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09 Jul

New Deal Fails to Go through, Leaves Local TV Viewers High and Dry

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AT&T® and Nexstar® Broadcasting had been in talks about a deal where subscribers of the DirecTV and U-Verse services from the former, got to watch local TV programming as well as CBS network programming. Amid deliberations as to what it should pay Nexstar Broadcasting for the rights to retransmit its signal, AT&T® had its DirecTV® service pull programming from WCIX and WCIA.

General Manager and VP Gary Hackler at WCIA said on Saturday that they have had “about 100 calls” from TV viewers, mainly in the Illinois area. “They are wanting clarity and all I can say is we are negotiating. Ultimately, we will come to some sort of a resolution but I’m not sure when,” he opined. According to Hackler, Nexstar® had asked for a month-long extension whilst negotiations were on, “but that didn’t happen.” He also said, “We felt like we were close enough that the extension would have gotten us to a resolution.”

AT&T®’s statement in a press release was that the company had hoped against a Nexstar®-GoCom Media® merger, and this is what prompted it to pull WCIX-MNT and WCIA-CBS from its lineups meant for its Springfield, Champaign, and Decatur customers. The cable and best internet provider said it offered Nexstar “more money to keep WCIA-CBS and WCIX-MNT available, but Nexstar simply said no and elected to remove them instead. Nexstar® has chosen to hold our customers in Champaign, Springfield and Decatur hostage and put them into the center of its negotiations.”

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AT&T®, or in this instance, DirecTV®, has not been carrying WRSP and WCCU (both Fox affiliates), since May-end, after it failed to come to an agreement on retransmission fees. It blames Nexstar® for the deal going not happening, saying that latter either removes or threatens to remove signals from many distributors’ ‘free customers, in order to up the fees on its TV stations. According to the cable giant, this has happened with DISH®, Cox Cable®, and Charter Spectrum® before now. The spokesperson opined that GoCom Media® not long back removed WBUI-CW, WCCU-FOX, and WRSP-FOX from AT&T®’s same customers’ lineups as this time, in a bid to get substantial rate increase.

Texas-based Nexstar® (which owns 174 television stations in total which are broadcast across the country), said in the meantime that AT&T® was offered the same rate as other cable providers buying retransmission rights.

01 Jul

Major Company Releases 5G Services In Las Vegas

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AT&T released mobile 5G service in Las Vegas and will be open to business customers. This takes the total count of the cities where 5G was introduced by the company to 20. The company did not mention the spectrum it was using.

Presently, 5G services are available to business customers only. They would be able to get AT&T’s 5G network by using the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Note that this is available on the Business Unlimited Preferred plan provided by the company. Besides, this is a free service throughout the year. This allows them to test and make more 5G-enabled applications through AT&T’s network.

AT&T has already released the mobile 5G service in limited areas of 19 cities before launching it in Las Vegas. This includes 7 places in April. These were Nashville, Orlando, Austin, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The company said that it was looking to provide “new experiences that digital natives crave,” although it did not explain further regarding the details that it may contain.

 “We are proud to introduce 5G+ to Las Vegas,” said AT&T Nevada state president Stephanie Tyler. “Being the first to Las Vegas, and the first to 20 cities across the U.S., is a testament to AT&T’s commitment to our future.”

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Before this, AT&T mentioned that San José, California as the very first within the country to use the specialized first responder network FirstNet. It was employed at full potential in the city.

Some of the Best Internet providers in the country had a very eventful period in recent days. Initially, Verizon announced that their 5G network was running in Denver. They also revealed the plans to switch on mmWave mobile 5G service in Rhode Island from the upcoming month.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile said that customers belonging to 6 different internet providers would be able to access the web in 5G. This would be a result of the release of Galaxy S10 5G.

The six cities are Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Atlanta, New York, and Cleveland. T-Mobile has upgraded its methods for 5G. It assures 5G coverage with lower frequency 600 MHz spectrum combined with mid-band 2.5 GHz which would be provided by Sprint if the two internet providers decide to collaborate. T-Mobile is deploying mmWave spectrum that comes with 39 GHz for Las Vegas and 28 GHz for the other locations.

