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23 Mar

Is AT&T Blocking Quality Internet Access In Poor Neighborhoods

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Quality Internet Access

Telecom companies are much notorious and many consumers often complain about the slow services, issues in coverage, and high prices. However, what if you cannot stream your favorite show or research your term paper as the internet service in your area is very slow? What if the slow speed is based on your neighborhood and not because you have used up the data allowance?

Experts say that this might be happening in the poorest neighborhoods of Cleveland and AT&T internet might be the culprit. As per the report from internet consumer advocacy groups like Connect Your Community and National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the lack of investment and refusal to extend the available discounts services to poor neighborhoods is equivalent to income discrimination that was used by banks, called redlining.

The internet consumer advocacy groups analyzed the broadband availability data of FCC and they found that the Cleveland neighborhoods with highest poverty rates have the slowest internet connections. They also added that the old infrastructure in use by AT&T is the cause of the slow internet speeds. As per the report released by the groups, AT&T is not investing in fiber based broadband internet infrastructure and are excluding some of the neighborhoods from their discounted internet services for the low income users.

Gizmodo also reported that AT&T was blocking high-speed best internet access to those neighborhoods where at least thirty-five percent of the total population lived below the poverty line. This means that the more money a household makes, the more likely they are to have good internet access.

“Recognizing a publicly traded company’s first priority is to profit means we, as a country, must take the necessary steps to ensure broadband infrastructure is upgraded equally regardless of income, not just for today but for the future,” NDIA director Angela Siefer said. “Since the free market is clearly not solving this issue, we need local, state and federal policies that encourage build out in all neighborhoods, subsidizing when necessary.”

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Connect Your Community

Access to internet services from the various internet providers is an economic issue. It is estimated that thirteen percent of the adults in USA, who do not use the internet, make less than fifty thousand dollars per year. As per the report from the Center for Public Integrity, twenty percent of Americans in low-income families do not have access to the internet and among those, who make between 35,000 and 47,000 dollars, fifteen percent are not connected to the internet.

Many regulatory efforts are in place to mitigate these issues. One such regulation is the net neutrality that prohibits the broadband internet providers from blocking, throttling, and other techniques to control internet speeds. Nevertheless, experts believe that these regulations are at risk under the Trump Administration.

15 Mar

AW North Carolina Seeks Help From AT&T To Secure Business Operations

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Mobility Business Services

One of the best internet providers in the United States, AT&T offers mobility business services and security to AW North Carolina, who is a leading automatic transmissions manufacturer. The services offered by AT&T allow the company to protect their data and to connect their employees to the manufacturer’s network.

It is a fact that many major business corporations in the country face serious and growing cyber security threats. A research published by the telecom giant, AT&T pointed out that about 90% of companies encountered a preventable cyber attack in the year 2016.

This means that if you want to protect and secure the sensitive files and other data of your business, then you should certainly adopt a multilayered approach. However, many small-scale businesses do not have the necessary resources for developing and managing a multi-layered security approach on their own.

AW North Carolina went to seek the aid of AT&T after they experienced a number of service disruptions from viruses and ransomware. These service disruptions affected the day-to-day business operations of the company and it even went on to halt their production at times, which in turn resulted in a potential loss of revenue.

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AW North Carolina

The Cybersecurity Consulting Division of AT&T positioned an Incident Response and Forensics team who successfully identified and eliminated the ransomware, which in turn brought W North Carolina back online. The General Manager of Information Technology, AW North Carolina, John Peterson, said, “It was essential to find a solution to these attacks as quickly as possible. A highly secure network is key to our success. Now, it’s no longer a matter of chasing a virus from one network connection to the next to identify compromised computers. Throughout the process, AT&T was a trusted advisor.”

Vice President of AT&T Security Consulting, Todd Waskelis said, “Today, an attack could mean a loss of reputation, revenue, and resources. Reacting quickly and with the right tools is of the utmost importance. We worked with AW North Carolina to understand the root cause of this attack and how it happened using Incident Response and Forensics capabilities to not only protect their business but to also improve their security protections to help prevent further security issues.”

Reports indicate that the best internet service and highly efficient security solutions offered by AT&T will enable them to attract more customers towards their services.

