network System

Hughes Network Systems® has declared that it entered into a contract worth $190 million with OneWeb for the development of a ground network system. The contract also covers the sustaining of the Low Earth Orbit satellites owned by OneWeb and strives to offer affordable broadband internet service to numerous schools, households, and other users. Hughes Network Systems®, as the leading provider of satellite broadband and other cheap internet services, will achieve a wider network reach across the country and the rest of the world by entering into this contract with OneWeb.

The current contract is an upgrade to the original system development agreement that the two companies signed in the year 2015. This contract had an estimated total value of above $300 million for both the companies. This agreement covered many aspects such as the development of gateway sites that consists of multiple tracking satellite access points. This will maintain operations and the switching of high-speed user internet traffic amongst the satellites.

Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb said, “The start of production of the ground system is a major step towards fulfilling OneWeb’s goal of bridging the digital divide, leaving no one behind. Hughes has been an outstanding technology partner and we are excited to deploy this essential part of our network as we ramp up to launch the first of our fleet early next year and provide service to every rural home in Alaska starting in 2019.”

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John Corrigan, senior vice president of Engineering for Hughes® stated, “Designing a ground system capable of supporting hundreds of LEOs with seamless handoff of broadband traffic between satellites presented a significant challenge. But our team was up to the task, and we are proud to be partnering with OneWeb on realizing this revolutionary satellite communications system to close the global digital divide.”

OneWeb was set up with a goal to provide affordable internet access to everyone in the world. OneWeb is actually a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites intended to extend the network connectivity to almost everyone in this world and thereby bridge the prevailing digital divide. Hughes Network® and OneWeb had begun the combined development of the ground network just about two years ago.

The current contract signed between the two companies has included many aspects. It mainly consists of the provision of necessary equipment that will offer support to the multiple satellite access points at gateway locations across the world. These access points will contain a custom switching complex, power amplifiers, and outdoor modems. The shipments are estimated to commence from mid-2018 onwards.

08 Nov

Comcast Business® Extends Ethernet Networks to 5 New Business Parks in San Jose

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Ethernet Networks Extended

Comcast Business®, a major subsidiary of Comcast Corporation®, has declared that they have made significant investments amounting to more than six million for developing its fiber networks to five new business parks in San Jose. The expansion of Ethernet from Comcast® will offer high-speed internet delivering a network capacity of 10 Gigabits-per-second to more than 1600 businesses based in San Jose. Moreover, its secure, reliable, and scalable features will greatly fit in with the networking requirements of the businesses.

Relying on this Ethernet, internet, Wi-Fi, TV, and voice solutions will immensely benefit the businesses and help them grow. Matthew Mahood, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Organization said, “With a population surpassing 1 million, San Jose is the 10th largest city in the country, the 3rd largest in California, and the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s a thriving technology hub, home to tech giants such as Apple, eBay, Cisco and PayPal.”

He further added that, “Much like other large cities, San Jose is always looking for ways to attract new businesses while maintaining the best quality of life it can for all. Silicon Valley does business differently. In order to continue innovating, it must stay on the cutting-edge of technology to compete effectively within the region, and Comcast Business® helps position us as a leading high-tech city.”

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David Brown, vice president of Comcast Business® for California stated, “The availability and reach of our high-performance Ethernet network is a tremendous business advantage for San Jose organizations. Companies of all sizes can meet their capacity needs now and prepare for future requirements as well, all while benefiting from our advanced telecommunications services. Not only does this help organizations meet customer needs and drive growth, but it helps boost the local economy as well.”

The investments made by Comcast Business® to expand its Ethernet services will offer business access to an extensive portfolio of Gigabit Ethernet options. This will be of help to them in meeting their daily requirements, connecting various branches or sites, and linking their offices to third party data centers. The services offered by Comcast Business® are Ethernet Private Line, Ethernet Virtual Private Line, Ethernet Network Service, and Ethernet Dedicated Internet.

All these available Ethernet options are specifically tailored to meet the individual demands of each of the businesses. They provide high-speed internet connectivity along with the option to customize the connection for its bandwidth, cost, and performance alongside linking them between different organizations.

