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02 Feb

Comcast® Buys MIcom’s Cable Grid at Highland Park

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Comcast® recently announced that they bought MIcom’s cable grid at Highland Park area within Michigan’s Metro Detroit. The customers of MIcom will be switched to Comcast® on March 01 this year said the Telco giant while announcing the cable deal.

“Highland Park is one of a few cities within southeastern Michigan that we didn’t have a franchise agreement,” said Michelle Gilbert, Vice President of Public Relations for Comcast’s Heartland Region. “So, when the opportunity presented itself to purchase the cable system, not only does this help give us a more contiguous footprint, it reinforces our commitment to this region.”

While the MIcom customers in Highland Park only amounts to around 650, Comcast® said that, the cable grid there is connected to around 5100 residences, and that it creates opportunities to build the customer base. Officials from Comcast® also said that MIcom has expanded their cable system in the city, which makes the acquisition cost-effective for them compared to expanding anew.

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Commenting on the cable deal between both companies, Mayor of Highland Park Hubert Yopp said, “This is great news for the residents and businesses of Highland Park, particularly as we move forward with our comprehensive revitalization plan to build a strong future for our city. Having access to the same advanced products and services that Comcast provides across the rest of Michigan has tremendous value as we seek to attract residents and businesses to Highland Park.”

The Senior VP for Heartland Region, Tim Collins, said that Comcast® expects to provide residential customers all of their services comprising of high-speed internet, wireless internet, and business services. Comcast® has been enhancing best internet service for business and residential customers across Michigan in the last year and has been in the process of improving their customer service as well. At present, Comcast® has around 1.4 million subscribers statewide.

Recently, the Telco announced that they would add gigabit internet service for business and residential customers in West Michigan, which includes Kent County’s Grand Rapids and Ottawa County’s Holland, besides select cities outside Detroit. Comcast® said it would provide residents in Highland Park the high-speed internet service alongside their Internet Essentials package, which gives low-income subscribers access to cheap internet and the option to purchase a computer for low-cost.

11 Jan

Comcast® Upgrades Internet Speeds for Performance Pro Plan in Colorado

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Recently, Comcast® increased the internet speeds by 10 to 50 percent for the customers in Colorado, 3 months following a price hike to be precise. The recent upgrades to internet speeds do not incur another increase in price. If you subscribe to Comcast’s Performance Pro package, you can expect 150 Mbps in place of the previous 100 megabytes per second speed.

“The reason we are doing this increase is because new devices are coming online every day and we are staying ahead of demand through faster speeds and unrivaled technology, like our wireless gateways,” said Leslie Oliver on behalf of Comcast®. Leslie is the Director of Media and External Communications for Comcast’s Mountain West Region.

“Faster speeds help ensure people have the speed necessary to power the increasing number of devices they are connecting in the home — computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, home automation devices and more,” she added.

The change in internet speeds for Comcast® customers in Colorado applies to downstream speeds and not the upstream speeds. Subscribers will have to restart the DOCSIS 3.0 modem when the fastest internet provider notifies them that broadband is accessible in improved speeds. If the customers do not have DOCSIS 3.0 modem, they can swap the present modem for Xfinity® xFi for zero activation fees. However, customers will have to pay stipulated monthly rental by Comcast® for acquiring the wireless gateway.

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The Telco giant hiked the prices of select services and internet plans for the customers in Colorado in October 2017. Resultantly, the price of the Performance Pro package had increased by around 2.5% to $81.95 per month in October. However, Comcast’s bundled packages that combine both internet and cable service had not changed for the customers in Colorado back then.

Comcast® usually doubles the internet speeds each 18 to 24 months, added Oliver. The previous instance when the Telco upped internet speed for customers in Denver region was in September 2016. Internet speeds for Performance Pro increased from 70 megabytes per second to 100 Mbps back then.

