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30 Aug

AT&T® To Shutdown Two Of Its Legacy Ethernet Services

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Legacy Ethernet Services

The growth and increased usage of its latest dedicated service lines have promoted AT&T® to consider shutting down three of its legacy Ethernet services. The Telco has already requested for shutting down its Ethernet services citing lack of interest among the subscribers and the prevalence of newer forms of service lines. Like several other internet providers, AT&T® has also made several requests to abandon or shut down many of its other services considered obsolete in the current scenario.

The legacy Ethernet services of AT&T® are now largely abandoned by the customers in favor of the latest AT&T® Dedicated Ethernet (ADE) and the on-demand Ethernet services using Software Defined Networking (SDN) platforms. AT&T® will mainly focus on shutting down two of its major Ethernet services such as the GigaMAN and DecaMAN.

GigaMAN is a point-to-point, Gigabit Ethernet service offered by the Telco that allowed data rates of about 1 Gbps. Through this Ethernet service, customers can transfer data between the local area networks. DecaMAN is fiber based and is a 10 Gigabit Ethernet service that also facilitated the transfer of data signals between local area networks.

AT&T® has decided to terminate the two services across eleven states of the country such as California, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, and Arkansas. The services will be discontinued from September 30, 2017 onward and customers will no longer be able to access these services again. This is in accordance with the FCC’s decision to authorize the discontinuance request made by AT&T®.

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AT&T® Dedicated Ethernet

Customers can no longer make any orders for additions or changes to the service, renew, and extend the service plans. AT&T® will provide these services only on a month-to-month basis until the services are fully discontinued.

AT&T® has decided to completely shut down these key Ethernet services from September 30, 2022 onwards. According to AT&T® officials, “The public convenience and necessity will not be impaired by the discontinuance of these services because there is low demand for these services as there are alternative high-speed transport services available in the market, such as AT&T® Dedicated Ethernet services.”

AT&T® has made several improvements such as replacing the existing GigaMAN and DecaMAN Ethernet services with ADE service. It uses a new set of protocols in the network that are ready to be used across any of the fiber network infrastructures. ADE also provides data speeds between 1 Gbps to 100 Gbps to the customers and offers the best internet experience in many parts of the United States.

25 Aug

Customers Already Love The New Cox® Contour

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Latest Cox® Contour

You can’t simply deny the fact that electronic entertainment has significantly evolved over the years. Viewers who were once restricted to boxy black-and-white TVs with antennas and just a handful of channels have now gained access to an abundant number of channels. In addition to that, they are also able to watch anything they want at anytime with the help of a voice control.

The latest Cox® Contour from one of the leading internet providers in the country, Cox Communications® is aimed to improve the viewing experience of their customers. Reports indicate that Cox’s new Contour is a fast, fun, and simple way that enables customers to search and access their entertainment choices on the go or at home on any device of their choice.

Cox Communications® has been offering reliable and efficient internet, digital telephone, and TV services to both business and residential customers for a very long time. They have also put in extra efforts to boost the viewing experience of their viewers and the new Contour is actually a part of their efforts.

The officials from the telecom company believe that the highly intuitive second generation Contour is easily adaptable to the personal needs of customers. They also claim that it facilitates effortless and quick access to movies and shows for up to five separate users in a house.

In addition to that, the new Contour app also lets customers to transform their computer, smartphone, or tablet into a personal TV screen to watch on-demand content or stream live TV when they are connected to the in-home Cox® Wi-Fi network.

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In-Home Cox® Wi-Fi Network

The marketing vice president for Cox Communications®, Suzanne Schlundt said, “Controlling your TV has never been easier, faster, or more convenient. Just say it and see it.” She added, “Voice Remote continues to be the feature that ‘wows’ new Contour customers. Most new customers say that Voice Remote exceeds their expectations. It makes the new Contour easy to use and easy to search.”

Ricardo Cuevas, a customer who uses the smart search function of Cox® Contour said, “Being able to search for my favorite teams and having all upcoming games show up is such a great feature. I like that I don’t have to be searching through hundreds of channels to watch soccer games.”

25 Aug

Comcast® Introduces New Sports Guide In Its X1 Platform

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New Sports Guide

Comcast® has made a completely new set of improvements to its Xfinity® X1 platform with several improvements to its sports guide. This latest upgrades in the platform come ahead of the NFL regular season games that will start soon.

The new sports guide will offer a renewed experience to the X1 set top boxes and the Xfinity® Stream app focused on mobile devices as well as web browsers. Along with its best internet packages, the introduction of these new upgrades will provide Comcast® subscribers the ability to view content based on the game, sports league, and score.

The newly presented sports guide has several improvements to its design such the introduction of landing pages focused on every prominent sport and leagues that include the NFL, baseball, soccer, tennis, cricket, etc. Comcast® has also brought a new voice feature that allows the users to access the guide by speaking specific commands into the X1 remote. Moreover, the inclusion of real-time score cards on the landing page of each sport will be much useful for sports enthusiasts to stay updated on their favorite game.