14 Mar

AT&T Launches Cheap Internet Plan For GoPhone Customers

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AT&T Internet Plan

The telecom giant, AT&T recently introduced a cheap internet plan for their AT&T GoPhone customers. The officials from AT&T confirmed that the customers who are currently under their GoPhone plan would be able to enjoy unlimited data for just $60 per month. However, AT&T GoPhone customers will have to sign up for AutoPay in order to enjoy this latest offering.

The subscribers who sign up for AutoPay will receive unlimited text, talktime, and data with a maximum internet speed of 3 Mbps. This plan is ideal for web browsing, accessing social media platforms, and for streaming standard definition video content at a maximum speed of 1.5 Mbps.

This is one of best internet deals available to AT&T customers now, because they will not have to pay any extra charges for their basic internet needs with this plan. However, the officials from AT&T stated that they would temporarily slow the internet data once the consumer exceeds the usage of 22 GB during periods of network congestion.

If you are traveling to Canada or Mexico on your vacation, then you might have earlier spent hundreds of your dollar to make calls to your friends and relatives and for using the internet. However, the latest AT&T GoPhone Unlimited plan allows you to make texts and calls to and from Canada, Mexico, and the US, which means that you will no longer have to worry about additional charges.

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AT&T GoPhone

AT&T vice president of wireless voice and prepaid products, Bob Bickerstaff said, “We’re excited to offer a truly unlimited plan for our AT&T GoPhone customers. AT&T GoPhone customers now have even more flexibility to pick the plan that fits their needs as well as the perfect device from a selection of premium smartphones they really want.”

If you are an AT&T customer who is planning to subscribe to a plan without a credit check or an annual contract and if you don’t unlimited internet data, then AT&T GoPhone plan of 6GB for just $40 a month after AutoPay is undoubtedly the best choice for you.

You will be able to access 6 GB of your internet data at a high speed, but the internet speed will be eventually reduced to 128 Kbps once you exceed the 6 GB limit during your plan cycle. You will be also able to make texts and calls to and from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.

10 Mar

Satellite Internet Will Offer True Broadband

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HughesNet Gen5 Service

In the United States, satellite internet providers that cater to remote and rural users, have been improving steadily over the last few years. Hughes Network Systems, which is a subsidiary of EchoStar, has now announced that their latest HughesNet Gen5 service, which is planned to go live on March 16, has cleared a big hurdle to become the first internet service to achieve the Federal Communications Commission’s defined broadband speeds across important areas in Alaska and the continental US. The broadband speeds for internet service set by FCC are 3 Mbps for uploads and 25 Mbps for downloads.

The Gen5 service from HughesNet will tap into the newly launched EchoStar XIX satellite and EchoStar XVII satellite. HughesNet describes the EchoStar XIX satellite as the “world’s highest capacity broadband satellite.” Gen5 service is powered by Hughes’ Jupiter System, which is the “world’s most widely deployed satellite networking platform,” the company said.

The new Gen5 service will not only deliver more data and faster speeds, but will also offer built-in Wi-Fi. “HughesNet Gen5 will bring a new level of Internet services to the approximately 18 million households across the United States that are either unserved or suffering from slow wireline Internet services,” said Pradman Kaul, who is the president of Hughes Network Systems.

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Broadband Speeds

For the residential users, the HughesNet Gen5 service will offer plans with up to 50 GB of monthly data and prices starting from 49.99 dollars per month. Business plan offerings will range up to 250 GB of data per month and prices starting from 69.99 dollars. All these plans are offered with 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed. HughesNet said that they would share more details of the Gen5 plans and prices on the launch day.

Other new features of the Gen5 service are:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi service;
  • No hard data limits, meaning that if the monthly data plan is exceeded, the service will continue with decreased speeds until next billing cycle;
  • Video Data Saver feature to watch videos without using much data; and
  • 50 GB of free data per month that can be used in off-peak hours (i.e. 02:00 am to 08:00 am local time).

In addition to that, the new Jupiter Aero System will tap into the EchoStar XIX satellite to offer 400 Mbps of best internet service in aircrafts. Reports say that some of the airlines like Southwest will be offering boosted wireless internet service by the second half of 2017.

