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25 Mar

Comcast Announces Major Leadership Change

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Comcast Leadership Change

Comcast Corporation is one of the leading internet providers in the country and they offer some of the best and cheap internet deals to their customers. The telecom giant recently announced that Dave Watson would hold the position of President and CEO of Comcast Cable from April 1, 2017. Officials also said that the previous President and CEO of the company, Neil Smit, would become the Vice Chairman of Comcast Corporation.

The officials from Comcast also confirmed that Watson and Smit would work closely for a few months in order to ensure a smooth transition of the leadership. They also added that Smit would also be engaged in a part-time work with the leaders of Comcast for developing future technology-oriented business opportunities.

Smit has served the role of head of Comcast Cable for seven years and he has had a wonderful career with the company. He also held several senior executive positions at Nabisco, Charter, and AOL, before he joined Comcast. On the other hand, Watson joined Comcast Corporation back in the year 1991 and he was Comcast Cable’s Chief Operating Officer since the year 2010.

Watson has also held several senior roles with the telecom company such as the leadership of sales, marketing, product, and advertising functions. He has also partnered with Smit to run the cable division of Comcast Corporation earlier.

The Chairman and CEO of Comcast, Brian L. Roberts said, “Dave Watson is the perfect new leader of Comcast Cable. There are few people in the cable industry who have his breadth and depth of experience. Dave, along with Neil and the executive teams across the cable division, drove the operating strategy and execution that have led to phenomenal growth over the last several years as well as our focus on the customer experience and the improvements we have made recently. Dave knows the business and has a track record of delivering results.”

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Technology-Oriented Business

He further stated that, “Neil has been an extraordinary leader and has helped transform Comcast Cable into the top cable and broadband company in the nation. He is not only an exceptional executive, but he is also one of the finest individuals with whom I have had the privilege to work. Neil and his team have created an innovation engine at Comcast Cable, with countless new and game-changing products and businesses.”

“We are also so appreciative and inspired by Neil’s service as a Navy SEAL,” Robert added. “While the personal sacrifices he made on behalf of our Country can never be repaid, all of us who know Neil are very grateful for his service. As Neil cuts back on his full-time role, I am delighted that he will continue to work with us.”

21 Mar

AT&T And IBM Launches New IoT Analytics Solution

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IoT Analytics Solution

AT&T, along with the multinational technology company IBM, has opened up a new collaboration with their respective technologies, the IoT solutions and IBM Cloud. This will provide a new way for the companies to gather more value from their data in a relatively simple way.

The collaboration between the two companies has resulted in the development of the latest AT&T IoT analytics capability. This will enable AT&T’s Enterprise customers in changing their industrial IoT data into analytic insights, which will prompt them to take quicker action in improving their business operations.

IoT has witnessed tremendous growth due to the increasing demand for real-time operations data. By the introduction of this new service, AT&T and IBM provide the enterprise customers of AT&T with key insights into their industrial IoT data. This is done by using AT&T M2X, Flow Designer, Control Center, and other IoT solutions. IBM Watson IoT, IBM Watson Data Platform, the fastest data ingestion engine, and IBM Machine Learning Service is also available to the Enterprise customers.

This new service will enable companies to use their own IoT generated data to improve the maintenance prediction and optimization of their systems. Chris Penrose, President of IoT Solutions at AT&T said, “Businesses are eager for actionable data insights from their connected devices that help improve their processes and take the guesswork out of decision-making. Integrating the IBM Watson Data Platform into our IoT capabilities will be huge for our enterprise customers.”

Steve Canepa, General Manager of Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment at IBM stated that, “With the tremendous growth in IoT adoption comes the need for more tools and services that will unlock the value in the IoT data being generated.”

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AT&T IoT Analytics

“As part of our continued collaboration to drive innovation, IBM is working with AT&T to combine our strengths and expertise to combine analytics solutions on the IBM Cloud that will enable AT&T’s enterprise customers to utilize their complex data in a meaningful way and deliver insights that can help accelerate their business transformation,” Canepa added.

This strong collaboration between AT&T, which is one of the best internet providers in  the US, and IBM will bring forward new IoT innovations to the market. The alliance is expected to bring about advancements in wireless connectivity, enhanced analytics, and cognitive capabilities.

Earlier in 2016, AT&T and IBM had proposed plans for integrating many of its IoT and cloud platforms. This is now a reality, as developers have now access to these capabilities, which enables them to build, organize, and scale their IoT applications.

10 Mar

Satellite Internet Will Offer True Broadband

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HughesNet Gen5 Service

In the United States, satellite internet providers that cater to remote and rural users, have been improving steadily over the last few years. Hughes Network Systems, which is a subsidiary of EchoStar, has now announced that their latest HughesNet Gen5 service, which is planned to go live on March 16, has cleared a big hurdle to become the first internet service to achieve the Federal Communications Commission’s defined broadband speeds across important areas in Alaska and the continental US. The broadband speeds for internet service set by FCC are 3 Mbps for uploads and 25 Mbps for downloads.

The Gen5 service from HughesNet will tap into the newly launched EchoStar XIX satellite and EchoStar XVII satellite. HughesNet describes the EchoStar XIX satellite as the “world’s highest capacity broadband satellite.” Gen5 service is powered by Hughes’ Jupiter System, which is the “world’s most widely deployed satellite networking platform,” the company said.

The new Gen5 service will not only deliver more data and faster speeds, but will also offer built-in Wi-Fi. “HughesNet Gen5 will bring a new level of Internet services to the approximately 18 million households across the United States that are either unserved or suffering from slow wireline Internet services,” said Pradman Kaul, who is the president of Hughes Network Systems.

