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21 Jun

CenturyLink® Extends Gigabit Broadband Services To More Businesses In Minnesota

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Gigabit Broadband Services

CenturyLink® Inc., which is one the major internet providers in the country, has declared that it has made available fiber ready broadband internet connectivity to about 32,827 small and large businesses in Minnesota. The fiber-ready service is available at speeds of about 1 gigabit per second and extends to about 1,131 multi-tenant office buildings. In addition, CenturyLink® has also made available the fiber optic network coverage to 400 MTUs in Minneapolis and 350 buildings in St. Paul.

Through their new service, CenturyLink® will provide MTU-based businesses with gigabit networking services containing equal 1 Gbps download and upload speeds. In addition, the provider will also offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), managed IT, and cloud-based services in the area. The other key services offered by CenturyLink® consists of metro Ethernet, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), and Multiprotocol Label Switching Virtual Private Network (MPLS-VPN).

The new offerings by the Telco come in the wake of the Digital Economic Value Index of Accenture announced the previous year, which claims that by the year 2020, about 25 percent of the world’s economy will switch to digital. With their new plans, CenturyLink® will rapidly transform the way businesses operate with the reliance of digital technologies.

By deploying the gigabit best internet service, CenturyLink® will enable the several businesses operating in the Minnesota region with advance networking connectivity features. This high-speed fiber based broadband internet connectivity would be of immense help to businesses operating in the specified regions as it offers a host of other bundled features like voice support and cloud-based solutions that allow sharing them among several key business locations.

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Fiber Ready Broadband Internet Connectivity

Jonathan Weinhagen, president and CEO for the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce stated, “A highly robust, reliable network plays a critical role in attracting businesses of all sizes to the Twin Cities and helps Juus maintain our standing as one of the best markets for business. CenturyLink’s continued network infrastructure investments in the Twin Cities not only strengthen our connectivity, but expand economic opportunities statewide.”

Duane Ring, Midwest region president for CenturyLink® said, “By offering fiber-ready services to multi-tenant unit office buildings across the state, CenturyLink® is creating a foundation to attract new businesses and drive economic growth. Businesses can not only easily gain access to our powerful network to meet their increasing technology demands, but also utilize CenturyLink® for affordable and scalable business solutions.”

16 Jun

AT&T® Signs An Agreement To Build FirstNet

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LTE Emergency Service Network

The US government has finally confirmed that the telecom company, AT&T® will be operating and building FirstNet, which is a nationwide LTE emergency service network for the country. Apart from AT&T®, their vendors including Inmarsat Government, Sapient Consulting, General Dynamics, and Motorola Solutions, will receive $46.5 billion funding for the proposed 25-year contract.

The proposed LTE emergency service network will be covering all the 50 states in the country. In addition to that, it will also cover the District of Columbia and many other US territories.

The proposed network will allow paramedics, police officers, first responders, and firefighters to communicate with one another more efficiently. The need for such an emergency network was first identified after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York back in the year 2001. However, the shocking fact is that it took approximately 16 years for the government to appoint a contractor and define the criteria for the network.

During the official signing of the contract, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said, “When terrorism struck our shores the flaws in national security were exposed. We wanted to ensure such lapses did not occur again.” He added that FirstNet would be “a dedicated public sector broadband network that equips first responders with the technology.”

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® also added that they had earlier made a bid for the contract in early 2016. The two other well-known bidders were Rivada Mercury and pdvWireless. The former was excluded from the contract in March 2017 while the latter was excluded from the process by the end of 2016.

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Dedicated Public Sector Broadband Network

At the signing ceremony, the CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson stated that the FirstNet team has already “ran a detailed and transparent bidding process,” and added that, “All of us at AT&T®, we really are honored” to be awarded with “this unprecedented public-private partnership.”

The best internet service provider refused to share any details on whether they will be exclusively using the spectrum for the FirstNet network. However, they did share a few details on the partial breakdown of the costs.

As per the officials from AT&T®, “FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of high-value, telecommunications spectrum, and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network build-out. FirstNet’s funding was raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions.”

