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27 Jul

What AT&T® Has at Stake for the Streaming and Cable Industry

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The best internet providers in the US are trying every bit to reduce the trait of cord cutting with newer offerings, even as new competitors have surfaced to rival them. Soon after the acquisition of Time Warner®, AT&T® announced the launch of streaming services, including one touted as a skinny bundle dubbed as “WatchTV”. The skinny bundle comes at a monthly cost of $15 and offers a select number of channels for binge-watchers to enjoy at their convenience. Further, the company has announced more streaming video services by 2018.

Another trait that followed suit was applicable to the cable industry as a whole. Some of the best internet providers, including AT&T®, have raised the price of their subscription-TV services by $5. The upcharge to the monthly cost of DIRECTV NOW® has made the cost of the pay-TV service of the Dallas-based Telco to $40 from $35. Another ISP or cable operator to have adopted a similar strategy earlier this year is Comcast®, who raised the price of their triple-play deals on XFINITY® by $5 per month.

Moreover, AT&T® reportedly increased the administrative fee they charge wireless subscribers from the previous 76 cents to $1.99. As per reports, the fee applied to subscribers who have contract-based wireless plans. The Telco giant has confirmed that the fee is applicable for the industry and that it helped cover costs incurred for maintenance of cell site and interconnection amid carriers.

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The AT&T® Unlimited plans begin at $70 per month for a single line and range up to $160 per month for 4 lines with auto pay. Subscribers who sign up for the Unlimited plan also get a select number of cable channels aside from data, voice, and text. The number of channels is not just the forte – that is why it has the characteristic of a quadruple play package.

On the other hand, the WatchTV offers a limited channel lineup, including those of Turner Broadcasting System, which is part of AT&T® WarnerMedia. The skinny bundle provides a more flexible deal for independent users or those who feel cord cutting is the only way to stream programming. The acquisition also paved way for the best internet provider to control and deploy WarnerMedia content, which comprises popular shows on HBO® like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and True Detective.

27 Jun

AT&T® to Buy Digital Ad Exchange AppNexus for $1.6 Billion

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It seems like one of the best internet providers in the US, AT&T® is on a buying spree. Recently, this telecom giant completed their merger with Time Warner® at $85 billion, and following that came the announcement that AT&T® is bidding to buy the digital ad exchange AppNexus for $1.6 billion.

Reports say that AT&Ts aim is to have deeper inroads with digital advertising by making use of the advertising technology of AppNexus. AT&T® has been having interest in digital advertising since this conglomerate became the largest pay-TV service provider in the US, following the acquisition of DirecTV® in 2015. After its merger with Time Warner®, AT&T® is said to be running a dedicated analytics and advertising segment that indicates that the company seems to be having more interest in digital advertising.

AT&T® is counting on digital advertising as a means to reduce the prices for the consumers, transferring a part of the content creation cost from the consumers to the advertisers. The telecom giant has a particular interest in databased advertising like addressable TV ads, mobile ads, and digital ads. AppNexus would possibly give the corporation a stronger position in the field of digital ad marketing.

Unlike some tech companies that work only for app developers and publishers for managing inventory, or for the marketers who purchase ads, the software platform AppNexus is known to carry out both these tasks. The digital ad marketing is a highly competitive zone, with Silicon Valley giants Facebook and Google dominating the space. As per the report by eMarketer in 2018, Facebook and Google are projected for holding 60 percent of the digital advertisement market in the United States of America. The wireless rival Verizon® by AT&T® has a distant third position in the digital ad market with the help of its Oath subsidiary that operates the erstwhile Yahoo! and AOL.

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Even though AT&T® may play a small role in the digital ad market, it may still have many advantages. Firstly, the conglomerate can make use of its wireless data to much better target ads. In the digital ad market, the mobile data is the most difficult to obtain, as advertisers use traditional browser cookies for targeting consumers on the desktop don’t work universally on mobile devices.

AT&T® could be able to outwit this with wireless data used by 130 million consumers. In addition, the reach of AT&T® across channels including TV and mobile could build up a buying platform, which includes many ad formats including digital video and TV ads.