21 Jun

Telecom Giant Invests Huge Amounts for Dakota Wireless Networks

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FirstNet Communications Platform

AT&T invested more than $60 million in the wired and wireless networks of South Dakota during the period of 2016-18. This investment was aimed at offering speeds, reliability, and coverage for the residents and businesses. The company has also enhanced services that provide public safety through the FirstNet communications platform. AT&T has its wireless network covering over 99% of the country and has established itself as one of the cheap internet providers. These are the results based on the first quarter of the year 2019.

It has been revealed that the company made 569 wireless network enhancements throughout South Dakota. There were additional cell sites added, improved backhaul, and added network capacity. Besides, there was also an upgrade of the 4G LTE network allowing higher speeds and capacity. These steps, according to the company, has strengthened and boosted its performance.

Steve Westra, the Commissioner of the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development, commented, “We commend AT&T for continuing to build state-of-the-art infrastructure in our state that makes business growth possible and assures our residents have the tools to stay connected and entertained.”

“AT&T is proud to boost our investment in our wireless network and upgrades across South Dakota,” Cheryl Riley, president, AT&T Northern Plains went on to say, “Our goal is to continue to expand not only our geographic reach but our depth of service, and provide our customers and businesses with the reliable, high-speed coverage that they’ve come to trust and rely on.”

Transforming Public Safety Communications

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FirstNet is a dedicated countrywide communications platform dedicated to Public Safety. It is meant for all the first responders including the rural, tribal, volunteer folk. It brings public safety with new enhanced capabilities, providing the first responders with the critical information they require in any case of emergency.

One of the best internet providers of the country says that its release of the First Responders Network Authority contract aimed at a public safety LTE network was an important step in its way ahead. According to the company, when it touches the FirstNet build-out, it enables 60 megahertz across AWS, WCS and the Band 14 700 MHz, and deploy all of its fallow spectra. Besides, it would be able to upgrade the software and electronics capacities to bring in LTE Advanced Pro features like four component-carrier aggregation, 256 QAM modulation, and 4×4 MIMO. Besides, it would make the components upgradable to 5G, making it prepared to deploy the technology whenever it is ready.

18 Mar

Smart TV Basics That you Need to Remember

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Smart TVs are gaining popularity by the day, as there are newer features being introduced with each product, which make life easier overall for the user. Many of today’s Smart TVs are compatible with a number of other devices you typically find inside a modern home, and help you to control these from a single source. These features have definitely had a hand in transforming a lot of people’s lifestyles. Below are a few basic things about the average Smart TV that should help you understand it better than you do already.

Connecting Your Smart TV To The Internet

Smart TVs use the internet connection in your home in order to bring you quality photos, audio, movies, and TV shows. They use either Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet to stay connected. There are several things that you need to take care of after setting up a Smart TV. One of the main ones is ensuring that Wi-Fi coverage from a fastest internet provider is available in the immediate vicinity of your Smart TV. If you have a router on a different floor, for instance, you may not be able to enjoy uninterrupted streaming.

Keeping the Connection Strong

If your smart TV is facing issues while operating, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure its connection to the internet stays strong. Ensure that your internet router is not more than three years old, so that you have a reasonable chance of getting better than good performance out of it. Also, the use of Wi-Fi range extenders and routers with mesh network are great options in cases where nearby placement is hard to achieve.

Setup, Apps, and Streaming

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There are no standard operating systems in place for Smart TVs. Each TV maker uses different firmware as well as graphical presentation methods. Interfaces and operating systems used are different for different companies.

Your experience watching videos from streaming services would almost always benefit from having the speeds guaranteed by any of the best internet providers out there. Meanwhile, you also get to use a number of popular apps which come included with most smart TVs these days. While lower-priced models promote only the most popular applications, the higher-end TVs provide more comprehensive sets of options in that area.

Does a Smart TV Crash?

Smart TVs also employ computer chips for upscaling, video processing, multiple screen display, and internet connection. That means they need memory to buffer streaming music and video, aside from additional processing power needed to make proper adjustments to rendered graphics. Sometimes this can cause a TV to crash, or exhibit glitches. That issue is mostly being eliminated with the use of quad-core processors, which bring more computing power to the table.