The recent improvements in speeds for Performance Pro package will help the customers in Colorado to stream videos 50 Mbps speedily than previous speeds. However, the flipside to that is Colorado customers may reach the data limits quickly too. For customers having the right modem, Comcast® suggests a modem restart as when new speeds become accessible.

08 Jan

AT&T® Employees Union Files Lawsuit against the Dallas-Based Telecommunication Company

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AT&T®, the Dallas based Telecommunication Company is planning to terminate 713 employees. A union representing the employees of AT&T® filed a suit in the US district court to object this move from the telecom company. They union asked the Texas court to block the layoff of 713 employees.

The Telecommunication employees of America filed the lawsuit on Friday in disagreement with the company’s layoff policy. In the lawsuit, the employee union says that AT&T® is taking this step only to recruit cheap contract workers or to ship the job abroad. The accused are AT&T Services®, Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., and Direct TV®. In addition, the union also went on to file a charge with the US National Labor Relations Board.

The mass dismissal, which includes 152 technicians in the installation department of TV and internet services, will affect the workers of Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. However, the AT&T® company spokesman, Marty Richter rejected all the claims in the lawsuit and said, “The fact is the allegations in the lawsuit are baseless “. He further stated, “We comply with the terms of our collective bargaining agreements and did so in this case”

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According to Richter, the company took this step because of the advanced technology that is more efficient for the company. Besides, the demand by their customers for new services is also a reason for the mass termination. Marty Richter also said that even though they are dismissing the employees, they will help the technicians to find jobs in other branches of the company across the globe. He also justified that even after such a mass dismissal, the company has more than thousands of workers that it had two years ago.

The planned downsizing happened as AT&T® depends more on the latest automation technologies and as the company is trying to use the cloud-based software instead of copper wires for communication. Furthermore, the company also tried to launch a reinforcement effort to teach new digitally focused techniques like coding to the employees. In spite of this fact, the analysts and executives of AT&T® had predicted about this cut down at that time itself.

The layoffs became worse when the company tried to justify themselves by commenting how it will lower the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Additionally, when the bill was signed, the AT&T® CEO Randall Stephenson promised a special bonus of $1000 for more than 200,000 workers. He also announced that the company would invest an additional $1 billion to create thousands of job opportunities in 2018.

04 Jan

AT&T® Trying to Prevent Future Service Outages

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Prevent Future Service Outages

The executives from one of the best internet service providers in the country, AT&T® recently explained Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors about the circumstances of the recent outages. In addition to that, the officials from the telecom company also talked about the efforts made by them to prevent service outages in the future.

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that AT&T® updated their progress on preventing the phone and internet service outages during the supervisors meeting that was held a few weeks earlier. The telecom company has been facing widespread criticism for experts and customers for being prone to such regional service outage.

The most recent AT&T® outage was a few months ago when fiber optic cables of the company were burnt in a wildfire. As a result, customers in those regions were not able to access the internet and phone service of AT&T® for approximately 48 hours.

The area director of external affairs at AT&T®, Rhunette Alums stated that the telecom company is trying to expand the “diversity” of broadband cables. She further added that the company is planning an extension of north-south lines from Eureka to Trinidad.

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The AT&T® official also said that the other work would “provide some redundancy and will reduce the opportunity for a cut that will take you totally off the air.” Alums also stated that the work would certainly bring “significant changes that will improve Internet experiences, accessibility, and survivability.”

She further said that customers and others often ask her why service outages “along Highway 36” affect AT&T® while the services from other leading TV and internet providers remain unaffected. “We need to have more equipment placed along Highway 36 that will allow the opportunity for that equipment to talk to each other, talk to our systems, so we can continue to isolate issues,” Alums said.

Reports have been indicating that the telecom company is offering much better service resiliency to subscribers who are ready to pay for it. When asked about it, Alums said, “It wasn’t predicated on who paid for it and who didn’t, it was where can we get the maximum amount of restored coverage for people as fast as we could.” It is pretty evident that the officials from AT&T® have put in a number of efforts to significantly reduce the chances of another service outage. Only future will tell how well their efforts fare.