28 May

AT&T® Plans to Leverage Investments in FirstNet®

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Safety Broadband Network

AT&T’s new plans include leveraging the company’s investment in FirstNet® for expanding its coverage in rural areas, solidifying its network and preparing cell sites for supporting 5G services through upgrades to software. In March last year, AT&T® was selected as the contractor of the nationwide public safety broadband network by the First Responder Network Authority. As per FirstNet® contract, AT&T® is responsible to build a broadband network for first responders, in exchange for commercial access to FirstNet’s 700-Megahertz spectrum and $6.5 billion grant that would be given on the condition that the fastest internet provider meets broadband deployment milestones.

Going by the contract, AT&T’s task is to provide a public safety broadband network to first responders. Yet, the CEO of AT&T® Communications, John Donovan, has said that the rural deployment of FirstNet® will not be limited to serving first responders only.

“If you look at where T-Mobile® in wireless and Verizon® in wireless are succeeding, they’re polar opposites — T-Mobile® much more urban, Verizon® much more rural,” Donovan said during an investor conference held in New York. “FirstNet® gives us a great opportunity to go into the rural markets. Not only will we be building the network for first responders, it dawned on us that we should also be putting up stores and going after the consumers. So, I think Verizon’s going to have their hands full with our strategy going forward in the more rural areas.”

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Verizon® will have to compete with AT&T® for public safety customers during this year’s second half, said the CEO of AT&T® Communications. Most of the first responder agencies to have previously signed FirstNet® contracts were commercial subscribers of AT&T®. Yet again, the fastest internet provider anticipates public safety agencies to switch from Verizon Wireless® to FirstNet® for broadband internet services, Donovan said.

“The benefit for them is that not only do they get onto a dedicated core with a fallback on the commercial network, but they also get features like preemption and all of those sorts of things that provide them benefits,” he added. “We anticipate, starting this year, to build wireless-customer growth from those, because—as I’m sure you are aware—today the preponderance of that market share sits with Verizon®, and we anticipate a lot of that moving to [FirstNet®].”

The same sentiment was echoed by Randall Stephenson, the AT&T® CEO, at an investor conference held in Boston.

11 May

Charter® Seals a New Deal with CBS Corporation

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Wireless And Mobile Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 Apr

Comcast® Introduces New Gigabit Service in Vermont

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New Gigabit Service

In recent news, Comcast® declared that they are launching a new internet service in Vermont. After this, the business customers, as well as the residential customers of Comcast® in this area, will be able to enjoy an internet speed of 1 gigabit per second. This is among the fastest internet speeds that are widely available in the country.

The services also include the access to the largest Wi-Fi network of the nation that includes more than 19 million hotspots. In fact, reports say that the telecommunications company has plans to install the new internet service to the majority of its service areas throughout the year.

With the latest move, the gigabit internet service is now available in Bethel, Brookfield, Berlin, Braintree, Calais, East Montpelier, Duxbury, Montpelier, Middlesex, Greensboro, Johnson, Hyde Park, Moretown, Morrisville, Morristown, Randolph, Walden, Rochester, Worcester and Woodbury, Waterbury, and Vermont.

Officials said that the DOCSIS 3.1 technology is employed in the new gigabit service. This technology makes it possible and easier to deliver this fastest speed over the existing communication cable lines that are already available in almost every home and office building in the neighborhood. Yet in order to avail this ultra-fast internet service, all the customers, both residential and businesses, will have to install a digital cable modem that supports DOCSIS 3.1 technology.

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Michael Parker, the Senior Vice President of Comcast® in the Western New England Region, said, “With the launch of our 1 Gigabit service, we continue to deliver an unparalleled Internet experience for our customers in terms of speed, control, and reliability. We’ve increased internet speeds 17 times in the past 17 years and we will continue to bring customers the absolute fastest speeds possible by proactively investing in our advanced, high-performance network.”

With the launch of this high-speed internet service, the customers can download a TV episode 600 megabyte in just 4 seconds and an HD movie of 5 gigabytes in 40 seconds. Similarly, the Comcast® customers also can download a music album of 150 megabytes in just two seconds and a video game of 15 gigabytes in two minutes using this internet service.

