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15 Jan

AT&T® Walks Out of a Deal with Huawei

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The telecommunications giant AT&T® recently dropped out from the deal to sell the Huawei Smartphone called the Mate 10 to the people of the United States. Their partnership was about to unveil when they walk out suddenly. Officials, who were familiar with the deal, said that there was much anonymity regarding the deal, as the discussions were private. Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal had already reported about this change of plans by AT&T®.

The reason that made AT&T® to take such a huge step is not yet revealed. However, a group of lawmakers expressed their doubts on an important deal between an unrevealed American telecommunication company and Huawei to the Federal Communications Commission through a letter. They wrote about their concern on the deal to sell their products in the United States because of the ties of Huawei with the Chinese government. Even though the letter did not mention AT&T® specifically, their deal to sell the Huawei products in the United States was evident.

AT&T® spokesperson Fletcher Cook refused to comment on the topic, however, insiders report that the letter was reviewed by the New York Times and they said that, “the Congress had long been concerned about Chinese espionage in general, and Huawei’s role in that espionage in particular.”

Huawei, which is a private company based in Shenzhen, China, has denied to the comment that they present any kind of security risks. In a statement, the officials from Huawei stated that they delivered “premium devices with integrity globally and in the united states market over the past five years.” They further added that they would introduce new products for the American market soon.

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Huawei has a long list of setbacks regarding issues of security and this last minute turmoil is the latest among them. Huawei always faced political oppositions to its attempts to snoop on the United States market for years. This turmoil also deepened the political rift over the affairs of user privacy, security, and technology.

The lawmakers criticized the deal heavily, over the chances of Chinese access to the user data of America, regardless of the promises from the Chinese company that they will take necessary steps to make the data more secure.

Even though Huawei sells smartphones in the United States of America, they do not have deals with any of the prominent wireless carriers. The carriers, who dominate the communication market in the country includes T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T®. This makes it more difficult for Huawei to set a base in the United States.

12 Jan

CenturyLink® Formulates its Top Goals and Priorities for the New Year

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Level 3 Communications Acquisition

The year ahead is going to be largely fruitful for CenturyLink® as it lays down its goals and priorities for the year. The Telco has announced that it is focusing more on finalizing its interlinking with Level 3 Communications. By finalizing this merger, CenturyLink® intends to create a new digital experience that extends from quoting to payment for its entire range of customers. CenturyLink® acquired Level 3 Communications in the previous year for a sum of $34 billion. The goals and were laid by the Chief Financial Officer of CenturyLink®, Sunit Patel, during the Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of digitizing our customer experience so people don’t have to call to find out why their network is down, how long is it going to take, etc.,” Patel said. “So I think focusing on that will simultaneously improve our customer experience; it will drive a lot of change inside the enterprise in terms of automating workflows for our employees so they can support our customers better. A digital future for us inside and how we interact with our customers is going to be pretty important.”

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Internet Of Things

Being one of the top internet providers in the country, CenturyLink® is looking for new developments to compete with other major providers. He also stressed that the approach to the market and the customers are another key goal of CenturyLink®. Moreover, the Telco has made further plans in attracting more of the enterprise market share. This includes customer organization based on segments as per their needs, capital, and strategic priorities.

Patel said, “The other big thing is the scale that we now have in the United States; we are the second-largest enterprise provider in the [U.S.], larger than Verizon® and second to AT&T®. I think that scale and the network footprint that we have will allow us to improve our win-loss ratios. We should be able to win in the marketplace a lot more because our network goes to more places than any of our competitors do.”

He also stated that there is an increase in the demand for bandwidth in this year. “Looking forward, you’re going to have a lot more bandwidth demand driven by machine-to-machine bandwidth needs, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.,” Patel added. “There’s a constant need for more bandwidth, so while you might have different legacy services going down and new services going up, the backdrop is everyone needing more bandwidth.”

10 Jan

KTVN Channel 2 Blocked for AT&T U-Verse® Customers Following Negotiation Disputes

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KTVN Channel 2 Blocked

An ongoing negotiation relating to the agreement on extending the distribution has led to the KTVN Channel 2 being barred for AT&T U-Verse® TV subscribers based in Northern Nevada. AT&T® failed to come to an agreement in the negotiations regarding the extension of distribution and the amount the Telco is agreeing to pay KTVN for its content. Moreover, AT&T® denied the permission to offer the channel without the approval from its owner Sarkes Tarzian Inc.

Lawson Fox, who is the General Manager of KTVN said, “Negotiation has to do with the value of our programming for the system. So they pay us for the privilege of the content. We’ve done 10 of these in the last few months successfully. This is the one that isn’t complete. And the only one where we didn’t maintain carriage during the conversation.”

He did not stress on the price they require from AT&T® on behalf of offering their content. The fact is that the pricing has increased right from the previous contract. The negotiations are further stalled by AT&T’s reluctance to pay higher prices for obtaining the same content.

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Regional spokesperson of AT&T®, Steven Ramirez, said, “We want to get KTVN back into our Reno customers’ lineups as soon as possible, but by law, KTVN’s owner Sarkes Tarzian has exclusive control over whether that station remains available on U-verse or not. Sarkes Tarzian is seeking a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over-the-air on channel 2 and, often, at cbs.com or using the CBS app.”