02 Jan

Washington State Advance Past Lawsuit Made Against Comcast®

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Deceptive Sales Practices

Washington State is now advancing a lawsuit made against Comcast® in 2016. State Attorney, General Bob Ferguson alleges deposing of customer service call records as the reason for that. He said they are proof of “deceptive sales practices” made by the Telco. Reports indicate that probes unearthed “illegal conduct” especially when investigators queried for the recorded calls made to the customers.

The lawsuit initially claimed that, “Comcast® has violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86 (the “CPA”) over 1.8 million times through unfair and deceptive acts and practices relating to its Service Protection Plan (“SPP”), service call fees it charges consumers, and deposits it obtained from consumers.”

Comcast® refuted the ongoing claims of the attorney general and reaffirmed they were as per flawed probing methods and assumptions. The Telco would continue defending the lawsuit in court.

“The Service Protection Plan gives those consumers who choose to purchase it great value by covering virtually all service charges over 99% of the time,” said Comcast® VP of external affairs for Washington region, Marianne Bichsel. However, Ferguson said the Telco’s refusal of request to access the records of service calls as taxing, and hence the lawsuit is filed again.

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The allegation is based on Comcast’s giving away of sample call recordings to the investigators and that a majority of the recordings were deleted. “We’ve now uncovered evidence that many Washingtonians are paying for it without their consent,” the state Attorney General claimed referring to the signing of a fraudulent service plan in the past by Comcast® to thousands of customers in the state.

The probing team claims to have analyzed 150 calls from a possible thousand made between customers and service reps of the Telco. In response to that they have said “as confirmed by the court, any accusation that Comcast® deleted calls because of this investigation is just plain wrong. In fact, we gave the AG over 4,500 call recordings and they have only listened to 150 of them.”

Comcast® is said to have termed the suit a stretch stating that subscribers’ get e-mail confirmations upon signing up for the service plan. Washington State is now seeking a refund for the customers who subscribed unknowingly to the plan and civil fines against the Telco but has refused to reveal the penalty amount to the press.

28 Dec

CenturyLink® Establishes LAN Networks in Little Caesars Area in Detroit

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CenturyLink® powers the networks of around 15 sporting and entertainment-based venues nationwide like CenturyLink® Field and U.S. Bank Stadium in Seattle and Minneapolis respectively. The best internet provider was recently chosen by the Detroit-based entertainment company Olympia Entertainment to establish the infrastructural network for the Little Caesars Arena. The multipurpose arena in Detroit forms one part of ‘The District Detroit’ a fifty-block development project led by the Litch family.

The arena alone can accommodate 20,000 people and is the home ground of Detroit Red Wings (NHL), and Detroit Pistons (NBA) as of now. It also hosts community gatherings, entertainment shows, and other sporting events in a calendar year. Over 1 million guests have accessed the Little Caesars Arena since it was opened earlier this year indicate reliable sources.

With an aim of entertaining the visitors, CenturyLink® conceived and installed a converged LAN network inside the arena making it accessible to communication platforms, components or compatible devices nearby.

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“Building a world-class communications infrastructure was critical to the success of the arena, and CenturyLink® delivered,” said John King, the VP of Information Technology & Innovation at Olympia Entertainment. “The arena’s advanced communications network helps us keep our guests connected in multiple ways as they’re enjoying our events, while enabling the operations staff to keep everything running smoothly and at peak efficiency,” he added.

The infrastructure provided by CenturyLink® comprises of over 12,000 internet ports, more than 200 VLANs and 45 IDFs that connects telecommunications cable with the devices of the end user and an MDF. The main network can support 40 Gbps Ethernet speed, to go with 20 Gbps uplink speeds redundantly to each Intermediate Distribution Frame which facilitates the same.

