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11 Dec

Comcast® Unveils xFi Advanced Gateway Offering Gigabit Speeds

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XFi Advanced Gateway

Comcast® has launched the xFi Advanced Gateway, its first in-house Wi-Fi device capable of delivering gigabit speeds, to the customers nationwide. This marks a new shift in the best internet service offered by Comcast® as it provides the customers with advanced modem and router along with gigabit internet services. The Telco launched the device in the beginning of this year, which was available at a rate of $10 per month. According to Comcast®, the xFi Advanced Gateway is its most powerful offering that will help setup gateway for the future.

This new gateway allows the customers to use this service across the market footprints of Comcast’s Xfinity® Gigabit Internet service. The new gateway consists of 8×8 antenna array capable of handling 160 MHz that offers extra speeds, MU-MIMO (multi-user, multi-input, multi-output) technology, and multiple IoT radios for linking various smart devices. Comcast® has also carried out numerous testing with this device that produced results of about 1.5 Gbps speeds through Wi-Fi. Besides, it has several radios included such as for Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee and Thread.

According to Chris Satchell, the Chief Product Officer at Comcast®, they have conducted several trials for the device earlier this year. The gateways underwent development for a period of three years and this lead Comcast® to consider the standards available for the future. “We had to be forward leaning about standards adoption. The 8×8-antenna array is one example,” he said. “When we started, no one had more than 4×4. The growth in IoT standards was another area we had to be bleeding edge.”

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Xfinity® Gigabit Internet Service

One of the notable aspects of the xFi Advanced Gateway is its modernist design. It is unlike any other routers as it has a minimalist design with finished exteriors that makes it suitable for placing in anywhere across the home without concealing. It is designed in accordance with the Xfinity® Design Language, which is intended to offer a uniform look for all the products developed by Comcast®. Customers can easily set up this new gateway by using the xFi app of Comcast®.

This provides them with control over the setting up and managing of the Wi-Fi and networks. All these features included in the xFi Advanced Gateway is with the sole objective of extending this device into more homes across the country. “Wi-Fi is the oxygen to the digital home,” Satchell added. “If you turned off my water, it may take me 12 hours to know that. If it’s Wi-Fi that’s turned off I know in seconds.”

16 Nov

Netflix is Now Available on Cox® Contour

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Popular TV Shows

One of the most popular online streaming services, Netflix and Cox Communications® jointly issued an official statement a few days ago. In the statement, both the parties confirmed that Netflix would now be available on Cox® Contour all over the nation. This means that customers who are currently under the Contour video service plan of Cox® will be easily able to access Netflix shows and movies with ease.

In addition to that, reports from several reliable sources also indicate that customers of Cox Communications® who currently have a Netflix subscription will be able to not only access the contents of Netflix, instead they could also enjoy live TV, On Demand content, and DVR feature of Cox®, all within the Cox® Contour TV guide.

The Southwest Region General Manager and Senior Vice President of Cox Communications®, John Wolfe said, “Cox® has supported Netflix subscribers for years with our high-speed internet service, and now we’re improving the experience by adding the Netflix service to the Contour TV guide. Customers want to easily access the content they care about –anytime, anywhere; we’ll continue to look for more ways to improve their television viewing experience.”

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Cox® Contour Platform

Full integration throughout the Cox® Contour platform to customers means that watching and finding past and current episodes of popular TV shows and watching blockbuster movies is a lot more easier than ever. Customers can use their Contour remote and access the contents of Netflix through these three following ways.

  • Use the Contour voice remote to search for your favorite movies and TV shows.
  • Go to the Contour Apps category, and then simply say Netflix into the voice remote or just select the Netflix icon on the screen to open up the Netflix app on the TV screen.
  • Explore the Cox® On Demand menu to discover select Netflix titles.

Even though Netflix has been fully integrated with Cox® Contour, subscribers will still need to subscribe to Netflix to access the contents of the both the sources. The vice president of business development, Netflix, Paul Perryman said, “Cox® Contour customers can now watch TV series, movies, comedy specials, and documentaries from Netflix as easily as they watch live TV. Through Contour’s voice remote, they can access all of their favorite Netflix or live TV shows all in one place, without juggling remotes or cords.”