28 Feb

US Justice Department Not About To Appeal the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

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AT&T emerged victorious despite the drawn out attempts of the Trump administration to block its 85.4 billion dollars purchase of Time Warner, as the US Justice department said that they will not fight an appeal court ruling that approves the deal. The acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T has been watched very closely after it came under fire from president Donald Trump. Trump opposed the merger as he saw it helping the CNN unit of Time Warner, which was accused by the president of broadcasting fake news.

There was a three judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the Columbia district and they unanimously ruled in favor of the deal. They said that the case of the government that the merger will lead to increase in consumer prices was very “unpersuasive.” The decision of the panel ended a long fifteen-month effort by the Justice Department to block the merger.

This is the second major court victory for AT&T in this regard, and has set the stage for the second best wireless carrier in the country to integrate their WarnerMedia business with their new Xandr advertising unit. “We are grateful that the Court of Appeals considered our objections to the District Court opinion. The department has no plans to seek further review,” said Jeremy Edwards, who is the spokesman for the Justice Department.

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Makan Delrahim, who heads the antitrust division of the US Justice Department phoned Paul Cappuccio, Time Warner’s former General Counsel, and David McAtee, AT&T current General Counsel, to congratulate them on the victory. McAtee said the merger “has already yielded significant consumer benefits and will continue to do so for years to come.” This deal is being seen as a very important turning point in the media industry, which has been upended by businesses like Google and Netflix that offer content online without any need for cable subscriptions.

The merger was announced in October 2016 and was closed on June 14 2018 after the U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruling that the merger was legal under the US antitrust law. AT&T agreed to manage the Turner network till 28th of February, or until the conclusion of any appeal made by the US Justice Department. It was also agreed that AT&T will have no role in setting the prices of Turner to the distributors.

05 Feb

What you Need to Know about Internet Agreements and Related Costs

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Internet Service Subscription

The advertised price is seldom the same as what you actually pay. It is true of most services, including cable and internet. The costs outlined here are not the only ones that you might see on your invoice. They are the most common expenses, which the average consumer has to understand before signing up.

Contract versus No-Contract Internet

When you subscribe to an internet service, several companies will offer a cheaper price to you if you put pen to paper. Usually, the service contract period is up to two years. If you live in the US, your service provider might not give the best internet option to you sans a contract.

In the long run, contract service can at times be a relatively better deal. This is especially true for bundle subscribers, as the best pricing typically comes with an agreement. If you intend to live at your present address for a couple of years at the least, contracts with that duration are worth considering. Oftentimes, the pricing is significantly lower, and there are service providers who “lock in” the price, so that you do not have to bother about it rising unexpectedly, as it does at times with “month-to-month” service.

Nonetheless, you have to understand that breaking an agreement can result in early termination fees. Most service providers allow you to cancel at no cost in the initial fifteen days or so, though afterward, you need to pay to move, even when you are switching since it fails to deliver the promised speeds.

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A month-to-month plan is better for short-term residents and renters and usually more flexible on the whole. If you feel you might have to switch before your agreement is over, then consider a no-contract service. There are service providers who offer internet-only packages without a contract; some providers have this policy. Keep in mind that such internet plans often cost extra 10 dollars or so a month for the flexibility. If you intend to stay with the exact best internet service for multiple years, then this cost can add up quickly.

Most internet users usually rent a router and/or modem as part of service. TV subscribers also lease set-top boxes, DVRs, and other equipment from their cheap cable operator. Each of them comes with a leasing fee (typically about 5 to 15 dollars a month). They can show up on your cable bill as “modem fees”, “equipment fees”, “technology fees”, and the like.

07 Sep

3 Ways to Get the Most Value Out of an Internet Service

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Whether you already have subscribed to one of the top internet providers or are looking forward to doing so, you should note these things to get the most of your internet service. You need to single out an ISP who offers the best speed, bandwidth and other options. Still, make the most of your data plan with these pointers.