The best internet provider also enhances the call center in the Little Caesars Arena with VoIP service for around 700 landline phones inside the arena and back offices nearby. Besides that, CenturyLink® also powers the Little Caesars arena with dynamic signage and IPTV, which provides up-to-date info regarding a running event or other customized digital content. The Internet Protocol Television platform comprise of around 1700 display screens inclusive of the massive screens placed in the main areas of the arena. The staff can monitor the screens across the facility through a command center.

26 Dec

Comcast® and AT&T® Announce Broadband Expansion and Employee Bonuses

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Two of the best internet providers are acting on tax reforms and deregulations on net neutrality in the US. Reports say that AT&T® is planning to expand their nationwide network with a capital investment of 1 billion dollars and would give a 1000-dollar bonus to as many as 200,000 employees in the year 2018. The announcement from the Telco’s representatives came following House and Senate Republicans have passed a new tax bill. The reform slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, which would be applicable starting next year for the telecom industry as a whole.

The employee bonus from AT&T® is courtesy the talks between their CEO Randall Stephenson and Christopher Shelton, the Present of Communications Workers of America. The funding would expectantly support AT&T’s broadband expansion plans and next-gen wireless data 5G.

“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” said Stephenson in an announcement.

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“By pushing employers for this raise, CWA proves that working people have power when we join together to negotiate for a fair return for the work we do,” said CWA. “Unions remain the most effective means for working people to stand together and achieve wage growth and keep good jobs in the U.S.”

Joining the announcements following the tax reform is Comcast Communications®. CEO Brian Roberts said that Comcast® would also give $1000 bonuses for “eligible frontline and non-executive employees.” The Telco also said they would invest “well in excess of $50 billion” as capital over the course of upcoming 5 years into cable business and theme parks now that FCC has repealed net neutrality on a 3-2 vote in a recent meeting.

In fact, the Commission recently forecasted the deregulation of net neutrality rules of 2015 would encourage the best internet providers to spend big and upgrade their network that would contribute to the industry as a whole. The employee bonuses are also on the cards since a number of Internet Service Providers including Comcast® and AT&T’s TV provider DirecTV® have announced hikes in price for the broadband and cable TV plans that are expected to start from the next year.

22 Dec

CenturyLink® Plans to Expand Broadband Service to Rural Missouri

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Expanding Broadband Service

The Federal law necessitates FCC to release an annual report which tells whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” as per the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Republican-led FCC lead by Tom Wheeler defined ‘reasonable’ as high-speed broadband in 2015. The stipulated speeds mandated then have been subject to improvements in speed but the basic intention remains to be the same. Many of the internet providers are expanding their network nationwide in order to clear the connectivity gap felt in broadband sector and CenturyLink® is one of them.

CenturyLink® is planning to expand their broadband network to Salem, and select areas of rural Missouri in the near future suggest reports received from their branch in Jefferson City. The expansion from CenturyLink® was announced earlier this year and is part of their commitment to FCC Connect America Fund. Federal Communications Commission recently repurposed ‘universal voice service’ funds to expand broadband service in rural Missouri, which still lack access to high-speed internet. It is an initiative from FCC taken in order to improve broadband service in underserved areas in the United States.

The Telco is also planning to expand their broadband network areas to more than 152,000 in Missouri alone by 2021 indicate reliable sources. The locations would include select areas of Missouri where customers are looking for a best internet service provider as of now.

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CenturyLink® installed fiber optical cable across the communities in the state, which enabled the customers to choose select high-speed broadband plans. Now, the Telco is in the process of upgrading the network to cater more than 1200 residents and businesses residing in Salem, out of which many customers reside outskirts, suggest the reports.

The upgrades are yet to rollout completely, said a representative of CenturyLink® to reliable sources. This is courtesy many of the factors like accessibility for labor, the natives affected by lack of internet access and the guidelines, which should be followed as the rules of Federal Communications Commission.

“Determining the geographical boundaries of the expansion area are dependent on multiple variables,” as per the representative of CenturyLink®. “Engineers are working to develop plans that cover as much area as possible. As locations near completion, customers will receive a letter announcing broadband availability and other pertinent details.”