14 Nov

Comcast® Still Struggling to Restore Services in Florida Keys

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Cable And Internet Outages

On the website of Comcast®, they invite you to become their customer and “change the way you experience TV.” The site also says that Comcast Xfinity® has the internet “speed you need to stream and more.” However, since the Hurricane Irma on September 10, many customers of Comcast® from Florida Keys have started complaining about the service.

The TV service from Comcast® has been horrible in the 2 months since the Category 4 hurricane pounded the chain of islands. As the cable from Comcast® kept going out, there has not been any speed “to stream and more.”

The electricity providers were down for a while, but they powered up quickly. The same was the case with AT&T® and BellSouth who are other providers of cable TV and cheap internet service in the Florida Keys.

Vice president of public relations for Comcast® Florida, Mindy Kramer said that the delay is “not for lack of personnel, effort, resources,” but because part of the system is broken and that crews have “been swarming the areas and doing the work.”

“We have pocket outages, one or two homes here, one or two homes there,” Kramer said. “We’ve got hundreds of personnel there responding to the pocket outages. It’s a microscopic approach. It is at the house-to-house level.”

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Struggling To Restore Services

In the initial stages of Comcast’s work, Kramer said, “We basically ran a tremendous amount of temporary lines to get people back in service as quick as possible. Now we’re taking temporary lines down to replace with permanent ones.” She says that a part of the problem is that “we continue to get some lines cut from trucks that go through.”

“It’s a conundrum,” Kramer added. “You restore the service, then you go back and see, even though the service is restored, there is a loose connection or there is a problem from the connection to the home. They are not network issues, they are individual issues.”

The consumers of Comcast® in Florida Keys are not satisfied with the way the Telco is handling the issues and they believe that the company was not prepared to face the Hurricane Irma. As more and more Comcast® customers are now complaining about the cable and internet outages, it is high time that Comcast® executives act promptly to resolve the connectivity issues in Florida Keys.

13 Nov

AT&T® Will not Sell any Assets to Close the Time Warner® Merger

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AT&T® -Time Warner® Merger

Randall Stephenson, the CEO of one of the best internet service providers in the country, AT&T® recently released an official statement, in which he confirmed that the telecom company would sell neither CNN nor its key assets to satisfy the demand of the Justice Department to close $85 billion their merger with Time Warner®.

AT&T® and the Justice Department are currently engaged in a war of words on whether the Trump Administration would approve the merger or not. The Trump Administration has been reviewing merger between both the parties for about a year now.

As a result, Stephenson recently stated that if there is zero progress on the ongoing negations, then the telecom giant would most likely seek the help of the court to protect their planned merger and to prevent the chances of any divestiture. In addition to that, Stephenson also expressed his frustrations over false reports that the telecom giant might be selling CNN.

He said, “I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN, period. And likewise, I have never offered to sell CNN.” A Justice Department source had insisted that AT&T® promised to trade CNN as part of the negations over the Time Warner® merger.

The sources also claimed that the Justice Department had informed AT&T® that they need to sell one of their important assets such as DirecTV® or Turner Broadcasting that includes CNN in order to get approved for the acquisition of Time Warner®.

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Stephenson responded to these reports and he said that the telecom company should not be expected “to sell something larger.” He added, “It’s why you did the deal, it’s where the synergies come from. Selling the key franchises makes no sense, and those are the kind of things we’d move to litigation.”

The managing director of telecommunications policy at Cowen & Co, Paul Gallant said, “I expect the DOJ is concerned that AT&T® would abuse its new power with Time Warner® content and unfairly leverage Time Warner® content against its distributor rivals.”

However, a senior litigation analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, Jennifer Rie commented that the Justice Department blocking the deal seems surprising. “From what we’re hearing, they’re at a stalemate,” she said. “The DOJ is staunchly sticking to structural remedies, and AT&T is staunchly against selling assets.”

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.

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.”

17 Oct

Spectrum® Cable Customers May Lose Major Channels Over Contract Dispute with Viacom

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Contract Dispute With Viacom

Viacom Inc.® has stated that cable customers of Spectrum® will lose access to about 23 television channels because of an ongoing contract dispute. According to Viacom®, the dispute arose because it has refuted some of the unreasonable demands set by Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications®. Several of the major channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central will not be accessible to the customers until the two carriers reach an agreement.