Improved Speeds

Even when you are getting good downstream and upstream speeds, you still have to ensure certain things to get the best internet in this respect. If you keep an eye on the following things, you can improve speeds.

  • Make sure there are no services uploading, downloading and/or backing up cellular data to a cloud service in the background.
  • Make sure no device is connected to and is consuming data. If you have data caps, this will affect further data you could use or speeds if the limit exceeds.
  • Reset your equipment, comprising the router.
  • Test speeds with one connected device at a time in order to find out which device is using most data.
  • Replace old software and hardware and upgrade the firmware of your router.
  • Use your devices closer to your router and make sure a line of sight communication is there or no blockage exists between both.
  • Get rid of unwanted malware and virus on your device with antivirus software. Also, ensure its auto-update feature is turned off.
  • Use an updated web browser. Also, clear its cached files from time to time.

Consider your Data Requirement

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Make sure your internet package is one that is tailored to your data requirement. Usually, with an unlimited plan, you can download plenty of content or binge-watch TV shows online prior to your data caps start limiting speeds. In any event, you certainly need an unlimited plan for large data per month. On the other hand, if you use less data, a pay by the gigabyte internet plan will perhaps suit you. In other words, a pay by the gig plan means you will be charged for the data you consume in a billing cycle. There will be a specific monthly charge for up to one gigabyte.

Add-On Services

There are best internet service providers offering bundled packages to customers. You could bundle voice, data, and cable TV in a triple play package. If you only require less number of channels, it is best to go for a “skinny bundle”.

There could be other options to limit data usage such as parental controls or content filtering if your ISP provides the same. It will help you keep a tab on what your kids watch or stream, thereby impacting data.

03 Aug

Comcast Business® Wins the 2018 Best Practices Award

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Comcast Business® recently announced that they have won the Frost & Sullivan 2018 Best Practices Award for Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership in the North American Server Message Block VoIP services category. The judges of Frost & Sullivan gave Comcast® a 10/10 score for both the evaluation factors, as well as for customer impact. In addition, they appreciated the company’s spotlight on the SMB market, continual solution enhancements, and the resulting growth rates.

Frost & Sullivan analyzed factors such as superior leadership, customer service, strategic product development, and technological innovation. The business firm’s main goal is in driving positive industry change by recognizing companies, individuals, and products that fulfill the criteria.

The six VoIP services of Comcast Business® are Business VoiceEdge, Business VoiceEdge (PRI), Business Voice Mobility, Business Voice, Business VoiceEdge SIP, and Business VoiceEdge Select. The offerings of Business VoiceEdge are IP telephony offerings. It is designed for supporting SMBs need but is scalable to enterprises. Business VoiceEdge offers advanced calling systems like simultaneous rings, automated attendant, readable voicemail, and additionally, a mobile app for giving businesses top-end voice capabilities.

Frost & Sullivan mainly recognized the best internet provider Comcast® VoIP services for its rich and cost-effective web service, the breadth of the solutions portfolio, and the enhancements of advanced features in voice solutions. The comprehensive portfolio of data, voice, and value-added service by Comcast Business® can bundle connectivity services with unified communication solutions for simplifying their technology experience thereby providing one-stop shopping for SMBs.

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Elka Popova, the Vice President of Frost & Sullivan, said, “Comcast Business® stands out among its competitors. It has excelled over the years in terms of VoIP services user and revenue growth rates, and continues to pursue growth opportunities through ongoing solution enhancements, new service offerings, and unwavering commitment to serving the needs of SMB customers.”

John Guillaume, the Vice President of Product Management, UX and SaaS, Comcast Business®, said, “Receiving an award like this from such a respected analyst house is always a great honor. Add to that the fact that the two primary evaluation metrics are innovation and customer impact – two of the most important factors for any business – and that we received a perfect score in each of them, it just brings this award to a whole new level. As always, we plan to continue to improve and keep this momentum going forward with our VoIP offerings.”

