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25 Jul

Comcast Communications® Launches New Xfinity® Outlet In Twin Cities Of Eagan

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New Xfinity® Outlet Launched

The best internet has arrived in the Twin Cities, as Comcast Communications®, which is one of the best internet providers in America, announces its 8th Xfinity® outlet in the region. The new broadband outlet has been designed as a showroom that provides customers a chance to discover the services of Xfinity® broadband among other services of Comcast Communications®. Xfinity® Internet subscribers can walk into the outlet located near the Central Park Commons area to pay their broadband bills pending.

Reliable sources indicate that the new outlet has brought the total number of Xfinity® outlets in Twin Cities to up to eight. The intention of Comcast® is to give subscribers the easiest access to reach the outlet, as many of the commoners make a buzz in and around the Central Parks Commons area. Subscribers can now go to the recent outlet of Comcast® to pay Xfinity® bills by self, using the Telco giant’s kiosk or directly.

In a statement J. D. Keller, regional VP for Comcast® Twin Cities, quoted – “We’re excited to be opening our newest Xfinity® Store in Eagan. These state-of-the-art stores are all about providing the best possible service to our customers, as well as giving all consumers a chance to explore our Xfinity® products and services firsthand and check out our latest technology in an interactive environment.”

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Xfinity® Internet Subscribers

“Comcast is an important part of the Eagan community and we congratulate them on this new store,” said Vicki Stute, President of Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The Central Park Commons area is a great location and we welcome the employees who will be serving Dakota County customers from this new Xfinity® store.”

The Xfinity® outlet stays operative from Monday to Saturday from 09:00 in the morning and until 07:00 pm and on Sundays from 11:00 am to 05:00 pm. The outlet showroom ranges up to 5,000 square feet and has company official service staffs to serve subscribers of Xfinity® broadband, both new and existing. In addition to Comcast Communication’s best internet broadband service and fully interactive touchscreen displays, the Xfinity® outlet in Eagan also has the X1 platform of Xfinity® that anyone in Twin Cities can try out.

24 Jul

AT&T® Plans To Acquire The Balance Of Otter Media

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AT&T® Joint Venture Plans

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® is currently in talks with Peter Chernin to acquire the remaining part of Otter Media, the three-year-old joint venture between the two parties. Reports indicate that the latest move from AT&T® is a part of their wider effort to clean up a number of their joint ventures before they acquire Time Warner®.

Some of the joint ventures of the telecom giant, AT&T® include stakes in the NHL Network, the MLB Network, and the Game Show Network, but a few of AT&T’s joint ventures belong to their DirecTV® unit. Reports from several reliable sources claim that AT&T® might be buying out the stake of Chernin Group, but Peter Chernin will remain close to the telecom company.

It was earlier reported that Chernin has been discussing a closer relation with the telecom company and he might be even joining AT&T® in a corporate role. However, a spokeswoman who represented categorically denied such claims. “AT&T® is not pursuing Peter Chernin for a role, and there are zero discussions about such a relationship,” she said in a press release.

Reports also claim that the joint venture between the two parties, Otter Media, which has invested in a wide range of over-the-top ventures, might be approximately $1 billion worth. Otter Media owns a piece of Asian video hub Crunchyroll and how-to site Creativebu. Additionally, they also have a majority stake in the online media company named Fullscreen.

Some of the most recent project of Otter Media is a venture with Van Toffler, who is a former Viacom music executive for creating Gunpowder & Sky. Otter Media had also announced a joint venture with Reese Witherspoon, known as Hello Sunshine. The Hollywood actor had stated that the new venture would primarily focus on female driven projects.

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Time Warner® Accusation

In addition to that, Chernin Group is also the owner of Chernin Entertainment that houses a film and TV production unit. Chernin Entertainment, which is partially owned by Providence Equity, also backs a number of digital ventures such as Barstool Sports. However, reports indicate that AT&T® is not currently eyeing the production house.

Although one of the best internet service providers in the country, AT&T® is in the midst of acquiring Time Warner® to strengthen its grip in the video arena. However, they have been encountering strong opposition from a number of Senators and customers. Justice department officials are checking the contacts for the proposed merger at the moment.