10 Mar

AT&T Offers LTE-M Technology To Capstone Metering For Water Conservation

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LTE-M Technology

AT&T has successfully implemented its LTE-M technology for conserving water by offering its network to Capstone Metering, a water management solutions company. The carrier has also planned to introduce LTE-M technology all across the country this year.

Capstone has become one of the first customers using AT&T’s LTE-M technology in water management. For this, the LTE Category M1 is utilized that differs from the conventional categories of LTE networks focused on smartphone usage. Reports say that it uses very low amounts of bandwidth for sending smaller amounts of data at intervals, which is ideal for low power modems that connect meters and other sensors to the network.

Capstone Metering LLC was founded in 2007 and it offers innovative water management solutions to ensure effective conservation and usage. Their efforts focus on metering and monitoring water usage for the thousands of water authorities spread across the nation. For achieving this, the company connects their meters and sensors to the AT&T internet network. Apart from that, Capstone Metering also offers numerous other additions including the meter, installation, platform, training, analytics, maintenance, connectivity, and cloud database.

AT&T adviser James Brehm explains that, “Water as service moves the small and medium water districts from a [capital expense] to an [operating expense] model. There are 148,000 water authorities across the United States. They serve 98 million service connections, and about a third of those are in the top 20 to 30 cities, the next third are in medium-size cities and then the rest are split across small cities.”

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He also suggested a new method of requiring the water authorities to pay the meter fee each month. This will aid in removing all the costs involved in each of the technicians visit a water meter. Brehm anticipates that the new solution by the carrier will be highly beneficial, mainly for smaller districts. This is evident in Capstone’s claims of success and usefulness of the best internet technology by AT&T for managing water resources in larger cities as well.

Capstone has stated that such real-time data from the water meters will effectively aid in conservation efforts. The company is currently in the process of developing algorithms for detecting any leaks in the water supply systems to alert the water authorities quickly. The company has also stated that the LTE-M network is the most suitable for this use case.

09 Mar

DirecTV Cuts Price For MLB Extra Innings In 2017

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MLB Extra Innings

DirecTV has announced the price for the Major League Baseball Extra Innings out of the market package for 2017. The new price has dropped from the prices of 2016 level, but only by a meager 1.20 dollars. DirecTV in one of their posts shared this information to the public. MLB fans need to pay only 172.74 dollars to watch the complete 2017 season when compared to the 173.94 dollars price for 2016 season.

The price reduction might not seem to be a lot, but subscribers were able to see a big discount in the previous season when DirecTV, Comcast, and some other cheap internet and pay TV providers agreed to cut the price of MLB Extra Innings in 2016 and 2017. This decision was made as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that was filed by the MLB Extra Innings fans.

Comcast charged 165 dollars in 2016 for MLB Extra Innings, but they have not yet announced the pricing for 2017. In addition, DirecTV will also offer a free subscription to MLB.TV to all people buying Extra Innings. This means that the MLB fans can not only watch out-of-market games on television, but also on their mobile phones, computers, and connected devices.

This is the third time that DirecTV is including MLB.TV with the MLB Extra Innings offering. They have offered free subscription to MLB.TV in the last two seasons also.

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NFL Sunday Ticket

The net price for MLB Extra Innings remains flat as previous year and it is a good thing for the subscribers, as DirecTV is planning to increase the pricing for NFL Sunday Ticket package. It is reported that the pricing for the NFL Sunday Ticket will increase by over 9 percent before the 2017 season and by an additional 2 percent after the start of the season.

Subscribers not seeing a big increase in the pricing for the baseball package this year can be a good thing, but they should also understand that there is the potential for a price increase for the NFL Sunday Ticket season. For now, those baseball fans who wish to buy MLB Extra Innings package from DirecTV for 2017 will get a reduction in price, even though it is a small one.

03 Mar

Turning Off The Stream Saver Feature Of AT&T Internet

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Stream Saver Feature

AT&T knows that the competition is growing fast in the wireless industry and they have introduced unlimited data plans to attract more and more customers to their best internet offerings. Recently, they have announced a lower price tier and many improvements and promotions for their unlimited mobile data plans that were offered to all the users last week.