04 Jul

Charter® Expands Spectrum® Gigabit Internet Service to More Markets

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Charter® has expanded their Spectrum® Internet Gig plan to millions of residential customers, making the best internet offering available to over 27 million residences. The telecommunications company is also aiming to expand the internet service with up to 940 megabits per second speed to almost all homes in their nationwide footprint by the end of the year.

The launch of Spectrum® Internet Gig to 27 million homes makes up “more than halfway to our goal of making gigabit connections available to virtually our entire 41-state footprint,” Charter® said in an announcement. “By Labor Day, we’ll be rolling out to even more cities to get closer to that year-end goal.”

The cable network of Charter® reaches out to around 50 million business and homes across the country. The prices of the gigabit internet service from the cable giant reportedly range from $105 to $125 per month, which is a variance that depends on local competition.

On the other hand, small and medium scale businesses can now subscribe to Spectrum® Business Internet Gig in markets where the best internet speed tier is available to residential customers. Charter® already offers the gigabit speeds to large-scale businesses. The starter download speeds of the cable operator are 100 or 200 megabits per second in select markets.

While the advertised speed by Charter® indicates that it is a gigabit internet service, the actual maximum speeds are 940 Mbps downstream and 35 Mbps upstream. This variance in speed is common in the telecommunications industry, and is caused due to network constraints that necessitate cable providers to limit the speed to support Ethernet overhead.

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The high-speed connections are possible thanks to DOCSIS 3.1, which is an industry standard used in telecommunications networks. Further, Charter’s cable internet service has no data cap. That is because the cable giant cannot sell internet plans to subscribers with data limits and overage fees until 2023, as FCC and US Justice Department stipulated that in their merger conditions. Charter® acquired Time Warner Cable® in 2016. Nevertheless, the regulators approved that based on that and several other conditions, including expansion of the network to underserved locations.

As of now, the gigabit internet does not support symmetrical downstream and upstream speeds, though updates to DOCSIS standard could change that in future. In fact, Charter Communications® has announced that it would eventually rollout symmetrical gigabit speeds over their existing network, which mainly relies on coaxial cable lines to reach out to each residence.

04 May

AT&T® Outlines Commercial Fixed Wireless 5G Deployment Strategies

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As per the results of fixed 5G trials conducted in select cities, AT&T® anticipates 5G mobile services that operate on mmWave spectrum to have transmitters placed inside 150 to 250 meters from one site to the other. The current mobile broadband services of AT&T® are deployed through a network infrastructure, which operates on 700 megahertz to 2 gigahertz band. However, AT&T® plans to deploy 5G mobile services that rely on 39 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. This band not only offers higher speeds and lower latency rates of below 10 milliseconds, but also transmits signals almost as good as the airwaves of lower band.

The Chief Financial Officer of AT&T®, John Stephens, said that the officials of the best internet provider are persuaded by the outcomes of fixed 5G tests. “We’re seeing gigabit-plus speeds under line-of-sight conditions to distances up to 900 feet and with extremely low latency rates, some as low as 9 milliseconds,” he said during a quarterly earnings call of AT&T®. “These trials have shown that millimeter-wave [signals are] able to penetrate foliage, glass—and even walls—better than anticipated with no discernible signal performance impacts due to rain, snow or other weather issues.”

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The Assistant VP of Radio Technology and Strategy at AT&T® Labs, Dave Wolster, said that the engineers of the company are certain that fixed wireless connections that operate on mmWave spectrum will deliver desired signals, even at ranges above 300 meters and under conditions favorable to line of sight communication. “With fixed wireless at millimeter wave, we have a lot of antenna gain to work with,” Wolter said. “At the base station, we have an antenna array of maybe 64 elements that are beam-forming, so they concentrate the energy in the direction of interest toward your user. The user also has an antenna array with higher gain than what you would have in a mobile device, and it uses higher power than typical mobile devices are using.”

The best internet provider expects fixed antennas to be placed outside of a construction window using Low-E glass, unlike how they used it inside of such windows in fixed 5G tests. “With millimeter waves, you lose quite a bit of power just going through a window, so we’re having to deal with that, as well. If you can put [the antennas] outside, you’ll get substantially more range, just because you don’t have that loss through the window,” Wolter added.

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