According to a Viacom® statement, “Viacom® is committed to developing strong, mutually beneficial relationships with our distribution partners. While we’re making every effort to reach a new deal, Charter’s actions may force a disruption in Spectrum® subscribers’ service. Despite our efforts, Charter® continues to insist on unreasonable and extreme terms that are totally inconsistent with the market. While we’re making every effort to reach a new deal, Charter’s actions may force a disruption in their service.”

The current agreement between Charter® and Viacom® is reportedly set to expire this October 15. Due to that, it can result in a major blackout that can affect about 16.5 million subscribers. Charter® actually moved many of the channels owned by Viacom® such as MTV, VH1, Spike, Comedy Central, BET from its basic package and placed them on a high priced tier.

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Disruption In Service

Viacom® CEO Bob Bakish said about Charter’s move in August, “They don’t have the contractual right to tier our services the way they have. Still, I don’t fundamentally believe suing big customers is the way to solve problems. The better way to solve them is through engagement and exploring ways we can create value together.” Spectrum® officials have however abstained from many any comments regarding the dispute.

Charter® acquired Time Warner Cable® in 2016 that made them the second largest cable operator and fastest internet provider in the country. Previously, Charter® has engaged and settled a dispute with Fox News regarding the payments made to the channel. This has led to a scenario where Fox Networks group threatened to pull FX Network, Fox Sports, and National Geographic from Spectrum®.

Viacom® officials added that, “Viacom has made a series of very attractive offers to Charter® that are consistent with terms we’ve recently reached with other large cable operators. Importantly, these offers would enable Charter® to lower Spectrum subscribers’ bills, while also giving them more access to shows across Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central, and other Viacom® networks.”

12 Oct

AT&T® and FirstNet Launch Developer Program to Ensure Public Safety

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FirstNet Developer Program

AT&T®, one of the best internet service provider of the country, has joined hands with FirstNet to launch the first-ever developer program that is aimed at the first responders of the country. The program is to encourage and improve innovations that are aimed at public safety to equip first responders with the latest communication tools. The program also makes public safety responders closer to having their app store where they will be able to find solutions that are built to cater to their needs.

“This program will tap into the expertise and creativity of the developer community to drive innovation for public safety,” said CEO of FirstNet, Mike Poth. “It will also connect first responders with developers to create apps that will help them stay safe and save lives.”

The developer program is devised to offer apps to the FirstNet app store, offering public safety with a one-stop shop that provides secure and reliable solutions that are optimized for the FirstNet network. Based on the open and common standards, the developer ecosystem will act as an engine to have innovative, cost effective, and interoperable solutions for public safety.

“The FirstNet app ecosystem is an important building block as we work to modernize public safety’s communications tools and capabilities,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president at AT&T®. “The FirstNet network will bring public safety the connectivity they need to communicate and collaborate. But it’s really what we’re able to build on top of that connectivity that will make the biggest difference in these brave men and women’s day-to-day operations.”

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Public Safety Communications Tools

Through the developer program of FirstNet, developers can make public safety apps and customize them for the first responders. The developers will have access to specialized portal that house resources, which can help them crate, test, deploy, and maintain various applications for public safety. In addition to the programming tools like software development kits and application programming interfaces, the portal also offers guidelines to be followed while developing apps for public safety.

Some key focus areas for the potential developers are in-building mapping, situational awareness, telemetry solutions, and wearable devices, records management and field reporting, and forensic intelligence. The developer program will also provide collaboration between the developers and the first responders to offer mission critical apps aimed at public safety and tools to provide access to timely data. Both AT&T® and FirstNet will conduct challenges and events to support the collaboration.

“The developer program establishes a clear line of sight between public safety and app developers,” Sambar added. “It will help ensure the apps developed truly meet first responders’ field needs. It’s a really important thing that was missing from the market. Until now.”

10 Oct

Comcast® Rolls Out Senior Citizens Internet Essentials Program in Atlanta

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Internet Essentials Program

Comcast® has rolled out a new pilot program that offers high-speed internet connectivity to low-income senior citizens in Atlanta. The Telco giant, which is one of the best internet service providers in the US, clearly intends to bridge the digital divide prevailing in the nation by making available internet connectivity to all the sections of the society.

Chief Diversity Officer David Cohen carried out the inauguration of Comcast’s Senior Citizens Internet Essentials program. According to Comcast®, the Senior Citizens Internet Essentials programs are by far the largest and all-inclusive scheme devised for the low-income sections of the country.

