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08 Jan

AT&T® Employees Union Files Lawsuit against the Dallas-Based Telecommunication Company

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AT&T®, the Dallas based Telecommunication Company is planning to terminate 713 employees. A union representing the employees of AT&T® filed a suit in the US district court to object this move from the telecom company. They union asked the Texas court to block the layoff of 713 employees.

The Telecommunication employees of America filed the lawsuit on Friday in disagreement with the company’s layoff policy. In the lawsuit, the employee union says that AT&T® is taking this step only to recruit cheap contract workers or to ship the job abroad. The accused are AT&T Services®, Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., and Direct TV®. In addition, the union also went on to file a charge with the US National Labor Relations Board.

The mass dismissal, which includes 152 technicians in the installation department of TV and internet services, will affect the workers of Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. However, the AT&T® company spokesman, Marty Richter rejected all the claims in the lawsuit and said, “The fact is the allegations in the lawsuit are baseless “. He further stated, “We comply with the terms of our collective bargaining agreements and did so in this case”

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According to Richter, the company took this step because of the advanced technology that is more efficient for the company. Besides, the demand by their customers for new services is also a reason for the mass termination. Marty Richter also said that even though they are dismissing the employees, they will help the technicians to find jobs in other branches of the company across the globe. He also justified that even after such a mass dismissal, the company has more than thousands of workers that it had two years ago.

The planned downsizing happened as AT&T® depends more on the latest automation technologies and as the company is trying to use the cloud-based software instead of copper wires for communication. Furthermore, the company also tried to launch a reinforcement effort to teach new digitally focused techniques like coding to the employees. In spite of this fact, the analysts and executives of AT&T® had predicted about this cut down at that time itself.

The layoffs became worse when the company tried to justify themselves by commenting how it will lower the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Additionally, when the bill was signed, the AT&T® CEO Randall Stephenson promised a special bonus of $1000 for more than 200,000 workers. He also announced that the company would invest an additional $1 billion to create thousands of job opportunities in 2018.

02 Jan

Washington State Advance Past Lawsuit Made Against Comcast®

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Deceptive Sales Practices

Washington State is now advancing a lawsuit made against Comcast® in 2016. State Attorney, General Bob Ferguson alleges deposing of customer service call records as the reason for that. He said they are proof of “deceptive sales practices” made by the Telco. Reports indicate that probes unearthed “illegal conduct” especially when investigators queried for the recorded calls made to the customers.

The lawsuit initially claimed that, “Comcast® has violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86 (the “CPA”) over 1.8 million times through unfair and deceptive acts and practices relating to its Service Protection Plan (“SPP”), service call fees it charges consumers, and deposits it obtained from consumers.”

Comcast® refuted the ongoing claims of the attorney general and reaffirmed they were as per flawed probing methods and assumptions. The Telco would continue defending the lawsuit in court.

“The Service Protection Plan gives those consumers who choose to purchase it great value by covering virtually all service charges over 99% of the time,” said Comcast® VP of external affairs for Washington region, Marianne Bichsel. However, Ferguson said the Telco’s refusal of request to access the records of service calls as taxing, and hence the lawsuit is filed again.

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The allegation is based on Comcast’s giving away of sample call recordings to the investigators and that a majority of the recordings were deleted. “We’ve now uncovered evidence that many Washingtonians are paying for it without their consent,” the state Attorney General claimed referring to the signing of a fraudulent service plan in the past by Comcast® to thousands of customers in the state.

The probing team claims to have analyzed 150 calls from a possible thousand made between customers and service reps of the Telco. In response to that they have said “as confirmed by the court, any accusation that Comcast® deleted calls because of this investigation is just plain wrong. In fact, we gave the AG over 4,500 call recordings and they have only listened to 150 of them.”

Comcast® is said to have termed the suit a stretch stating that subscribers’ get e-mail confirmations upon signing up for the service plan. Washington State is now seeking a refund for the customers who subscribed unknowingly to the plan and civil fines against the Telco but has refused to reveal the penalty amount to the press.