19 Jul

DirecTV Now® Users Experience Streaming Issues During The Season Premiere Of “Game Of Thrones”

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Live Streaming Issues

DirecTV Now®, the online streaming service from one of the best internet providers in the United States, AT&T®, has become immensely popular among customers in a short span of time. The exciting packages offered by DirecTV Now® have attracted several cord cutters to the service over the last few months. However, reports indicate that AT&T’s streaming service encountered a few streaming issues during the seventh season premiere of “Game of Thrones”.

Several DirecTV Now® users expressed their frustration through social media platforms, as they experienced a number of live streaming issues when they tried to watch the season premiere of the show. Fans have been waiting for almost a year for the latest episode of the fan favorite TV series, “Game of Thrones” and they wanted to watch the episode without any disruptions or delays. However, DirecTV Now® failed to stand up to the expectations.

Officials say that even the website temporarily went down during the premiere of “Game of Thrones”, so some would argue that there is no point in blaming DirecTV Now® alone. Nonetheless, reports indicate that more than hundreds of DirecTV Now® users were not able to watch the episode due to continuous interruptions. Interestingly, a representative from the telecom giant, AT&T® stated that the streaming service did not encounter any technical issues during the season premiere of the TV show but he refused to share any details on what caused the trouble.

Despite the streaming issues during the season premiere, DirecTV Now® users are hopeful that AT&T® will fix the issues before the second episode of the show airs. The second episode from this season of “Game of Thrones” will air on Sunday, which means that AT&T® will have to fix the streaming issues within a week.

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Top Rated TV Series

The VP of marketing at database load balancing software vendor ScaleArc™, Michelle McLean said, “Scaling a database is hard, and not quick. This is complicated engineering, and it often has to get paired with adjustments to the application code hitting that database. These kinds of meltdowns are common during surge events like ESPN suffered with the launch of Fantasy Football or when Macy’s suffered last Black Friday.”

McLean added, “You can prep for those events, and you can be sure that HBO prepped. But sometimes, despite all the testing, traffic levels exceed your preparation. As previous website crashes have shown, the weak spot in the technology stack was likely the database. The physics around having an application talk to multiple instances of a database remains a challenge. HBO will likely be scrambling to build more elasticity into the data tier to avoid this kind of catastrophic outage in the future.”

18 Jul

DirecTV Now® Is Now Equipped With A Cloud DVR

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4K HDR support

DirecTV Now®, the latest streaming service from one of the leading internet providers in the United States, AT&T® will be finally introducing a number of exciting features including a cloud DVR. The officials from AT&T® added that the addition is actually a part of a bigger platform upgrade for the TV applications of AT&T®, which includes the app for current DirecTV® pay TV customers and the streaming service itself.

The newly added cloud DVR is one of the most anticipated addition and DirecTV Now® customers have been eagerly waiting for the addition since the launch of the streaming service. Most of the competitor online streaming services of DirecTV Now® such as Hulu Live TV, PlayStation VU, and YouTube TV already have a cloud DVR option that allows users to save movies and TV shows for later viewing.

The streaming service from AT&T® was however introduced without this key feature, but the officials promised that the cloud DVR feature will be arriving to DirecTV Now® sometime “next year”. Even though it has taken AT&T® quite a time to bring this key feature into their streaming service, the telecom company is hopeful that the introduction of the cloud DVR will lure in more cord cutters to DirecTV Now®.

DirecTV Now®, which was unveiled by the end of 2016 initially, offered a variety of plans to their customers. The basic package offered by the streaming service that allowed customers access to more than 60 popular channels was priced at just $35 a month. Currently, the service offers a wide selection of live channels in HD and 4K quality. In addition to that, DirecTV Now® users can also access 30,000 on-demand contents.

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Introducing Cloud DVR Feature

A short while after the launch of the streaming service, customers from several parts of their country expressed their frustration, as the new service often encountered technical glitches. AT&T® quickly responded to the issue and assured users that technical issues are quite common during the launches of streaming services. Consequently, AT&T® fixed all the errors in a short span of time and DirecTV Now® added over 200,000 subscribers in the first month itself.