03 Nov

AT&T® Launches Microservices Supplier Program by Partnering With IBM

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Microservices Supplier Program

AT&T® has collaborated with IBM to launch an all-new microservices supplier program. This represents a new software-based initiative undertaken by AT&T® that will totally change its approach in the delivery of applications and functions to businesses. With this collaboration, AT&T® and IBM will work together in the design, development, and deployment of microservices, which if fully implemented, is expected to alter AT&T’s business backend processes.

Along with the development of microservices in the sales, ordering, and enterprise data systems, IBM will also provide AT&T® an effective way to enhance its backend processing. This will be made possible as the fast and easily accessible services will result in less downtime that will enable the businesses in quickly adapting to the changing market conditions.

Microservices refers to an architectural style where independent services constitute the enterprise apps that functions together. It functions in a collaborative manner as each of the apps is segmented into small blocks or “micro services”. Each of these blocks has a particular function such as in assisting with mobile payments and streamlined workflows.

With this, it is much easier for any enterprise that provides mobile payment services to carry out upgrades or bring up new features without the need to renovate the app. The other noteworthy feature of microservices allows combination in several ways that aids in developing specific solutions that will offer AT&T® in providing new capabilities faster.

AT&T® has already begun the deployment of microservices in its best internet network. Recently, AT&T® launched the artificial intelligence platform Acumos, which provides a customer the means to build, share, and install many of the AI applications made using microservices.

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Besides the improvements in its network, AT&T® is also using microservices to enhance the efficiency of its fleet of technicians. The Work Flow feature was introduced by the Telco to assist their technicians to tackle with many of the complicated work while attending on the customer’s issues. Using this application, AT&T’s field technicians are provided with a microservice that will gather the required resources and thereby guide the technicians regarding the installation or repair procedure.

AT&T® can also use an extra microservice that allows it to create, manage, and track the various contracts among its business products. The Telco has declared that the deployment of microservices in its networks has led to considerable savings per year. In addition, microservices are also utilized in ONAP, the crucial parts of AT&T’s SDN network that provides a quick delivery of its virtual network functions.

Implementing microservices has numerous benefits such as enhanced data security in large-scale data sharing, faster service provisioning, and quicker activation. It is also a boon for healthcare professionals, as it helps them in accessing and working on the patient data seamlessly.

01 Nov

Cox® Contour Hits 1-Million Subscriber Mark

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Contour Platform Latest Version

One of the fastest internet providers in the country, Cox Communications® recently announced that they have more than 1 million video subscribers on the latest version of their “Contour” platform. The new “Contour” platform is underpinned by the cloud-based X1 platform of Comcast Corporation®.

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Cox Communications® currently has over 4 million video subscribers and the numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. An interesting thing to do is that approximately half of the pay-TV base of the leading TV service provider is on their new offering.

The new offering from Cox® offers a number of exciting new features to their video subscribers such a voice control remote and cloud-powered guide. In addition to that, customers who have subscribed to this service will also be able to enjoy the luxury of integrating with apps for mobile devices.

The officials from Cox® stated that the rollout of the new service was actually their fastest-ever video product launch and added that they recently celebrated the Contour milestone by hanging a banner at their headquarters. In addition that, the 1 millionth customer who signs up for the new offering from Cox Communications® was also rewarded with a free year of internet and video service plus an all-expenses-paid free trip to the Disneyland in California.

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Voice Control Remote

The officials from Cox® also shed light on some other stats related to their Contour TV service and stated that about 75 percent of their subscribers use voice remote weekly. They also added that the Contour app, which has been downloaded by over 1 million users currently, offers customers access to over 85 linear channels outside their home.

Cox® Contour also provides over 70,000 VOD choices to customers. Reports indicate that about 80 percent of Contour customers use VOD monthly. Officials from Cox® also announced that the Net Promotor Scores for the latest service are 200% higher than their legacy offering.

The EVP and chief product and technology officer at Cox®, Kevin Hart said, “The syndication with Comcast® is going quite well. The teams are working well together. We just hit 1 million customers on our Contour 2 platform, so that’s a big milestone for us. The NPS is up, customer satisfaction is up, and call-in rates and truck-roll rates are down below our expectations.”