14 Jun

Charter Spectrum® Would Serve Broadband In NY Homes As A Part Of Development Project

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Broadband-To-Household State Plan

Charter Spectrum® bagged the rights to serve broadband in 95 percent of NY homes and made a pledge to NY Public Service Commission when Time Warner Cable® and Charter Communications® merged in 2016. However, other broadband vendors are yet to bid for the remaining five percent NY homes. The last phase of the broadband bids has opened on June 6, 2017.

The two NY counties served by Charter Spectrum® include Orleans and Niagara. The $500 million broadband-to-household state plan was laid out to improve the New York infrastructure. As per their pledge, Charter Spectrum® is expected to speed up broadband in 145, 000 NY households in the coming years. The pledge was made to the Public Service Commission stating that the best internet service provider would develop state broadband in four years time. The state legislators, on the other hand, hopes to see each New York household equipped with broadband.

“You get to 95-97 percent; what about the group that’s left?” asked David Godfrey, Niagara County Legislator. It is being said that legislators from both counties fear that 1020 homes in NY may remain broadband-less due to scarcity of local vendors. “There’s got to be vendors to cover it. We’re hoping to get enough vendors,” Godfrey added.

To serve the five percent NY homes, legislators shall give a permit to local wireless vendors and Charter Spectrum® fiber cable broadband lines can be tied with their network to serve the best internet service in NY. The permit, if given, would bring an end to the broadband needs of all the households in New York.

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Fiber Cable Broadband Lines

Another way to bring broadband to NY homes is to include the two counties under Genesee County’s bid request. In fact, the Orleans County Legislator, Lynne Johnson expects bids from broadband vendors in New York only.

“We’re hoping nearby counties will go out for a (bid), and a vendor will say, ‘While we’re in your neck of the woods, why not bring broadband to these residents?’” Johnson said.

Charter Spectrum® is home to one of the largest broadband network in America. The NY broadband bid rules have put vendors having coverage and high-speed broadband at an advantage to win bids. It seems now the destiny of households in Orleans and Niagara are charted for the infrastructural good.

12 Jun

AT&T’s Forced Arbitration Favored By Supreme Court Ruling

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AT&T® Overcharging Customers

AT&T® Internet and DirecTV® has included terms of service that entails customers to “agree to arbitrate all disputes and claims” against the company. In this clause, there are prohibitions on carrying out class actions and jury trials, with an exception for individual cases in smaller courts. AT&T® has also made other clauses that call for multiple customers arbitration claims not to be consolidated into a single case unless the company has put aside the need. In the terms of service of AT&T® Internet, small claims court is described as “the exclusive alternative to arbitration.”

The arbitrator fees will be taken care of by AT&T® in the case when customers bring up claims that involve sums of $25,000 or $75,000 with DirecTV®. Moreover, only a 30-day period is being provided to AT&T® and DirecTV® customers for rejecting any of the potential alterations to the arbitration provision. There is no option for opting out of the arbitration claims. It is reported that a similar method for opting out has been created by Comcast® and numerous other ISP’s.

AT&T® has issued forth a general statement concerning on its usage of arbitration. It states, “We have been widely recognized for having one of the most consumer-friendly arbitration policies in the country—one federal court said our arbitration agreement has ‘perhaps the fairest and consumer-friendly provisions this Court has ever seen. The agreement provides strong incentives for us to resolve disputes prior to arbitration, and we resolve the vast majority before arbitration begins.”

A US District Court ruling, as per a Law360 article, determined that AT&T’s class action ban is unconscionable under the laws of California. It stated, “Despite ruling it unconscionable, Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the US District Court for the Southern of California hailed the contract as having ‘perhaps the fairest and consumer-friendly provisions that court has ever seen.”

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Federal Arbitration Value

However, AT&T® has won the US Supreme Court case ruled in 2011 that the Federal Arbitration Value as “preempts California’s rule classifying most collective-arbitration waivers in consumer contracts as unconscionable.” The telecom company stated that it gives consumers with a premium of $10,000 if the arbitrator presents the consumer with more than what is offered in their final settlement.

AT&T® mostly resolves a large number of claims made by consumers before it is presented for arbitration. It said, “Arbitration is always convenient for the consumer because any hearing takes place in the county where the consumer resides and, for claims under $10,000, the consumer may choose whether the arbitration will be in person, by telephone, or by written submission.”