Reports indicate that other additions like live TV pausing, parental control, 4K HDR support, and a “download and go” feature will soon arrive to DirecTV®. If you have access to the best internet service, make the most of it by subscribing to DirecTV Now®.

17 Jul

CenturyLink® Expands Broadband Service In Rural Colorado Communities

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High-Speed Internet Service

CenturyLink® has declared that it has extended its high-speed internet service to numerous rural households and businesses in rural Colorado communities. The telecom provider has extended its best internet services as a part of the government supported initiative in enhancing broadband connectivity among the regions. Under this new expansion initiative, about 28,000 houses and businesses are now offered with internet connectivity with speeds ranging from 10 to 80 megabits per second. This is available across cities such as West Cortez, Durango, and Pagosa Springs.

According to CenturyLink®, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has marked approximately 14,000 of the houses and businesses based in these areas as high cost. Moreover, this initiative is also qualified under the Connect America Fund of the FCC.

Previously, the company had announced that as a part of the Connect America Fund, it had annually accepted about $26.5 million for a period of six years. Due to this, CenturyLink® is entitled to provide broadband internet to about 50,000 households and businesses in rural areas with speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads.

As a part of this program, CenturyLink® has carried out numerous upgrades to about 150 of its networking infrastructure located in the rural areas for expanding the broadband service. Brandon Yergey, spokesperson for CenturyLink® said, “Through the construction of new fiber cable and upgrading additional existing facilities to rural wire centers across the state, more than 13,000 additional customer locations benefited from improved speeds, some reaching 80 Mbps. Speeds vary based on distance limitations.”

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Upgrading Additional Existing Facilities

Numerous households and businesses operating in these rural areas will immensely benefit from this broadband upgrade. Colorado is the only state for which CenturyLink® received public funding for extending the broadband to rural areas. Anthony Neal-Graves, executive director of the Colorado Broadband Office said, “Improving broadband access in rural areas is a critical goal in Colorado. We need to ensure that federal funds that have made this investment possible, along with private investment, make the biggest impact in our state.”

According to Guy Gunther, the vice president of operations for CenturyLink® in Colorado, the company is dedicated to improving internet connectivity to the people like other internet providers. He stated, “Our promise is to continue our investment in our Colorado network, providing fast and affordable high-speed internet to customers across the state and helping to close the urban-rural divide.”

14 Jul

AT&T® Under Heavy Fire For Supporting Internet Protests

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Supporting Internet Protests

AT&T® might not be the first Telco to find itself on the wrong side of the internet outrage. AT&T® had been an opponent of the government’s 2015 net neutrality rules for long and had once sued FCC in a failed bid to make them throw away the tougher rules. However, this has not stopped them from supporting Wednesday’s Day of Action, which is a day of online protest organized by the non-profit group named Fight for the Future.

The protest day was organized to speak out in favor of all the existing government regulations that are supporting and protecting an Open Internet policy. However, unlike the other service providers like Google®, Amazon®, Netflix®, and Facebook®, who have also support the fight, AT&T® might benefit from the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to revert the net neutrality rules and guidelines that were put forward by Tom Wheeler under the Obama Administration.

This might be the reason why it seemed so odd to the activists when they saw AT&T® coming out to push back against the rules, which is expected to allow the different cheap internet service providers to throttle the traffic to some of the websites.

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Net Neutrality Rules And Guidelines

“AT&T® are lying when they say they support net neutrality, while actively opposing it,” Fight for the Future Campaign Director, Evan Greer said. “If they want to support the Title II protections that we have now, which prevent them from shaking down Web sites for extra fees as part of ‘paid prioritization’ schemes, we’d be glad to have them as part of this protest. Until then, they’re just making noise to continue their campaign of misinformation.”

“This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T® is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free Internet,” AT&T® lobbyist, Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post. “But that’s exactly the point—we all agree that an open Internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world.”

It is reported that AT&T® supports the basic rules that prevent the throttling of websites, even though the post from Quinn does not say that they would support banning the paid prioritization plan that will allow best internet providers like AT&T® charge websites or businesses for faster access.