30 Oct

Comcast® Reports Increase in Data Service Share from DOCSIS 3.1 and Fiber Networks

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Data Service Share

Comcast® has stated that its recent rollouts of DOCSIS 3.1 and fiber networks to businesses will help them to obtain a significant portion of the ever-competing data market. Some of the major internet providers in the country currently dominate the data sector. Michael Cavanagh, CFO of Comcast® said, “The significant majority of [Comcast’s] business services revenue is centered on connectivity, and we have even more runway to increase share in our data product as we move to gigabit speeds throughout our footprint with the deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 and as we continue to push fiber deeper in our network.”

The CFO of Comcast® stated this to the investors while evaluating the third quarter earnings. It highlights that the broadband and fiber-based services such as Ethernet constitutes a major portion of the business revenues generated by the Telco. One of its key network service, the Comcast® Business Internet 1 Gbps is currently available in many the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Central regions of the country. The Telco announced that it would be available to the other parts of the country by the end of this year.

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Deployment Of DOCSIS 3.1

Comcast® is continuing with the expansion of its fiber network into more locations across the country. Besides its increasing network connectivity option, Comcast® has continued in extending its business services with the introduction of services such as SD-WAN and managed Wi-Fi. Previously, it has introduced its SD-WAN product alongside the 1 Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 broadband service intended for businesses. Focused on the Comcast® Business ActiveCore SDN platform, this SD-WAN service indicates the increasing efforts by the Telco into virtualization of its network.

Cavanagh said, “We continue to augment growth through business applications and services right on top of our core connectivity business. These include our voice, video surveillance and advanced Wi-Fi products, and additionally, as we grow into the midsized business and enterprise segments, our recently launched SD-WAN product and our managed enterprise solutions business will help unlock new opportunities to serve branch offices of larger multisite businesses.”

ActiveCore uses software to deliver the services and network changes rather than using single managed and customized hardware. The ActiveCore SDN platform has several features such as the embedded orchestration capability that can be used to deliver as well as manage multiple virtualized network functions. Meanwhile, Comcast® has attained rapid increase in its revenue in the third quarter earnings, with around 12.6 percent growth.

25 Oct

OpenChain Project Announces Comcast® As Their Platinum Member

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OpenChain Platinum Member

Linux Foundation has grown as the organization of choice for the top companies and developers of the world to build ecosystems that aim to accelerate commercial adoption and open technology development. The foundation, together with the open source community, is solving the hardest to crack technological issues. OpenChain Project is one of the ambitious projects of the Linux Foundation and they have now made Comcast® a Platinum Member of their project. Comcast® will now be in the Governing Board of the OpenChain Project.

OpenChain has been growing with a rapid pace in the recent months and the Governing Board of the project has fourteen members now. These members inspire and support a community of about 200, and address the requirements to have open source compliance.

“The OpenChain Project is centered around a specification that outlines an approach for open source compliance in all types of organization,” said Shane Coughlan, who is the Project Director of OpenChain. “Today, as we welcome Comcast to our Governing Board, we benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience provided by a diverse group of stakeholders. Together our member companies and our broader community will collaborate to build a better, more efficient supply chain and will help to ensure that all parties benefit from effective use of open source technology.”

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Open Source Adoption

Nithya Ruff, who is the Senior Director of Open Source Practice at Comcast® Cable, said, “OpenChain provides a powerful platform to accelerate open source adoption and engagement through shared best practices in compliance. We’re excited to learn from our peers and share our experiences as we engage in this important and valuable project.”

The OpenChain Project aims to find processes to have effective open source management and build trust in open source by making the license compliance process of open source consistent and simple. The OpenChain Specification defines a set of requirements that all quality compliance programs should satisfy.

The OpenChain Curriculum offers the educational foundation for open source solutions and processes while meeting the important requirements of the OpenChain Specification. The OpenChain Conformance allows business organizations to highlight their adherence to the requirements. The result is that the license compliance to open source will become much more understandable, predicable, and efficient for all of the participants of the software supply chain. Linux Foundation has invited businesses of all sizes to review the OpenChain Project.

24 Oct

Charter® Develops its Wireless Plans and Proposes to Deploy LTE Small Cells

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Deploy LTE Small Cells

Charter® has set forth numerous prospects for the future, especially in its wireless sector. The inside-out strategy proposed by Charter® will begin in 2018 with the WiFi first MVNO through Verizon Communications®. The Telco, which is also one of the major internet providers in US, is also planning to extend and develop their services into a mobile core infrastructure through the deployment of licensed LTE small cells. By this, Charter® intends to further diversify and make its cheap internet and cellular networks more efficient.