However, KTVN is also stating that the price increase is also not that high. Fox also stresses that other TV and internet providers have already paid the new price and it is only AT&T® that is showing reluctance regarding paying the fees. AT&T® spokesperson Ramirez has also stated that Tarzian has disconnected the service based on contract disputes several times before.

Ramirez said, “Our goal is to offer customers more choice over the content they may care about most, delivered at a value they can consider justified. We want to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably, and appreciate our Reno customers’ patience while we attempt to do just that.” However, latest reports say that the negotiations are heading in a positive direction as AT&T® has finally accepted the offer made by KTVN to extend the distribution of the channel.

27 Dec

Cox® Introduces its Latest Storytelling Platform, Converge

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Story-Telling Platform

Cox Communications® has rolled out its latest storytelling platform known as Converge. This platform is designed in such a way to allow the people to remain connected and informed with the things they like through the means of technology. The Converge platform has a new design that consists of stories divided into three major categories, which are Community, Entertainment, and Technology.

In Community, users can access stories that highlight the changes that Cox® is carrying out for the people living and work in its communities. Entertainment and Technology consist of various stories that inform and connect people regarding the latest shows, movies, sports, places, and names. It also provides stories that connect and inform the people regarding the latest technologies and important moments.

Gaston Vaneri, senior vice president of brands, Cox Communications®, “On Converge, you’ll find stories that humanize us and showcase how Cox helps to create the moments that matter. It’s also a great resource for stories about trending topics, entertainment, helpful tips and lifestyle advice from third-party influencers.” The development of this new story-telling platform is a progressive approach carried out by Cox® one of the major internet providers in the country.

It is mainly due to the results of recently conducted surveys that pointed out the importance and reliability of custom content over traditional content among the customers. A majority of the customers prefers custom content as it allows their favorite brands to engage with them and thereby provide guidance and value to the content available.

As a part of the rollout of Converge, Cox® is planning to collaborate with numerous companies like Common Sense Media, Music Choice, The Hallmark Channel, and many others for sharing and creating content. Currently, Cox® is collaborating with Crown Media Family to add more content in tune with the prevailing festive season and holidays.

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The content in the Converge platform is based on a library, which is developed, curated, and updated regularly by Cox®. The team behind the operation of the Converge platform is also closely following the various latest events and trends that are of importance to the audience.

Leigh Woisard, the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Cox Communications® said, “Our goal is to deliver an authentic, engaging experience with the Cox® brand. We are energized by a wealth of storytelling opportunities, and we are excited to offer compelling content that people will enjoy and share.”

Besides, Cox® is also planning to use Converge for addressing numerous societal issues, like the role played by the Telco in easing out digital divide, free digital literacy training, and the technology centers based on more than 100 boys and girls clubs in the country.

21 Dec

Comcast® Rolls Out Gigabit Internet Service in Sacramento and Surrounding Areas

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Gigabit Internet Service

Comcast® has stated it has rolled out a 1 Gbps internet service for residential and business customers in Sacramento, California and nine surrounding cities. These offers lightning-fast connectivity across the home and businesses based in the region. Comcast® has also stated that it will provide gigabit internet connectivity to homes and business of nine communities such as Galt, Roseville, Folsom, Antelope, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Rio Linda, and Rancho Cordova in addition to Sacramento.

John Gauder, Regional Vice President of Comcast® California said, “With this offering, Comcast will have the broadest deployment of Gigabit Internet speeds throughout Northern California. This is yet another proof-point that our broadband and Wi-Fi networks are powerful, flexible and built for speed. We’ve increased internet speeds 17 times in the past 16 years and we will continue to bring California customers the absolute fastest speeds possible by proactively investing in our advanced, high-performance network.”

Comcast®, being one of the fastest internet providers in the country, has utilized the DOCSIS 3.1 technology for the new one-gigabit internet service. It is one of the best internet service offered by the Telco recently and offers greater speeds and reliability. Customers, however, need to install a new DOCSIS 3.1 modem to utilize this new internet service brought by Comcast®.

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Cloud-Based Operations

Commenting on the same, Sacramento’s Mayor Darrell Steinberg stated, “By providing world-class internet speeds, Comcast® is demonstrating its commitment to helping Sacramento transform into an urban technology lab that will help drive economic development. The city and the region are at a critical time in our growth and Gigabit Internet speed is key for residents, telecommuters and businesses of all sizes to move the economy forward.”

For residential customers in Sacramento, Comcast® is making available its 1 Gig for a price of $159.99 per month without a contract. New subscribers for the high-speed internet service can obtain it for $89.99 per month along with a one-year agreement. Comcast’s new expansion into other markets is following the recent rollout of the xFi Advanced Gateway nationwide.

Besides, Comcast® Business is also planning to roll out the DOCSIS 3.1 service to the business customers based in Sacramento and its surrounding cities. It will make available the Business Internet 1 Gig and Business Internet 500 speed tiers to the businesses operating in the region. This DOCSIS 3.1 service from Comcast® Business allows businesses to leverage the potential of the high-speed internet and cloud-based operations.

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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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.

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