19 Dec

Comcast® and Charter® Give Response to Skeptics of Net Neutrality Deregulations

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Net Neutrality Deregulations

The Federal Communications Commission recently repealed net neutrality law on a 3-2 vote following a meeting this month. While the Republican Congressmen responded to the new net neutrality repeals in a reserved manner, both Comcast® and Charter® have come up with a response in the light of common interest. Both the cable companies asked legislators to reconsider the voting by giving statements on the deregulation of ‘net neutrality’ to reliable sources.

“It’s now time for all of us to take advantage of this moment in time and end the cycle of regulatory ping pong we’ve been trapped in for over a decade and put this issue to rest once and for all,” said David Cohen, the Senior Executive Vice President cum the Chief Division Officer of Comcast Corporation®.

“And there’s a simple way to do this—we really must have bipartisan congressional legislation to permanently preserve and solidify net neutrality protections for consumers and to provide ongoing certainty to ISPs and edge providers alike,” he added.

On the other hand, the representatives of Charter® said, “Such legislation would provide permanent regulatory assurance and create an environment that allows for more long-term planning that will help us continue to provide even better broadband across our country.”

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Usage-Based Billing

In 2015, FCC reclassified internet service providers as ‘common carriers’ under Obama Administration, and published the ‘net neutrality’ rule. The rule states that the internet providers should not give preferential treatment to a type of content over others, throttle down speeds or block websites and provide web content and accesses to applications irrespective of the source.

Following the repeal, Comcast® and Charter® say they won’t take advantage of the deregulations by violating the open internet rules.

“As I wrote yesterday, reiterating a consistent public commitment from Comcast, we will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content on the Internet; we will be fully transparent with respect to our practices; and we have not entered into any paid prioritization arrangements, and we have no plans to do so,” David Cohen reaffirmed.

On the other hand, the representatives of Charter® said to the press that they do not “impose data caps or engage in usage-based billing, meaning our customers can engage with the content they want as much as they want.”

15 Dec

AT&T® Expands Their High Speed Internet to More Underserved and Rural Communities

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AT&T® has now expanded the reach of their Fixed Wireless Internet to many small businesses and homes in some of the underserved and rural locations across seventeen new counties in the country. Business and residential users in areas of Charleston, Chesterfield, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Darlington, Laurens, Dillon, Kershaw, Marlboro, Union, Marion, Pickens, Newberry, Orangeburg, Saluda, and York counties can sign up for the services from AT&T®.

The Telco had previously announced the availability of their best internet services in areas of Barnwell, Oconee, Richland, and Dorchester counties. “AT&T® is a fantastic corporate partner to South Carolina, and its commitment to providing equal access to high-speed internet for people in every part of the state will continue to benefit South Carolinians,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “Investment in rural areas is especially important to making sure every person in the state is given the opportunity to benefit from the economic development success we will continue to see for generations to come.”

This move from AT&T® follows the launch of their Fixed Wireless service in areas of South Carolina as part of their FCC Connect America Fund program. AT&T® is planning to offer access to more than 1.1 million areas by the end of 2020. In the area of South Carolina itself, they have committed to offer access to 30,000 locations by the year 2020 and they are planning to reach more than forty percent of that goal by the end of the year.

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“Access to fast and reliable internet is a life-changer in today’s interconnected world,” said Pamela Lackey, who is the president of AT&T® South Carolina. “We are excited about the opportunities this innovative service will bring for customers in many parts of the state as we continue working to close the connectivity divide in South Carolina.”

Between the years 2014 and 2016, AT&T® made investments of more than eight hundred million in their wireless and wired networks in South Carolina. Fixed Wireless internet service from AT&T® offers internet connection with a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 1 Mbps. With the internet connection, users can download, and stream their favorite TV shows and movies. The Fixed Wireless connection comes from a wireless tower to an antenna that is fixed at the home or business of the customer.

The service is also available to businesses and residents in areas of Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, California, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Texas.

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