07 Jun

AT&T® Says That Net Neutrality Does Not Block, Bar, Or Throttle Internet

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Open Internet Regulations

In their attempt to delegitimize the net neutrality rules of the Obama era, AT&T® said that the open internet regulations of the Federal Communications Commission do not block the internet providers from throttling and blocking the web traffic in all situations. AT&T® said that citing a federal court ruling, which upheld these rules.

A three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed the rule in the court, rejecting a lawsuit that was brought by the various internet service providers. The different broadband providers appealed the case to full circuit judges, but they also upheld the rules and explained reasons.

The Vice President of AT&T® Federal Regulatory, Hank Hultquist highlighted an area of the ruling in one of his blog posts, that seems to outline a situation in which the internet service providers could slowdown, block, or speed up the internet traffic. He said that these are activities that are forbidden in the Open Internet Order of FCC released in 2015.

“According to the concurrence, which was written by Judges Sri Srinivasan and David S. Tatel, the net neutrality rule applies only to ‘those broadband providers who hold themselves out as neutral, indiscriminate conduits’ to any content of a subscriber’s own choosing,” Hultquist wrote.

“The concurrence goes on to say, ‘the rule does not apply to an ISP holding itself out as providing something other than a neutral, indiscriminate pathway – i.e., an ISP making sufficiently clear that it provides a filtered service involving the ISP’s exercise of editorial discretion.’”

Hultquist further said that he was surprised by this argument, as it appears to concede that “[i]n the understanding of the D.C. Circuit panel majority, it seems that the Title II order does not touch such practices as long as an ISP clearly discloses its blocking plans to customers.”

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Title II Of The Communications Act

“[I]n the past, supporters of Title II often alleged that without reclassification, ISPs would be free to block unpopular opinions or viewpoints that they disagreed with,” he added.

AT&T® is one of the cheap internet carriers who support the plan of Trump Administration to reverse the reclassification of the different internet service providers as common carriers, which is a public utility designation that is coded under Title II of the Communications Act. However, Title II does not have to do anything with the throttling or blocking, as the FCC made these rules separately.

18 May

AT&T CEO Speaks About Social Concerns

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Speaking About Social Concerns

Usually, the CEOs of the Fortune 500 businesses do not make any political or cultural statements, but the Chairman and CEO of AT&T, one of the best internet providers in the US, is different. Randall Stephenson turned many heads last year when he urged his employees to take part in conversations about race to understand each other in a better way as human beings. The 12-minute speech of Stephenson went viral as an AT&T employee uploaded the same to YouTube.

Stephenson was recently honored by the UJA-Federation with their Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Award for those words and the many other actions that AT&T has taken to make a social connection with its employees. The award ceremony that was conducted at Cipriani 25 Broadway brought in about 2.5 million dollars for the many charitable activities of the organization.

The presence of many media CEOs was the proof and testament that AT&T is growing in prominence as the best internet service in the telecom industry, as they are awaiting approval for the 85.4 billion dollars merger with Time Warner. Conan O’Brien was the host of the ceremony, and it included a four-song set by the Zac Brown Band.

Peter Chernin, whose business has a joint venture with the AT&T, said that Stephenson is “one of the most caring, honest and decent men I have ever met.” He also said, taking into consideration the gentle background of Stephenson, that “not since Menachem Begin shook hands with Anwar Sadat have Jews reached so far into a different culture to embrace the greater good.”

In a 20-minute question and answer session with the Time Warner chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes, Stephenson explained his statement that “tolerance is for cowards.” He made the statement because of the incidents of racially charged police shootings. “I’m not suggesting we have fixed racial tension,” Stephenson said. “But within our circle at AT&T it is wide open — and not just about race. There are folks in the LGBT community, Latino groups — we’re having those conversations and it’s amazing what’s been transpiring.” Stephenson also spoke about broader social concerns and explained on “what’s good for AT&T is good for America.”