As per the latest updates, the unlimited plan will cost 90 dollars for the first line with a 10 dollars price cut. Note that Verizon also introduced their unlimited plan recently, under pressure from the smaller internet providers like T-Mobile and Sprint, who are offering cheap internet plans. Wireless users hate the monthly data allowances, as it forces them to guess in advance the amount of used data. When these users go over the monthly data allowances, they will have to face extra charges and fines.

Interestingly, it was AT&T who started to offer unlimited data plans. This was over an year ago, much before T-Mobile and Sprint, but their offering was limited to their DirecTV and U-Verse cable subscribers only. Statistics shows that 8 million customers signed up for the offer, and now, AT&T has opened the plan to all wireless users.

None of the unlimited plans, from AT&T or any other carriers is truly unlimited though. For instance, in case of AT&T, if a subscriber uses more than 22 GB of internet in a month, the speed can decrease. Verizon and Sprint also threaten to de-prioritize after 22 GB and 23 GB data use respectively. Still, the slow downs are preferable than the overage fees.

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Streaming Video

Another catch in the unlimited data plan from AT&T is the Stream Saver feature. This feature is meant to save the data plan of the users. The feature limits most of the video streams using the unlimited offering from AT&T network to 480 pixels or almost DVD quality. However, none of the users may wish to watch DVD quality video with the unlimited data plan. The Stream Saver feature is turned on by default, but AT&T offers an easy way to turn off the feature. The steps are discussed below.

  • Log into your AT&T account by visiting the company website;
  • In Account Overview area, click on Manage Stream Saver;
  • Then click on the buttons provided next to each feature that you need to disable.

If you are logged in from the mobile app,

  • Sign into the app and choose Usage from the menu;
  • Scroll down to bottom of page to select Manage My Usage; and
  • Select the button next to every option that you need to disable.
28 Feb

AT&T Signs An Agreement With Current Powered By GE

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AT&T Partnership

In a recent announcement, AT&T and Current (powered by GE) stated that they are entering into a partnership to speed up the digital era of urban development. Both these companies have an extensive history in communications technology and infrastructure.

The officials from both the companies added that the exclusive agreement between them would connect cities across Mexico and the United States to the IoT (Internet of Things). Reports indicate that the partnership between the two companies will bring a number of possibilities, which will considerably improve the way cities communicate, operate, and meet the requirements of its citizens.

The telecom giant, AT&T has been using their IoT expertise and resource since the launch of their Smart Cities program to create impactful solution for the cities. The fastest internet provider has also helped several cities to implement and develop a holistic Smart Cities strategy in order to address their present and future needs.

AT&T’s recently signed deal with Current considerably expands the Smart Cities services of the telecom company. The introduction of GE’s Predix-powered IoT platform will allow AT&T to use LED lighting in any city for creating a digital infrastructure. This will in turn address issues such as parking optimization, traffic flow, air quality monitoring, weather emergency alerts, and gunshot detection on the streets.

The president of IoT Solutions at AT&T, Chris Penrose said that, “Intelligent lighting plays a huge role in a smart city. Our collaboration with Current will enable us to use a city’s existing lighting infrastructure to more securely connect sensor-enabled networks. This will put them on the path to becoming a smarter, more sustainable city.”

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IoT Platform

The Chief Digital Officer of Current, John Gordon said, “We are thrilled to expand Current’s relationship with AT&T to help cities redefine the civic engagement model—our digital network is based on an open platform, which allows entrepreneurs, incubators and students to get involved in the future development smart city applications. AT&T has a long history of working commercially with municipalities, and our technology will be a perfect fit toward helping more cities unleash the limitless potential of the Industrial Internet.”

Reports indicate that the Smart Cities initiative of the best internet provider will bring connectivity to spotlight cities across the United States and it will help these cities to become safer, cleaner, and a lot more efficient.

28 Feb

AT&T Announces Unlimited Data Plans To Lure More Customers

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Unlimited Internet

AT&T had launched new unlimited internet plans a few weeks ago, but with more competitive offers from internet providers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, they were forced to go back to the drawing board to come up with better offers and now they have announced improved plans.