Officials stated that, “Charter® is actively testing licensed small cell technologies which will put us on the path to providing next-generation super-fast, high capacity broadband to our customers. We will combine this 4G LTE and 5G technologies with our existing advanced high-speed network to profoundly enhance connectivity for millions of our subscribers.”

Charter® also gave full details of its plans in a recently made filing with the FCC. The filing says, “The wireless component of Charter’s network is transitioning from a nomadic Wi-Fi network to one that supports full mobility by incorporating Wi-Fi with multiple 4G and 5G access technologies to deliver a seamless connectivity experience. In navigating this transition, Charter® is emphasizing an ‘Inside-Out’ strategy, focusing first on wireless solutions inside the home and office, and then eventually expanding outdoors.”

Executives at Charter® have appeal to the FCC to release the 3.5 GHz spectrum for licensed and unlicensed usage. The rules for the band will be discussed by the agency at the open meeting scheduled by the FCC. Charter® has put pressure on the agency to release the spectrum quickly and in implementing rules to limit licenses within a geographical area of a county.

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According to the filing, “Large license sizes would limit access of the band to the country’s largest wireless carriers and would likely result in deployment only to the most densely populated areas. Smaller license sizes will enable new entrants, like Charter®, to tailor their investment and deployment plans by leveraging existing infrastructure.”

It further states, “In particular, Charter’s existing hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network provides the backhaul, power, and location to rapidly deploy small cells for the provision of wireless broadband service. By contrast, increasing the geographic licensing size of PALs to PEAs would preclude new entrants such as Charter® from investing in the 3.5 GHz Band due to their large geographic size.”

The efforts by Charter® in advancing its wireless networks will also extend into the core network arena. Charter® is planning to use the Evolved Packet Core of Verizon®, IMS infrastructure, SIM cards, and roaming. However, Charter® is currently assessing various EPC vendors and in the process of carrying out tests in its own virtual EPC to develop its core network.

23 Oct

AT&T® and Project Loon Partner in Puerto Rico

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Google Project Loon

The moonshot project from Google, named Project Loon, and AT&T® have joined hands to offer cell services to hurricane struck Puerto Rico. X, a former branch of Google, which is now a part of Alphabet Inc, developed the project Loon. Then idea is to broaden the coverage making use of balloons that act like mobile towers.

X was in need of a telecom partner to bring the services to Puerto Rico and that is where AT&T®, the best internet provider, came into the scene. The businesses said that they are “now supporting basic communication” for “some people with LTE enabled phones.” It is reported that people will be able to make use of the “limited” Loon service to send text and access the internet, even though the companies are not yet clear on the number of users who have gained access to the coverage offered.

The Federal Communications Commission has given permission to fly up to thirty balls. A spokesperson from X said that there are a handful of balloons in the area and that more balloons are on the way. Even after one month of the Hurricane Maria ripping through the island, more than sixty-eight percent of the cell sites of Puerto Rico are out of service as per the reports from FCC.

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Solar Powered Balloons

The fragile infrastructure of the island impedes companies like AT&T® from restoring the service to many regions of the island. This has made them turn to alternative technologies. They are making use of temporary satellite based cell sites in some of the areas and the main aim of Loon is to reach the areas that are hardest hit by the hurricane. An AT&T® spokesperson said that these balloons are solar powered and can use battery power when the sun is not available. However, there are limitations. The Loon coverage is much limited at nighttime.

Loon proved to be an effective idea for flooded area of Peru earlier. X said that the reason for Loon running quickly in Peru was that the group had been working with Telefónica. The systems were already integrated and tests conducted, months before Loon ramping up the internet coverage. However, in Puerto Rico X had to start from scratch. FCC issued an “experimental license” to X on Oct. 7, and at that time, they were not having a telecom partner for the project.

“We’ve never deployed Project Loon connectivity from scratch at such a rapid pace,” Loon project director Alastair Westgarth said. “Project Loon is still an experimental technology and we’re not quite sure how well it will work, but we hope it helps get people the information and communication they need to get through this unimaginably difficult time.”