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Fortune 500 Businesses

“What is in the interest of AT&T is a good, healthy, prosperous, growing economy. What a company like AT&T really needs is a good, prosperous, growing middle class,” Stephenson said. “What are the things that are fundamental for having that kind of environment? It starts with things like a good, civil, peaceful environment (and) the rule of law. When you think about racial tension, it’s hard for people to feel secure and wanting to engage in commerce when they’re very insecure about things such as race and racial tension. Those are issues that I think we CEOs should speak out about. If there are remedies, things that can make them better, we ought to press for those things.”

17 May

The Launch Of DirecTV Now On Roku Has Been Postponed

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DirecTV Launch Postponed

The online video streaming service from AT&T, DirecTV Now, was launched in the second half of 2016, and it quickly become a popular streaming service among many customers in the US. As DirecTV Now is a budget-friendly cable TV alternative, it gained a lot of attraction among the cable cutters.

DirecTV Now is currently offering four different subscription packages or plans to their customers. The basic package from DirecTV Now is available to subscribers for just $35 a month and it offers them access to over 60 popular channels. If you are a person who has already subscribed to the best internet service, then choosing DirecTV Now’s basic pack over other streaming services will allow you to save much money.

Many experts in the field of telecommunications firmly believe that the streaming service from AT&T is the best match for Roku Setup. However, many Roku owners are still frustrated with the fact that there is no DirecTV Now channel available to Roku users. A blog post on the official website of Roku earlier confirmed that a new DirecTV Now app is in the works, and even Roku had earlier promised to deliver a channel to their customers by Q1 of the year. However, the company has miserably failed to do so.

The original blog post on the official website of Roku, which stated that “DirecTV Now coming to the Roku platform in Q1 2017” has also been edited by the officials to “DirecTV Now coming to the Roku platform in 2017.” The post also added that the subscription fee for DirecTV packages would be in the range of $35 and $70 a month.

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DirecTV Now App

Many customers are desperately waiting for the arrival of DirecTV Now support on Roku streaming platform but the officials from the company have not yet given a specific date for the launch. The officials from the company also refused to share any insight on why the release is taking so long than expected. However, several reports claim that the technical glitches in DirecTV Now service during the initial stages of its launch may be the reason for this, even though AT&T has successfully resolved all the issues.

The parent company of DirecTV Now, AT&T, is the fastest internet provider in several regions across the country. The telecom giant has also been offering a wide variety of budget-friendly internet, cable, and home phone packages to their customers for a very long time. Having a channel on Roku for DirecTV Now would surely help them gain a lot of new customers.

16 May

Comcast Is Also Planning To Offer Internet TV Service

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Internet TV Service

Internet TV packages and skinny bundles are now trending in the telecom business sector. More and more players are now starting to offer internet based television services. As the competition in the field of internet television is rising, Comcast is also planning to offer their own online video streaming service, and experts say that Comcast’s offering might be more appealing than what is already available in the market.

The internet based streaming TV service from Comcast is expected to be named Xfinity Instant TV, and it will include local channels, an unnamed premium channel offering, and DVR capabilities just for fifteen dollars per month. Matt Strauss who is the head of cable service of Comcast, said that the offer would be for the users of Comcast Home Internet service. He added that additional cable TV channels packages would be offered for extra charges.

“If you want to add on top of that, skinny packages like a sports and news pack or kids and family pack or a TV and entertainment pack, you’ll have the ability to do that,” Strauss said. The latest offering from Comcast is much like the Sling TV offering from Dish Network, or the DirecTV Now service of AT&T, and PlayStation Vue from Sony, although with a low starting price. However, the service will not be available across the entire country and not for those people who are not subscribers of the best internet service from Comcast.

“We are not focused on delivering a national over-the-top service,” Strauss said. “We’re very focused on delivering products and services within the markets that we serve today, like Chicago.” This move from Comcast is due to the result of many people dropping their cable services for other TV watching alternatives.

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Internet TV packages

Comcast and the other internet providers believe that internet TV services can help them attract the cord cutters and cord nevers as these services do not require a cable set top box or wired installation. Statistics shows that streaming television services has been filling the gap for those users who prefer to use services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.

Comcast said that they have not suffered much from the cord-cutting trend, at least not yet. In fact, they said that they have managed to add 98,000 new cable TV customers in the last year. At the same time, they have also managed to add about 1.2 million residential internet users to their subscriber base.