Comcast® is providing their DOCSIS 3.1 based 1-gigabit internet service for their business customers in Vermont as well. For the existing customers of the company in this area, the available speed tiers are “Business Internet 500” and “Business Internet 1 Gig”. This service helps the companies to prevent the need for the expensive construction of latest network facilities. The affordability and the ultra-high speed of “Business Internet 1 Gig” are best suited for industries such as hospitality, education, healthcare, government, manufacturing, and retail.

13 Apr

Subscribers Will Start Moving to Xfinity® Mobile Indicate Research

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Xfinity® Mobile Service

According to the findings of New Street Research firm, the wireless service known as Xfinity® Mobile is set to have significant growth in the number of subscribers in the next two years. To be specific, the research firm projected that the MVNO service, which one of the best internet providers deliver through the network of Verizon Wireless®, would get twice number of subscribers in this year’s fourth quarter compared to last year.

“We expect Comcast’s wireless net adds to remain sluggish in the first half of 2018, and then to ramp sharply in the second half of the year,” noted New Street Research officials. The research firm also disclosed several other revelations in their report as mentioned below.

  • Comcast® now pays Verizon® $5 per gigabyte data its subscribers use, although it is subject to change and is not fixed
  • Xfinity® Mobile subscribers use around 15 percent more internet data than similar subs
  • Cable providers, in general, will get up to fifteen percent of total postpaid subscribers in their targeted markets by 2020 and it would steal customers of rivaling wireless providers such as AT&T® and T-Mobile®

Findings of the research firm are startling in view of Comcast’s disclosure that Xfinity® Mobile service had signed up 380,000 subscriber lines by 2017. Although that was an increase from 250,000 subscribers as disclosed by Comcast® in October, it was below the figures most trade analysts had projected last year.

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Nevertheless, executives of Comcast® have promised that Xfinity® Mobile is on track to grow. David N. Watson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable®, said in January, “We like our game plan. We like the fact that it’s connected to our existing business line. It’s a really simple business plan that can scale. We’re finding that the by-the-gig approach is working. It’s early still the branding is just kicking in, and we’re expanding distribution to our existing retail locations. We’re well positioned going into 2018 with mobile.”

Xfinity® Mobile, the wireless service Comcast® that delivers over Verizon’s network, is “very irrelevant, and I assume that [Charter’s soon-to-launch mobile service] will be irrelevant squared,” said the Chief Executive Office of T-Mobile®, John Legere, in February. “The furthest thing from my mind is any concern about the impact of cable.”

05 Apr

Comcast® to Launch Gigabit Internet Service in Savannah in April

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Gigabit Internet Service

One of the best internet providers in the US, Comcast® recently announced that their business and residential customers in Savannah would soon have accesses to 1 Gbps speeds. Comcast® plans to launch gigabit internet service this month in the area. It delivers faster internet to both Xfinity® and Comcast Business® customers, over existing communication lines in the customers’ residences or offices, and using a cable modem that supports DOCSIS 3.1 standard.

“Now more than ever, our customers require the fastest available speeds to support the growing number of devices at home and in the workplace,” said Comcast’s Big South Region Sr. VP, Doug Guthrie. “By using DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem technology, we can now bring gigabit-caliber speeds to the most homes and businesses of any provider across the region.”

With gigabit internet connection, Comcast® subscribers can download a 5 GB High-Definition movie in just 40 seconds, not to mention lesser sized video or audio content, which can be downloaded in less time than that. Besides Comcast Xfinity® subscribers, DOCSIS 3.1 technology also benefits Comcast Business® customers having a requirement for much faster download speeds.

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The company also plans to launch “Business Internet 500” and “Business Internet 1 Gig” for Comcast Business® subscribers in Savannah. Both tier speed packages will complement other gigabit offerings the business subscribers already have accesses to, such as Ethernet service. Comcast® subsidiary’s Ethernet service supports 100 Gbps speed over fiber network.

The residential subscribers of Comcast® who need to get faster speeds with gigabit internet service will require a cable modem that is compatible with DOCSIS 3.1 standard such as Xfinity® xFi gateway. Comcast’s recent announcement comes hot on heels of several other strategies the cable giant has made for enhancing their internet offerings, comprising Wi-Fi network expansion and introduction of xFi® digital dashboard. It lets Xfinity® subscribers to setup wireless network, find out user password and connected devices, configure parental controls, troubleshoot any issues, and pause wireless access at home.