Comcast® has partnered with the organization OATS (Older Adult Technology Services) for offering digital literacy training that is specially designed to cater to the requirements of the seniors. Joining Cohen at the kickoff of the events were Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, elected officials, community leaders, and local seniors. Comcast® began the events with offering about fifty laptops to the residents of Cosby Spear and stated that they will deploy a new Wi-Fi hotspot in the area to provide internet access.

Cohen said, “We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Internet Essentials Senior Pilot program in Atlanta, and look forward to bringing digital literacy training to this rapidly growing audience. When we started this program in 2011, we never imagined four million low-income Americans would benefit from it. We also never would have reached this milestone without our many dedicated nonprofit partners, elected officials, educators, employees, libraries, and advocates who were all united by the belief that the Internet is essential, not only to compete in the 21st century economy, but also to be connected to loved ones and the world.”

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Older Adult Technology Services

Mark Campbell, Chief Information Officer at the Atlanta Housing Authority said, “Partnering with Comcast® to provide seniors with digital literacy is important to us at AHA. Our goal through this program is to provide low-cost internet access options and classroom experiences focusing on safely navigating the internet.” Comcast® intends to make several investments in the Atlanta region. Its collaboration with OATS is one among the four of its major investments targeted in Atlanta.

Comcast® has also invested in the Center for Pan Asian Community Services. This is an organization created with the mission of offering welfare for immigrants, refugees and the underprivileged as well as provides them with self-sufficiency, equity, healthcare, etc. It has previously collaborated with Comcast® to enroll four of the Digital Connectors classes aimed at offering training students with key computer skills.

In addition, Comcast® has made an investment in the Urban League of Greater Atlanta. This organization has been previously a part of the Internet Essentials program of Comcast®. Besides, the Telco also distributed about hundred laptops to the students of Morrow Middle School and Unidos Dual Language Charter School.

21 Sep

CenturyLink® Rolls Out New Business Wi-Fi For Small And Medium Businesses

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Cisco® Meraki Wireless Technology

CenturyLink® has introduced its new Wi-Fi offering for businesses known as Business Wi-Fi. This is a bundled offering provided by CenturyLink® allowing businesses with about 250 employees to make use of advanced network features including the Cisco® Meraki wireless technology. These new technologies will immensely benefit businesses in providing an enhanced customer experience as well in developing their businesses. The CenturyLink® Business Wi-Fi has numerous features such as the inclusion of real-time monitoring and analytics.

This will provide the businesses with a more secure, manageable Wi-Fi solution that also gives improved connectivity to the customers. As per Vernon Irvin, who is the senior vice president at CenturyLink®, “This solution provides an economical option for businesses with limited IT resources to harness the power of their Wi-Fi networks to more effectively engage with their customers and employees. We remain committed to empowering small and medium-size businesses by helping them securely connect to the power of the digital world.”

CenturyLink® Business Wi-Fi offers enterprise-grade Wi-Fi that is quick to deploy alongside easy management features. Besides, the network visibility is far enhanced allowing network users to access them using single internet providers. Cisco® Meraki access points and software licenses, 24/7 operational support, as well as access to Cisco’s cloud dashboard are some of the other notable features provided by CenturyLink®.

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Real-Time Monitoring And Analytics

The dashboard allows customers in viewing their designated networks, setting up SSID authentication, prioritizing selected applications, making changes to the password, and demarcating guest traffic from secure traffic. It will also allow them to monitor wireless health and connectivity features, utilize location-based analytics, etc. By using this analytics, businesses are provided with numerous insights into their services that can be used to maximizing the value delivered to the customers.

Todd Nightingale, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco® Meraki said, “At Cisco® Meraki, our mission is to deliver technology that is easy to deploy and manage. And nowhere is IT simplicity more important than with smaller businesses. By teaming with CenturyLink®, we’re removing complexity for small businesses and allowing them to focus on running their business.”

This new service is also available to the Alliance® program partners. CenturyLink’s new service reflects its dedication in providing services for small and mid-sized businesses. Previously, CenturyLink® introduced its Business VoIP feature for small business customers that offer premium home phone services for a monthly rate. It has also collaborated with Cisco® Meraki in providing a managed enterprise solution for single and multi-site customers.

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