28 Dec

CenturyLink® Establishes LAN Networks in Little Caesars Area in Detroit

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CenturyLink® powers the networks of around 15 sporting and entertainment-based venues nationwide like CenturyLink® Field and U.S. Bank Stadium in Seattle and Minneapolis respectively. The best internet provider was recently chosen by the Detroit-based entertainment company Olympia Entertainment to establish the infrastructural network for the Little Caesars Arena. The multipurpose arena in Detroit forms one part of ‘The District Detroit’ a fifty-block development project led by the Litch family.

The arena alone can accommodate 20,000 people and is the home ground of Detroit Red Wings (NHL), and Detroit Pistons (NBA) as of now. It also hosts community gatherings, entertainment shows, and other sporting events in a calendar year. Over 1 million guests have accessed the Little Caesars Arena since it was opened earlier this year indicate reliable sources.

With an aim of entertaining the visitors, CenturyLink® conceived and installed a converged LAN network inside the arena making it accessible to communication platforms, components or compatible devices nearby.

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“Building a world-class communications infrastructure was critical to the success of the arena, and CenturyLink® delivered,” said John King, the VP of Information Technology & Innovation at Olympia Entertainment. “The arena’s advanced communications network helps us keep our guests connected in multiple ways as they’re enjoying our events, while enabling the operations staff to keep everything running smoothly and at peak efficiency,” he added.

The infrastructure provided by CenturyLink® comprises of over 12,000 internet ports, more than 200 VLANs and 45 IDFs that connects telecommunications cable with the devices of the end user and an MDF. The main network can support 40 Gbps Ethernet speed, to go with 20 Gbps uplink speeds redundantly to each Intermediate Distribution Frame which facilitates the same.

The best internet provider also enhances the call center in the Little Caesars Arena with VoIP service for around 700 landline phones inside the arena and back offices nearby. Besides that, CenturyLink® also powers the Little Caesars arena with dynamic signage and IPTV, which provides up-to-date info regarding a running event or other customized digital content. The Internet Protocol Television platform comprise of around 1700 display screens inclusive of the massive screens placed in the main areas of the arena. The staff can monitor the screens across the facility through a command center.

18 Dec

Comcast® Hosts Digital Literacy Forum in Chattanooga to Tackle Digital Divide

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Internet Essentials Program

Comcast® recently hosted a digital literacy forum in Chattanooga Tech Town and distributed laptops to students at the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. This was done by the best internet provider to generate awareness about connecting and using internet in the city in Hamilton County.

“Comcast® has played a defining role in shaping the future of media and technology, and we maintain an unwavering commitment to address the barriers to broadband adoption across the communities we serve,” said Tina Simmons, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Comcast®.

Simmons was speaking at the digital literacy forum on behalf of the Telco about ‘digital divide’, which echoed in the entire forum. She also hailed the ‘Internet Essentials’ Program provided by Comcast® to low-income residents for the last six years to over 3 million low-income residents nationwide as cheap internet. Considering Hamilton County alone, the number amounts to an additional 3000 connections.

The initiative from the Telco “has not just given these children a new piece of technology, they have been given a piece of hope, a boost in confidence and a new opportunity to succeed,” said Jim Coppinger, the County Mayor. Yet despite the initiative, Simmons feels that there is a digital divide nationwide that relate to the problem of a lack of power and water.

Comcast® held digital literacy forum in Tech Town in order to address the scarcity of high-speed internet and lack of know how regarding connectivity. Further, without internet connectivity at home students cannot do homework said Elaine Swafford the Principal of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy in the forum.

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On the other hand, Launch Tennessee’s Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Brock said that internet is a necessity especially for jobseekers, consumers and workers. “Our ability to grow as a community is directly dependent upon how we address this digital divide,” Brock said.

Furthermore, Chris Ramsey, the Chief Executive Officer of TechTown Foundation in Chattanooga, said, “Today, Chattanooga was united with nonprofit partners, elected officials, educators, and advocates who all believe that the Internet is essential for everyone.” The foundation is planning more such literacy programs in the future to generate awareness.

