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04 May

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

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Fixed Wireless

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.

27 Apr

Comcast® Shifts Focus to Internet Following Q1 Results on Cable Subs

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Stream Online Channels

Comcast Cable® officials recently reported that they experienced a significant loss in the number of video subscribers as of this year’s first quarter. As per reports, this decline in Comcast® video subs is 96,000 as of Q1 of 2018. However, being one of the best internet providers in the US, Comcast® has also achieved more than 350,000 high-speed internet subscribers during the same period.

This only goes to indicate the Philadelphia-based Telco giant’s role in nationwide markets of being an internet service provider that bundles cable TV packages and best internet plans. Slowly but surely, Comcast® treats internet as the core competency of their overall service portfolio to stay competitive in a market that is shifting toward streaming services. In other words, more and more customers are choosing internet to stream online channels on Comcast Xfinity® TV. Besides, their home security and Xfinity Mobile® offerings also serve as adds to their product portfolio.

To retain customers and drive sales, Comcast® sales reps are now pitching broadband packages first, and then, the company’s other offerings such as cable TV. “Our focus is very much centered on broadband,” said Dave Watson, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable®.

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This focus of Comcast® on internet offerings may seem surprising even at a time when the company has made a billion dollar bid, which is $31bn as per reports, to acquire Pay-TV broadcaster Sky plc. Comcast Corporation®, the parent company of Comcast Cable®, is surely trying everything it can to improve byline profits through broadband offerings even as their actions may seem to the contrary.

Trade analysts say that selling broadband would seem much profitable to Comcast® than selling cable TV packages, for which profit margins are thinner in comparison owing to programming costs. No wonder Comcast® is looking to acquire what is often billed as the largest satellite broadcaster in the UK namely Sky plc. In fact, Comcast® is not alone in bidding for the broadcaster – even Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox Inc. join them in the bidding process. The board members of Sky plc welcomed the Comcast® bid and withdrew a suggestion that shareholders have accepted an earlier proposal from 21st Century Fox.

Despite trying to cement their status of being one of the top internet providers, Comcast® also sees an opportunity in the form of wireless subscriber growth. It has added 196,000 subscriber lines to Xfinity Mobile® service in Q4, bringing its aggregate to 577,000 lines.

06 Mar

Comcast® Introduces New Push Notifications Feature for its Xfinity xFi™ Customers

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New Push Notifications Feature

Comcast® has rolled out a new set of push notifications feature into its Xfinity® xFi™ system. This will enable its customers to obtain detailed information regarding their home network, which helps them to manage them more effectively. These push notifications will inform the user regarding any changes that happen in the home network and offers an improvement to the security of the system. The constant reminders sent out by the push notification feature will allow the customer to remain aware of all the recent changes made into the system and override the security of their home network.

The new push notifications feature introduced by Comcast® will provide their customer with real-time alerts through connected digital devices like a smartphone or TV. This will allow the customer to understand whether any changes have been made in the home network and take the necessary action. Since its launch last year, Comcast® has become one of the best internet providers in the country that offers a reliable home networking solution. The introduction of the xFi™ service allowed the customers with a solid platform to manage and customize their home networks via connected devices.

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Manage Home Networks

Comcast’s newly introduced push notification feature will inform the user regarding several aspects. This includes alerts when a new device joins a home network that gives the customer more control over such as naming and assigning it to a particular person inside the home. It can also give valuable alerts about various security flaws in the home network such as when the network is switched to an open model by unauthorized access without consent of the customer.

Other network features like the status of the SSID or network name such as whether it is set to hidden or visible are also provided in the notifications. Other aspects such as a change in the IP address or the first time activation of Xfinity® Internet and the xFi™ gateway will also be included in the notifications. Comcast® is providing its customers with total control in customizing and managing their home network with this latest push notification feature.

The Telco has actually made these improvements to the xFi™ system solely for enhancing the security of the network. It was due to several security issues related to home networks that prompted Comcast® to come up with this improved push notification feature. It seems that with the introduction of this new feature, Comcast® is actually striding forward to make its xFi™ system a dependable platform and to step up the competition with other internet providers.

02 Mar

CenturyLink® To Extend Its SDN Services By Introducing E-LAN

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Extending SDN Services

CenturyLink® has made several plans to extend and develop its SDN based architecture in the country for enhancing services, particularly in the cloud, for its business users. Several other remarkable developments carried out by the telco in its Ethernet services have made it the largest domestic Ethernet carrier in the country. As a part of these improvements, CenturyLink® also intends to debut an E-LAN service this year. These improvements will enable CenturyLink® to offer the best internet service in a fast and efficient manner for enterprise customers.

Chris McReynolds, Vice President of Core Product Management, CenturyLink®, said, “We’re upgrading our backbone in a bunch of key U.S. markets to 100G in 2018. We are taking products like our E-Access and E-Line and completed that Ethernet portfolio by investing in a new E-LAN capability that will be more SDN powered. We do have an E-LAN offer today, but now we’re making it part of a next-gen portfolio so to speak.”

CenturyLink® has become the largest provider of Ethernet services in the country after it has acquired Level 3 Communications. With this, the company actually surpassed AT&T® to become the largest domestic Ethernet provider in the country. It will actually be beneficial for CenturyLink® to serve a range of customers based both domestically and globally. It will also equip the telco to offer services to medium businesses and multinational companies based in different countries across the world.

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Regarding the new offering of E- LAN, CenturyLink® is planning to introduce it by the second half of this year. The E- LAN product will be adaptable for various kinds of use cases, and the telco is intending to release along its global footprint, such as in Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions. The telco also expects that their E-LAN offering will be successful in metro cities, which will enable it to serve both the small and medium enterprise markets.

CenturyLink® has also partnered with various other cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure and Oracle. McReynolds said, “We’ve continue to add cloud partners over the years such as Azure, Oracle and AWS. We do some connections to those cloud providers dynamically, but we’re going to double down on that investment so we can enable customers’ digital transformation as they move from their legacy data centers and move workloads into the cloud in a real-time fashion.”

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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Improving Customer Service

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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Performance Pro Plan

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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Video Streaming Services

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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High-Speeds Internet Access

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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Converged LAN Network

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.

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