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Broadband Speeds

For the residential users, the HughesNet Gen5 service will offer plans with up to 50 GB of monthly data and prices starting from 49.99 dollars per month. Business plan offerings will range up to 250 GB of data per month and prices starting from 69.99 dollars. All these plans are offered with 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed. HughesNet said that they would share more details of the Gen5 plans and prices on the launch day.

Other new features of the Gen5 service are:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi service;
  • No hard data limits, meaning that if the monthly data plan is exceeded, the service will continue with decreased speeds until next billing cycle;
  • Video Data Saver feature to watch videos without using much data; and
  • 50 GB of free data per month that can be used in off-peak hours (i.e. 02:00 am to 08:00 am local time).

In addition to that, the new Jupiter Aero System will tap into the EchoStar XIX satellite to offer 400 Mbps of best internet service in aircrafts. Reports say that some of the airlines like Southwest will be offering boosted wireless internet service by the second half of 2017.

06 Mar

Comcast Increase Internet Speeds For Users In Houston

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One-Gigabyte Internet Speeds

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

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

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

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

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

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Performance Internet

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

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

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

01 Mar

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

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Volte For IoT

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

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

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

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

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

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AT&T Internet Plans

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

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

01 Mar

Cox Raises Internet And Cable Prices

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Internet And Cable Prices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Costs Continue To Rise

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

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

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

28 Feb

AT&T Announces Unlimited Data Plans To Lure More Customers

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Unlimited Internet

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

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

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

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

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

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High-Speed Internet

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

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

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

27 Feb

Cox Collaborating With The American Library Association To Bridge Digital Divide

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Internet For All

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

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

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

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

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

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No More Digital Divide

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

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

25 Feb

AT&T Conducts Trials On Streaming DirecTV Now Using 5G Network

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AT&T 5G Network

Recently, AT&T conducted a series of trials in using 5G network to stream its DirecTV Now service. Collaborating with the multinational communications company Nokia, AT&T conducted the trials at its Labs Facility in New Jersey using the millimeter wave spectrum in the 39 GHz band.

According to the claims of Nokia, the test was the “world’s first by delivering a 39 GHz system based on its commercially available AirScale radio access platform.” Both the companies stated that the trials were a demonstration of the ability of 5G platforms in supporting low network latency and high throughput services.

AT&T has earlier announced about conducting field trials in and lab tests in Austin, Texas. Tom Keathley, SVP for Wireless Network Architecture and Design at AT&T, said that, “With this trial, we’re doing something that no other operator has done – regionally or globally. We expect 39 GHz to be an important 5G band in the United States and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with Nokia to further advance 5G technologies in this band.”

“The work coming out of AT&T Labs will provide valuable contributions to future 5G standards, and allow us to pave the way for delivering significantly faster speeds and a better overall network experience for our customers across the US,” Keathley added. Reports say that the carrier is planning to begin trials of 5G services using the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands.

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DirecTV Now Service

The offering of the services of the two companies in pooling up the necessary resources and other characteristics has contributed highly to these experimental trials. AT&T’s recent acquisition of FiberTower has enabled them to set up the access to the 39 GHz spectrum. Previously, the carrier has done many trials combined with Swedish telecomm giant Ericsson and Qualcomm using the millimeter wave spectrum bands.

The spectrum of 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands included in the tests is an effort to bolster the newly developing Third Generation Partnership Project in the expected LTE Release 15 standard. This could benefit AT&T and other internet providers in giving out cheap internet plans to their subscribers.

Note that FCC’s Spectrum Frontiers proceedings include both these bands. The federal government is also considering up to 11 GHz of spectrum above 24 GHz band for supporting mobile telecom services. Many operators like Verizon, T-Mobile, and C Spire Wireless are also considering the use of this band for 5G network trials.

23 Feb

Charter Offers Mobile Plans As They End TWC Video Discounts

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Wi-Fi Services

Charter Communications is the second largest cheapest cable provider in the United States, but now they are starting to sound more like a wireless provider. The comments of CEO Tom Rutledge to analysts on the conference call to discuss fourth quarter earnings show that they are now concentrating on wireless communication.

Much of the conference involved the plan of Charter Communications to introduce a new mobile service in the year 2018. As per the reports, the new mobile service will integrate the Wi-Fi services of Charter with the mobile network of Verizon.

“Our goal is to include wireless services in our packages and drive more customer relationship growth,” Rutledge said. Charter is also planning filed trials to find how they can mix their wired networks with the best internet services and speedy 5G wireless connections. “Over the long term, our goals with wireless and mobility and our wireless business plan will broaden,” the CEO added.

Rutledge also noted that most of the twenty-two million broadband users of Charter already use Wi-Fi routers and that they serve 200 million plus routers. “Many of those are phones and have a contract with a traditional mobile cellular provider,” he said. “But, 75% of the bits on those devices are coming through the Wi-Fi platform. So we’re a wireless provider of data services today.”

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Charter Mobile Network

These numbers could increase even more, as more people are turning to virtual and augmented reality offerings that make use of goggles and smartphones. “They’re less about mobility than about capacity and low latency, and our networks set up well from a capital cost perspective,” Rutledge said, adding that he sees opportunities for Charter to use 5G or Wi-Fi to serve to the needs of mobile users in specific areas like malls.

For the traditional cable services, Charter said that their subscriber numbers has declined 1.3% to reach 16.8 million in the fourth quarter. Much of this decline in subscribers came after Charter ended the discount plans that were offered by Time Warner Cable.

“There were 96,000 different promotional offers out there,” Rutledge says. “The sheer logistics of managing that has been a challenge….In the fall of 2015 those offers were significant and they obviously went through close [of the deals] — even a little bit afterward.”

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