The unemployment rate in the Tennessee is alarming low, yet the state leads the way for small scale business growth in the running year. However, Simmons added, “There is a vibe in this community and rightfully so,” referring the financial contribution which the best internet provider made in the region in the past.

07 Dec

Hughes Network Systems® Chose MWWPR® As the PR Agency of Record

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Modernizing Satellite Conversation

The Maryland based satellite internet provider, Hughes Network Systems® recently chose the New Jersey based Public Relations Firm, MWWPR® as their PR Agency of Record (AOR). MWWPR® started to get in touch with Hughes Network Systems® in October following the Request for Proposal (RFP) process that began in the summer. Reports claim that around 6 agencies including MWWPR® pitched in the Request for Proposal process.

“The search for the right strategic partner to tell our story, raise our visibility, and ultimately help us achieve our business goals, was an arduous one,” said Mike Cook, who is the Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, North American Division, Hughes Network Systems®. “When you look at the lines of business that the agency needed to be able to effectively support, as well as navigate unique landscapes, MWWPR® proved it was the right partner to do it all, and do it well. With its Consumer, Corporate Reputation and Public Affairs capabilities at our disposal, paired with their expertise in the Technology sector, the MWWPR® team became the obvious choice.”

MWWPR® firm is experiencing drastic growth in Technology and B2B segments. The bid win would make the PR firm to support the best internet provider in marketing on social media and digital platforms, generate content, and ally in other PR-related functions and would also enhance their local and global reach.

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Important Trade Publications

“We are firm believers that integration is not just a mix of traditional and digital services but also the ability to blend practice areas to uniquely serve our clients,” said Michael Kempner the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of MWW Group. “It is our ability to do so that helps our clients matter more to the stakeholders that matter most to them. Client-partners like Hughes Network Systems® entrusting us with their brand is a testament to the work we have done as an integrated agency team.”

HughesNet® is currently offering their satellite internet service to more than 1 million consumers, business and residential, throughout North America and Brazil.

“Our immediate focus will be to construct a collective narrative that takes the Hughes brand beyond the pages of all-important trade publications, into the mainstream media, with a story of innovation,” said Bret Werner the President of MWWPR®. He added, “Hughes® should be acknowledged as the leaders that they are, but have too often been left out of the conversation. Together, we will revive the satellite conversation by modernizing the perception of the category.”

06 Dec

Charter® Enters Into the DOCSIS 3.1 Era

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Spectrum Internet Gig

One of the leading internet providers in the United States, Charter Communications® has finally stepped into the DOCSIS 3.1 era by launching a 1 Gbps (downstream) residential broadband internet service in Oahu. The latest service offered by Charter®, which is popularly known as Spectrum Internet Gig is certainly one of the best internet deals available to customers.

The Spectrum Internet Gig service from the telecom giant is entirely free of contracts and data caps. In addition, this new service, which is paired with an upstream that ensures a minimum internet speed of 35 Mbps is available to new customers for just $104.99 a month. However, existing Charter subscribers can pay an amount $114.99 per month when they are bundling this new service with Charter’s TV service.

On the other hand, customers who do not wish to bundle these services can get access to the new service for $124.99 a month. It is significant to note that the Spectrum Internet Gig service of Charter Communications® comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and a modem with integrated Wi-Fi feature. Moreover, the telecom company has approximately doubled the minimum download speed from 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps in Oahu. Charter® customers in Oahu who are currently under the minimum speed tier will be able to enjoy a constant 10 Mbps upload speed.

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The VP of policy communications at Charter®, Tamara Smith said, “Customers today enjoy a flagship broadband speed that is 20 times faster than it was eight years ago, while the price per Mbps for customers has decreased 93%.” She added that the investment made by Charter® in advanced compression technologies and efficient bandwidth management has allowed the telecom company to boost their broadband internet speeds.

In a statement, the CEO and President of Charter Communications®, Tom Rutledge said, “Charter’s state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network is superior in its ability to deliver fast and reliable internet to millions of consumers across the country. As technology continues to evolve, the products and services of tomorrow will increasingly rely on faster broadband connections. Charter’s world-class network is best-positioned to deliver the bandwidth and capacity needed to meet these growing demands.” Reports from several reliable sources claim that Charter® will soon launch their Spectrum Internet Gig service to other markets too.