In addition to launching the xFi® gateway, Comcast® also introduced internet services for residential customers with 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps speeds in the recent past. The best internet provider not only has a policy of doubling their network capacity each eighteen to twenty-four months but also expanded internet speeds up to seventeen times in as many years.

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.

30 Jan

AT&T® and T-Mobile® will Help Customers to Stay Connected Throughout the Winter Olympics

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Video Streaming Services

If you are planning to visit South Korea to catch the live action of the upcoming Winter Olympics, then you will most likely wish to share your good fortune with your friends and family members who are not able to make it to South Korea. So, you will be probably planning to keep them up-to-date with the live actions from the Olympics but you will certainly need unlimited data, calling, and text to do so.

Two of the leading internet providers in the United States, AT&T® and T-Mobile® have already introduced attractive offers for their customers so that they can stay connected to their loved ones who are back at home. In a recent announcement, the officials from T-Mobile® said that their customers who are attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea will be able to enjoy unlimited data, text, and calling throughout the event.

The best thing about T-Mobile’s new offering is that customers will not have to do anything to reap these benefits. This means that customers will not need to pay any sort of additional charges to enjoy these benefits. Yet it is crucial to note that the unlimited data and calling offering to customers across South Korea will automatically kick in from February 7 to March 20, 2018, and it will be available to all postpaid customers of T-Mobile®.

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The President and CEO of T-Mobile®, John Legere said, “The Winter Games are full of unforgettable moments, and now, T-Mobile® customers in South Korea can snap, tweet, and share those big moments without worrying about bill shock when they get back home. And while the carriers gouge you and make you jump through ridiculous hoops, the Un-carrier makes it easy! Free and unlimited data and calling just happen from the moment you step foot in South Korea.”

Likewise, one of the best internet providers in the country, AT&T® has also announced that their customers who are in South Korea for the Olympics will be eligible to access the International Day Pass of the provider at zero additional charges. This implies that AT&T® customers will be able to save $10 a day on unlimited texts, calls, and data usage. However, the officials from the telecom company have not confirmed whether customers will have to call ahead to get the International Day Pass.

24 Jan

Charter Spectrum® to Offer Gigabit Internet Service Across the Capital Region

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Gigabit Internet Service

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Charter Spectrum® subscribers across the Capital Region will soon be able to enjoy the Gigabit Internet service of the telecom giant. However, the Gigabit Internet service offered by Charter Spectrum® is mostly available only to the schools and businesses in the country at the present.

Charter Communications®, who are currently operating under the brand name Spectrum®, have already started to offer their high-speed internet service in the lower Hudson Valley and New York. Customers who have subscribed to the Spectrum® internet service in these areas will be able to enjoy a maximum internet speed of 1 gigabit per second, which is approximately 10 to 40 times faster when compared to the internet service available to customers in the Capital Region.

It is significant to note that gigabit internet speeds offered by the leading internet providers in the country were usually available only to business and government entities in the Capital Region. However, Verizon recently started to offer a 1-gigabit service to the residential subscribers in their FiOS network but the drawback is that this service is available only in certain parts of Albany and Schenectady counties.

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The new internet service launched by Charter Communications® will certainly allow most residents to get connected to a reliable and high-speed gigabit internet service. Even though most residents are happy and content with the current internet speeds, the availability of gigabit internet service will increase the download speed, boost the streaming quality, and customers will be able to connect more number of devices to their internet network at the very same time.

In a recent interview, a spokesman from Charter Communications® said, “We’re currently in the process of upgrading the Capital Region to all-digital, which is an important first step to enabling faster speeds, including gigabit connections for residential customers. We intend to launch gigabit connections in additional markets in 2018 but haven’t announced any plans yet.”

The official also stated that customers would be able to stick to their Time Warner Cable® package if they wish to or they could even switch to the Spectrum® plans. He added, “They can keep their legacy Time Warner Cable® package or switch to Spectrum® if they prefer. We believe they will find Spectrum® is a better value with superior products and services, like the 100 Mbps starting speed for Spectrum® internet.”

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