04 Jul

Comcast® And AMC Begin Ad-Free On-Demand Service On Xfinity® TV

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On-Demand Service

Comcast®, one of the best internet providers in the country, has teamed up with AMC in bringing up a renewed viewing experience for the Xfinity® TV customers. This new upgrading option known as AMC Premiere is an ad-free on-demand service specially made for the AMC commercials such as “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul.” This new platform will be made available to Xfinity® platforms in the coming weeks and costs about $4.99 per month besides the regular monthly fee. Comcast’s collaboration with AMC will provide the Xfinity® TV viewers with an uninterrupted viewing experience.

According to Lisa Scalzo, spokesperson for Comcast®, AMC is the first cable television network that provides the on-demand services to the customers. Along with AMC, Comcast® is also considering partnering with other cable and internet providers for launching such ad-free viewing experience to its nationwide Xfinity® TV customers. For $4.99 per month, the Xfinity® subscribers are provided access to the original programming and an array of movies and television shows produced by AMC. Besides, it will also make available other content such as first look trailers, interviews as well as uncut bonus scenes.

Charlie Collier, president of AMC, Sundance TV, and AMC Studios, said, “With AMC’s engagement at all-time high, developing more options for viewers to connect with our content is a priority. Tens of millions of existing viewers watch our shows through the cable ecosystem, so partnering with Comcast® gives us a great opportunity to launch this new idea at scale. We’re excited to make AMC Premiere an available option for Xfinity® TV customers, as we continue to build deeper relationships with fan communities across all of our programming and platforms.”

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Uninterrupted Viewing Experience

Xfinity® TV subscribers can access the AMC Premiere facility via Xfinity® set-top boxes, Xfinity® Stream websites and smartphone app. The increasing concern among customers about the rise in advertisements is the main reason why Comcast® decided to implement this new option along with AMC. Charlie Collier has further stated that the AMC Premiere is different from HBO Now as it is not a separate service.

The new service is an upgrade for the existing Xfinity® TV subscribers. By implementing this new option with AMC, Comcast® has initiated a major shift in the cable networks. Soon more and more providers will consider this option of providing ad-free service to the customers for additional charges.

28 Jun

AT&T® Expands Fixed Wireless Internet To 8 More States

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Fixed Wireless Internet

One of the best internet providers of the country, AT&T® recently announced the expansion of fixed wireless services offered by them to underserved and rural areas in eight new states. Initially, the service was launched by AT&T® in Georgia and the service has now reached 70,000 plus locations mainly in the underserved areas in these 9 states.

The investment of AT&T® to connect rural locations of the country with fixed wireless internet service is made as part of the FCC Connect America Fund. The plan of AT&T® is to serve more than forty thousand locations by the end of 2017 and more than 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020. The new states to which the service has been expanded include Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

“We’re committed to connect hard-to reach locations to the internet. This changes lives and creates economic growth for these areas,” said Cheryl Choy, who is the vice president for wired voice and internet products, AT&T®. Reports say that AT&T® is planning to expand their fixed wireless services to eighteen more states this year. Additionally, the service will reach states like California, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the days to come.

The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® offers download speeds of minimum 10 Mbps to the subscribers and includes a data bucket of 160 GB per month. For additional, data, the users will need to pay ten dollars per fifty GB of data up to a maximum range of two hundred dollars per month. The fixed wireless connection comes from a tower to fixed antennas at the customer location. The users will need to install outdoor antenna and indoor Residential Gateway provided by AT&T® to get access to the high-speed internet service in rural areas.

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Wireless Home Phone

The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® is available in some of the select regions of the country typically the rural areas, whereas Wireless Home Phone and Internet service is available throughout the wireless footprint of the service provider. The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® offers download speed of 10 Mbps, whereas the Wireless Home Phone and Internet service offers 5 to 12 Mbps speeds.

AT&T® relies on LTE signal from cell phone towers for the working of the Fixes Wireless Internet service. Executives from AT&T® said that terrain, network capacity, foliage, and weather could affect the quality of service. The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® is available for installation in just ten business days after the order has been placed.