21 Nov

AT&T® Remains Confident About the Time Warner® Merger

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AT&T-Time Warner Merger 

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® is still holding discussions with the US Department of Justice about their planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner®. John Stephens, who is the CFO of the telecom giant, recently claimed that he is still confident that AT&T® will seal the deal soon.

In addition to that, the officials from the telecom company also disclosed that their online streaming service, DirecTV Now® recently hit the 900,000 subscriber mark. DirecTV Now® was launched by AT&T® back in November 2016 and these numbers indicate that the streaming service has already become a big success.

The officials from AT&T® said, “About half of these subscribers are cord-cutters or cord-nevers, with about 10 percent of those coming from AT&T’s DirecTV® and U-Verse® services. The other half has migrated from other traditional TV providers.”

In addition to that, Stephens also talked about their acquisition of Time Warner® and said, “We are in discussions with the DOJ.” However, he refused to share information regarding the recent discussions of AT&T® with the Department of Justice. Yet, he stated that the timing of the close of Time Warner® merger remains uncertain currently.

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Stephens said, “We continue to believe that the transaction will close. If you look at the antitrust history, the facts, law, the economics, [that leads to] the conclusion that we will be able to close.”

Reports from several sources had earlier claimed that AT&T® would be selling CNN, DirecTV®, or even the entire Turner cable networks unit of Time Warner® to close the merger between the two parties. Randall Stephenson, who is the CEO and Chairman of AT&T® responded to these false reports and said, “Irrespective of what you read yesterday, I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done is CNN. Period. And, likewise, I have never offered to sell CNN.”

The AT&T CEO also said that, “from an antitrust perspective, it’s illogical for me to think this deal doesn’t get approved.” It is reported that the US Department of Justice would most probably file a lawsuit in a few days to block the merger between the companies. Yet if the estimated deal is completed, the entertainment executive of AT&T®, John Stankey will most likely oversee Time Warner®, which means that he will be able to control HBO, CNN, and more networks.

14 Sep

Comcast® Launches YouTube App To Xfinity® Broadband

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YouTube App In X1 platform

Comcast Corporation® recently launched Google’s YouTube app on their Xfinity® platform. The launch has met with much anticipation from cable subscribers in the US. In fact, this news applies to US subscribers who are users of Stream TV of Comcast® Cable and Xfinity® broadband.

The Telco will gradually release on-demand movies, news, and other YouTube videos via Xfinity® to Stream TV’s “On Demand Menu” sections. The videos in the music section of Stream TV, for instance, will let subscribers to stream music videos that feature in the integrated YouTube app. The pact between Comcast® and Google will also enable US subscribers to stream YouTube videos via the X1 voice remote.

“Giving our customers seamless access to live, on demand and internet content in one place continues to be a key part of our strategy and we are excited to now add YouTube to the X1 experience,” said Matt Strauss, who is the Executive VP of Xfinity® Services.

Subscribers can now voice search “YouTube” on their X1 remotes and the app will instantly launch on Stream TV. Additionally, voice searching “show me clips from a news channel on YouTube” will allow Xfinity® subscribers stream channel-specific videos within the YouTube app. The same feature can be used to stream other on-demand YouTube videos under the “On Demand Menu” section of Stream TV as well.

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On Demand Menu Sections

Many US subscribers use platforms such as YouTube and Netflix as an alternative way to stream popular shows through the internet. The addition of YouTube in its offerings is surely a move from Comcast Corporation® to become the best internet provider through their Xfinity® broadband service.

“By adding billions of YouTube videos to our video platform, we are taking our role as the aggregator of aggregators to a new level and reaffirming that X1 is the best place to easily discover and access all types of entertainment with the sound of your voice,” Matt Strauss said.

The pact between Google, YouTube’s parent company, and Comcast Corporation® has been launched a year on since the launch of Netflix to Xfinity® X1. However, note that just like streaming Netflix videos on Stream TV, streaming YouTube videos through the X1 platform will also affect the data caps set by the best internet provider.