12 May

Comcast Unveils New Home Wi-Fi Management System

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Home Wi-Fi Management

Comcast Corporation, perhaps the fastest internet provider in the United States, has launched its latest Wi-Fi management system for its nationwide users. This new system allows customers in effortlessly managing the devices and users in their Wi-Fi home network.

An improvement to the Xfinity xFi system was previously launched by the company, which allows a customer in having total control over their Wi-Fi network using a digital device. It offers several new features like setting up passwords, troubleshooting issues, pause Wi-Fi access, monitor the status of the connected devices, and manage parental controls. With this new improvement, Comcast is extending the experience of its best internet service by offering it to the customers at no extra costs.

According to the officials at Comcast, there is a growing demand for creating an efficient home Wi-Fi network management system for dealing with the surge of internet-connected devices like streaming services, smart thermostats, and security systems. The company has also estimated that by the year 2020, most users across the nation would have about 50 Wi-Fi connected devices in their homes.

Eric Schaefer, senior vice president of internet and communications services for Comcast Cable said, “The adoption and use of connected devices have grown dramatically and Comcast has created a solution that makes it easy to control and manage them. It’s a platform that will allow us to bring future innovations to our customers, address common pain points and vastly improve the way millions of people interact with their home Wi-Fi network.”

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Wi-Fi Home Network

During its xFi launch, the company has also rechristened its wireless gateway device to the xFi Wireless Gateway. In the future, the company is expected to introduce the new xFi Advanced Gateway for the customers in its fastest networks. This will enable gigabit data transfer speeds through Wi-Fi networks, Xfinity Voice, home automation, and security applications. The new and improved xFi App is available to the customers for download in both iOS and Android platforms.

Reports say that Comcast is also planning to unveil its latest adaptable xFi pods that require no configuration and will aid in extending the Wi-Fi coverage across the home. These xFi pods are developed in collaboration with Plume, a leading developer, and distributor of Wi-Fi software and systems in the US. By the end of 2017, Comcast is predicting an increase of about 15 million xFi-ready homes around the country.

18 Apr

Explaining The Two AT&T U-Verse Packages

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AT&T U-Verse Packages

The increasing demand from factions of video subscribers may have caused a new wave of bundled in subscription packages. Joining the communication gamut is AT&T, whose bid to compile TV services with home phone and best internet service. Here is explaining the mega-communication-transformation in depth.

The AT&T U-Verse Collaboration

It would seem like a welcoming sight for a new subscriber seeing U-Verse among AT&T packages. The communication giant offers the best internet service in America as well as amazing video content through their TV deals. With U-Verse, AT&T offers up to 230 channels, along with Digital Video Recording (DVR) option of up to four shows at once.

U-Verse Internet of Things

Do not bother the jargon, but Internet of Things is nothing but interconnecting the internet with wireless portable computing devices. The AT&T U-Verse promises 99 percent service reliability, in a package that offers 50 Mbps browsing speed. Along with the basic U-Verse package, the subscriber also gets their hands on a Wi-Fi router. In other words, the router streams “Internet of Things” to multiple wireless devices in and around the home network.

Clubbing Home Phone with Basic Package

What is common between both packages is the access to U-family TV that airs up to 200 prime time channels. Think of clubbing the home phone along with the best internet service and your favorite TV programming; you get an advanced package for an extra $10 a month. Better still, AT&T has wide phone coverage around the country, apparently all over the world.

Choosing Between Basic and Advanced U-Verse

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AT&T Latest Offering

The thing that may cause subscribers to think is the choice between basic and advanced subscription package. For instance, in both the packages, TV and internet service are provided at $79.99 a month and $89.99 a month, respectively. From where does the digital home phone become useful with all the bugging around?

Of course, when you need to call your loved ones directly and in secrecy, you need a walkie-talkie lookalike digital phone offering unlimited nationwide calling. Sometimes the secret might as well be as simple as, “Game of Thrones is on air mate!” With a show that big, one would be least surprised when that happens.

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A solid starter package, particularly if you’re not looking for a ton of movie or sports channels.

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