21 Oct

Charter Communions® Sues Local 3 Union

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Charter Sues Workers’ Union

One of the best internet service providers in the United States, Charter Communications® recently sued a workers’ union by claiming that the members of the union reportedly sabotaged their networks in New York City. The officials from Charter® also believe that IBEW Local 3 Union members started to do this after the strike, which began approximately 6 months ago.

In the complaint filed against the workers’ union in New York State Supreme Court, the telecom company stated, “On over 125 occasions, Charter® cables, including both coaxial and fiber optic cables in both secured and unsecured locations at sites throughout New York City, have been deliberately cut or damaged, thereby denying thousands of subscribers access to cable, internet, and voice service, and interfering with their ability to contact emergency services, and forcing Charter® to devote hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours to investigating and repairing its property.”

In addition to that, Charter® also added that these acts of vandalism happened during the strike. Therefore, they believe that it was not mere coincidence. The telecom company went on blame the members of the IBEW Local 3 Union and wrote, “Upon information and belief the perpetrators of these acts of sabotage were Local 3 members and/or agents acting to support Local 3’s strike. The incidents occurred in large numbers and rapid succession immediately upon Local 3’s walkout from collective bargaining, whereas before the strike such incidents were almost entirely unheard of. The saboteurs clearly knew the optimal locations where they could quickly cut cable lines to multiple customers without being harmed or observed, suggesting they are cable technicians who work for Charter®.”

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Sabotage Network Property

The officials from Charter Communications® also stated that the attackers have stolen nothing of value, which means that the “sabotage was done purely out of maliciousness.” Charter® also alleged that the members of the workers union intentionally damaged the vehicles of Charter®, blocked access to Charter® facilities, and even threatened “physical violence against Charter® employees and their families.”

On the other hand, Local 3 union responded to Charter’s statement with a court filing, in which they wrote, “Plaintiff has virtually no likelihood of success on the merits as the New York Court of Appeals held long ago, and consistently upheld time and again, that a plaintiff must plead and prove that each and every member of a labor union authorized, or ratified after the fact with full knowledge, the alleged unlawful acts. Plaintiff has not and cannot meet this pleading requirement, much less prove that the 30,000 members of Local 3 authorized or ratified the alleged unlawful acts claimed by Plaintiff in its Order to Show Cause.”

18 Oct

Charter® and Viacom® Finally Sign a New Agreement

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Charter®-Viacom® Agreement

In a recent announcement, the officials from Charter Communications® and Viacom Inc® confirmed that they have finally reached “an agreement in principle”. The new deal between both the parties will ensure that the cable networks of Viacom® will continue to air on the cable service of Charter Spectrum®.

The authorities from Viacom Inc® had earlier warned Charter® subscribers that they would lose access to Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, and other networks, if Charter® failed to sign a new deal. Fortunately, Charter® has managed to pull off a new deal before these popular networks were removed from their channel lineup.

In a joint statement, the officials from both the companies stated, “Viacom® and Charter® have reached an agreement in principle. Spectrum® subscribers will continue to have access to Viacom’s networks, without disruption, while we finalize terms.”

Reports from several reliable sources claim that the previous contract between Viacom Inc® and Charter® expired on last Sunday but both the companies refused to share any insight on the expiry date of the previous contract. However, it is true that both of them has agreed to a short-term extension of the contract, which means that customers will not have to worry about losing access to these channels.

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Short-Term Contract Extension

Viacom® had earlier stated that they were not asking the telecom company to pay greater fees for their individual channels instead they only wanted Charter® to carry all their 23 TV channels as a part of their new Spectrum® TV service. The telecom giant has shown their reluctance to carry all the channels of Viacom® and we still don’t know how many Viacom® channels have Charter® agreed to carry in the recently signed agreement.

Some of the channels of Viacom® are not as popular as they once were and it has put them on a tough spot. However, Viacom® network shows such as “The Comedy Get Down”, “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”, “South Park”, “Paw Patrol”, and “SpongeBob SquarePants”, continue to draw a large number of audiences even now. Consequently, audiences were frustrated when they heard that Viacom® would be pulling their channels from the TV service of Charter®.

One of the TV subscribers of Charter®, Mark Hull, posted a comment on the official Facebook page of Charter Spectrum®, in which he wrote “Negotiate for the channels, because if not, I’ll be putting your equipment in a trash bag on my front porch, and you can come get it before it rains next.”

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