05 Sep

AT&T® Expanding Its 5G Fixed Wireless Trials To Three New Cities

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5G Fixed Wireless Trials

AT&T® has announced that it is expanding the fixed wireless 5G trials into three new cities in the U.S. This extension of trials will complete by the end of the year that enables the Telco to roll out its next generation cellular network in the country. As the best internet provider in the nation, AT&T’s new set of trials will help it to develop 5G networking technologies quickly than its competing firms.

The 5G trials will involve the carrying out of numerous testing of a high-speed broadband service. This will utilize radio signals to home or businesses such as the millimeter wave, which are high-band wireless airwaves. The trials will also enable numerous participants to take part in testing the network. This will allow them to directly stream the DirecTV Now® service offered by AT&T® through a 5G network. Moreover, this will also allow them to experience minimal lag periods in heavy applications such as video conferring and virtual reality gaming.

AT&T® is currently carrying out its trials in Austin, which will further expand to include Texas, Waco, Michigan, Indiana, South Bend, and Kalamazoo by this year’s end. The Telco also intends to enhance the number of participants designated for the network trials and this includes many of the small businesses, universities, restaurants, and churches in the areas. One of the primary goals of the trials is in determining whether the millimeter wave spectrum can propagate through the buildings and foliage.

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High-Band Wireless Airwaves

Moreover, the trials will also include conducting various studies to determine the effect of weather on the network. AT&T® intends to roll out the 5G service in selected cities by the year 2018. The trials also feature the participation of other major telecommunication firms from around the world such as Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, and Samsung Electronics.

Marachel Knight, AT&T’s Senior Vice President for Wireless Network Architecture and Design said, “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mm-wave and 5G. And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”

Besides AT&T®, Verizon® is also conducting 5G fixed trials across eleven cities in the nation and is hoping to roll out the service by 2018. It is to be noted that both the Telco giants have bought the millimeter wave spectrum for beginning the 5G trials in select regions in the country.

31 Aug

AT&T® Accused Of Ignoring Low-Income Communities

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Fiber-To-The-Node VDSL Infrastructure

The residents of Cleveland, Ohio recently claimed that the telecom giant, AT&T® has failed to deliver high-speed broadband access to the low-income African-American communities in the region. They also claimed that AT&T®, who is one of the leading internet providers in the country, has been delivering a higher speed broadband internet service to the wealthier and suburban neighborhoods.

Three self-described low-income African-America residents, Rachelle Lee, Hattie Lanfair, and Joanne Elkins, filed a complaint against the Telco a few days ago. They alleged that the telecom company is in clear violation of the Communications Act’s bar against unreasonable and unjust discrimination. These residents also requested for monetary damages and injunctions that will prohibit the telecom company from discriminatory practices.

In addition to that, they also requested the FCC to force AT&T® to offer broadband internet service to the low-income minority communities in the region. They cited a recent study of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and Connect Your Community and pointed out that the failure to offer high-speed internet service to low-income communities is actually a part of a pattern by the telecom giant.

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The study also revealed that AT&T® has withheld their fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) VDSL infrastructure from several major high poverty census blocks in the country that had individual poverty rates of more than 35 percent. The complaints stated, “Such low-income neighborhoods have been relegated to an older, slower transmission technology called ADSL2, resulting in significantly slower internet access speeds than what AT&T provides to middle-income city neighborhoods as well as most suburbs. As a result, their residents are left with severely limited and uneven internet access; no access to AT&T’s competitive fiber-enabled video service.”

Reports from several sources indicate that the lawyers who represented Elkins, Lanfair, and Lee tried to solve the issue before filing the complaint. They even held settlement discussion talks with the telecom giant, but both parties failed to reach a settle on the issue. Consequently, the lawyers were forced to file a complaint against AT&T® to bring justice to the low-income minority communities in the area.

AT&T’s EVP of regulatory and state external affairs, Joan Marsh, responded to the issue and said, “We do not redline. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unparalleled. Our investment decisions are based on the cost of deployment and demand for our services and are of course fully compliant with the requirements of the Communications Act. We will vigorously defend the complaint filed.”

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