New and existing users of AT&T will be able to choose from the two new plans named Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus. The Unlimited Plus offering from AT&T starts at 90 dollars per month for one line and offer unlimited talk, messaging, and internet at up to 4G LTE speed.

This means that the users can stream videos in HD quality, but the presence of the Stream Saver mode can reduce streaming video quality to around 480 pixels, as the mode is enabled by default. If the user needs to stream HD videos, he or she will have to turn off the feature by going to their AT&T account.

It is reported that the Unlimited Plus plan from AT&T will offer up to 10 GB of 4G LTE tethering per line, monthly. The speed will be reduced to a maximum of 128 kbps for the remaining time in bill cycle, once the allotment for high-speed internet is exceeded. Subscribers can have two smartphone lines for 145 dollars per month and they can add up to eight additional devices for twenty dollars per month for each of the additional devices.

AT&T said that this pricing includes the monthly access charges, but does not include additional fees and taxes. Additionally, the plans will need paperless billing and AutoPay. Officials also said that for a limited time, the Unlimited Plus customers can have a twenty five dollar bill credit towards DirecTV Now, DirecTV, or AT&T U-Verse subscriptions every month. This bill credit will start in the second-third billing period.

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High-Speed Internet

Meanwhile, the Unlimited Choice offering from AT&T starts at 60 dollars per month for one line and provides unlimited talk, message, and internet up to 3 Mbps speed, but does not provide tethering options. Users can stream video at maximum speed of 1.5 Mbps (480 pixels). Unlimited Choice does not offer any discount for bundling DirecTV, DirecTV Now, or AT&T U-Verse either.

Two smartphone lines on Unlimited Choice starts at 115 dollars per month and the user may add up to eight extra devices for an additional charge of 20 dollars per month for each extra device.

AT&T officials clarified that for both of the unlimited internet plans, each line that exceeds a limit of 22 GB data usage, may experience reduction of speeds on that line for the rest of the billing cycle, but only in areas with increased network congestion. This is similar to the 22 GB, 23 GB, and 28 GB data caps from providers like Verizon, Sprint, and T-mobile respectively.

27 Feb

Cox Collaborating With The American Library Association To Bridge Digital Divide

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Internet For All

Cox Communications has announced a new partnership with the American Library Association, an effort intended to close the digital divide. This partnership is the result of the new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s focus on narrowing the digital divide prevalent in the communities. Three of the cities in the US: Topeka, Baton Rouge, and Tucson are selected in the partnership to pilot the program.

Pat Esser, President of Cox Communications has announced the plans in enhancing its Connect2Compete program that has been around since 1990. This will help in providing the best internet access to low income families in the communities. This will promote increased access for the students to the digital literacy training offered at the libraries and online platforms.

Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library CEO Gina Millsap said, “I think people are surprised that every day in public libraries in our community and around the country people are still setting up their first email account, they’re learning how to apply for a job online. 80 percent of jobs you have to apply online now.”

Cox has said that the partnership with the American Library Association will be a good way to study the results. This is done by offering customized training courses in both English and Spanish in the areas of Tucson, Topeka, and Baton Rouge.

The trainings are accessible for Cox customers on the website www.digitallearn.org and across the 1500 libraries that have collaborated with the company. Pet Esser further states about this pilot project that, “Experience with computers and the internet is necessary for competing in today’s digital world. Through our partnership, we will ensure that the libraries never close for our families, expanding the reach of their digital collections and services, and empowering more families to experience limitless learning and full participation in the knowledge economy.”

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No More Digital Divide

Both the companies in the partnership have stressed upon the importance of cheap internet connectivity in increasing the educational career opportunities for the low-income families. ALA President Julie Todaro exemplifies this in a statement that says, “America’s libraries combine the expertise of our librarians with a robust technology infrastructure and growing digital resources to advance digital opportunity for all in our nation. We look forward to working with Cox to further extend our reach and resources to help more families thrive online.”

Cox has been one of the major players in the Connect2Compete program in providing discount broadband prices to lower income families. The company also came up with another program last year offering free WiFi for the participants of Connect2Compete.

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