27 Jun

Blue Wahoos Fans Await To Watch All Star Game In Full Motion At Cox® Clubhouse

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All Star Game In Full Motion

Give it up for Cox Communications®; the best internet provider in America has teamed up with baseball team Pensacola Blue Wahoos to give the fans a chance to access wireless internet at the Blue Wahoos Stadium. Cox® has already relayed Wi-Fi access points in the stadium much like they have done in the Las Vegas network.

Reliable sources say that facilities are put in place with a jam-packed stadium in mind; the company perhaps feels that that is the best way forward to measure speed and communicate value. In fact, multiple Wi-Fi antennas and 500 Mbps speed will let fans access the best internet just as they watch their favorite team playing baseball inside the arena.

“The Blue Wahoos are very proud to partner with Cox to enhance Blue Wahoos Stadium and our fan experience,” said current President Jonathan Griffith. “With the addition of the Wi-Fi, our guests will be able to share the Wahoos Life with family and friends during the game.”

The stadium host minor baseball matches and two-time minor league titleholders team Blue Wahoos feature in the Southern League Baseball. It would seem to Wahoo fans that the prospect of watching high-octane sport with a native audience, and accessing Wi-Fi simultaneously is a matter of choice. Maybe that explains as to why Cox® has placed a clubhouse near the stadium’s press box.

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Access Wireless Internet

At the Cox® Clubhouse locker room, team fans could come and take snaps that make outsiders feel a fan is wearing a real jersey of Blue Wahoos not a virtual one. Wi-Fi enabled virtual room also has traditional games such as ‘corn hole’ alongside other fun activities in the clubhouse.

“We are very excited about the Cox® Clubhouse,” Griffith reiterates. “It’s going to be a great addition and we can’t wait to see our fans testing out the new activities we have in store for them.”

“Our expanded relationship with the Blue Wahoos means wonderful new enhancements for the fans,” Cox® gulf coast market VP David Deliman said. It is to be noted that Cox Communications® and Pensacola Blue Wahoos have been striving to make the Cox® Clubhouse and the stadium Wi-Fi ready to entertain fans that turn up in large numbers to watch the minor All-Star game soon.

27 Jun

Senators Claim AT&T-Time Warner Merger Will Result In High Price And Low Selection

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AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Recently, a few Senators sent a letter to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions that highlighted their objection to the proposed acquisition of Time Warner® by AT&T®. The group of Senators urged the Attorney General to reject the merger if it harms the users. In the letter, 10 Democrats and an independent Senator asked the Department of Justice to closely look at the ways by which the $108.7 billion deal would increase charges for the customers and lower their access to entertainment, news content, and best internet services.

“We have strong concerns that the combined company’s unmatched control of popular content and the distribution of that content will lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services for Americans — substantial harms that cannot be remedied with unreliable, unenforceable, and time-limited behavioral conditions,” they wrote.

Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) signed the letter.

AT&T® announced their plans to buy Time Warner® in October last year. If approved, the deal between AT&T® and Time Warner® would connect one of the top entertainment providers with the largest pay TV and fastest internet provider of the country. Time Warner® owns many entertainment brands like Warner Bros®, HBO®, TNT®, TBS® and CNN®.

The merger is pending regulatory approval and the Justice Department has the power to block the deal, approve it, or approve with conditions. AT&T® came forward with the deal so they do not have to get the broadcast licenses and will not be subject to the FCC review. However, it is not clear when the DOJ will provide their review. CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson had said in April that the deal would go through by the end of the year.

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High Price And Low Selection

During the election campaign of President Donald Trump, he assured to block the deal and described it as “an example of the power structure I’m fighting.” However, since he took the Oval Office, the President was able to see only merger-friendly advisers. The President’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General for antitrust in the Justice Department is Makan Delrahim and he seems to favor the hand off regulatory.

The Senators said in the letter that AT&T® has not said how the merger would be beneficial for the subscribers. Instead, they said that their merger would limit competition and offer them reasons to limit content access or offer priority to their content over that of the others.

Stephenson had called the deal “pro-competitive and pro-consumer” at a Senate hearing in December. He added that AT&T® would “not withhold content to disadvantage someone else.”


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