Comcast® has further announced numerous future improvements into the XI platform. The Telco has already started working on these new proposed upgrades that will offer the customers the ability to customize the type of sports, teams, and athletes, that are displayed on their guide menu. These increased customizations will further advance the X1 platforms to enable it to cater to the true demands of the users and in offering them personalized content.

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Xfinity® Stream App

Besides the X1 set-top boxes, Comcast® has also extended the new upgrades to its Xfinity® Stream app. The updated features in this app are sorted based on the league and the currently playing games. Moreover, it will also enable the users to get useful updates about all the upcoming game schedules and events much easier. The Stream app has also included a new outlook much similar to the renewed sports guide presented on the X1 set top boxes.

X1 is one of the most successful TV streaming services offered by Comcast® and has seen about 55 percent surge in the subscriber base in recent times. It is to be noted that Comcast® has also made several other additions to its services such as the introduction YouTube® app on the X1 platform and parental controls into its XFi system. All these services are bound to make Comcast® the best internet provider in the US.

24 Aug

AT&T® Looking To Trial 5G Internet In Dallas

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Trialing 5G Internet

One of the best internet providers, AT&T®, has applied to Special Temporary Authority (STA) for sanctions for trialing 5G internet in Dallas for 6 months duration. As per the application filed with STA, the Telco giant will use equipment from multiple vendors.

The 5G trial of AT&T® will include wireless communications between fixed base stations placed in a room or open spaces inside a building in Dallas. The building residing at 208 S. Akard Street has windows and concrete walls, which may hinder wireless spectrum. However, an AT&T® representative reaffirm the 5G wireless link will be established in between the base station, alongside the mobile end user equipment residing in the same room or an open space, and will cover around 10 meters.

The end user equipment will route Wi-Fi to various gadgets through wireless access points. The end user equipment will connect users to 5G internet and Ethernet cables will also be deployed for the trial. The base station will have connectivity to an internet service provider providing accesses to 14 Gbps internet. It is reported that the 5G trial would make use of several apps and web servers as well.

“The demonstrations using this STA will provide valuable information to potential users whose feedback on the perceived performance of services provided through these 5G systems will also enable future standards and system optimizations,” AT&T® said.

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3rd Generation Partnership Project

The 5G Evolution was announced by AT&T® in April. The Telco giant is contributing toward 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s wireless standards and more than 12 Technology companies are helping AT&T® in the successful deployment of 5G.

Dallas’ trial is being billed as AT&T® and their foray to the Fifth Generation (5G) internet operating in the 28 GHz 5G spectrum bandwidth. The proposed duration of the AT&T® 5G spectrum trial will begin on September 1 and will prolong until March 1, 2018, indicate the application filed with STA.

“These trials are significant because they will be our first trials to use what we expect to be based upon the 5G New Radio specification being developed by the industry technology standards group 3GPP. Industry standards are important to enabling wide-scale 5G commercialization,” AT&T® had indicated back in April while emphasizing the “5G Evolution internet speeds” would be unveiled in 20 metro areas by the year-end.

22 Aug

HughesNet® Enhances Its Satellite Internet Data Caps With New Service Plans

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Satellite Internet Data Caps

HughesNet®, one of America’s major satellite internet providers, has enhanced its existing data caps with the introduction of newer service plans. This new extension of data caps will bring satellite internet connectivity to millions of customers located in rural parts of the country.

Reports say that for this purpose, the Telco has been extensively relying on the newly launched EchoStar XIX satellite that will increase its capacity twofold. This increased capacity allotment will allow HughesNet® to provide the customers with better and improved service plans. With the increase of data caps, the maximum download speed offered will extend to 25 Mbps.

The data caps will also convert into soft caps that allow 3 Mbps speed, which is appropriate for streaming. HughesNet® has commenced this data cap extension initiative as a competitive measure against Exede®, which is another best internet service provider in the US. They too offer speeds of about 25 Mbps but their services are available only in areas where there is little congestion.

The latest data plans offered by HughesNet® has price ranges of $49.99 for 10 GB, $69.99 for 20 GB, $99.99 for 30 GB and $129.99 for 50 GB of data. A temporary tier boost will be offered for the subscribers for a period of three months that allow them to get 20 GB of data for about $49.99.

According to Mike Cook, executive vice president of HughesNet®, “Once you’ve used your allowance you’ll be able to carry on doing everything including streaming, at lower data rates. We have more data for the same price points, with no hard data caps.”

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Satellite Internet Connectivity

The prices are much higher than that of other internet connectivity options, but HughesNet® makes available these services to the rural areas. Satellite internet, although an expensive option, is the only alternative at places where other modes of internet connectivity are unavailable. Satellite internet will have significance in remote areas even with the launch of latest networking technologies such as 5G.

Cook said, “Our primary constituency, it’s going to be a long time, if ever before we see much 5G buildout into those markets. And in another four or five years’ time, we’ll have the next generation of satellite technology.”

The performance of HughesNet® networks has been rapidly improving with the use of pre-fetching and compression that has significantly aided in reducing the latency times on its network. Moreover, HughesNet’s new offering of 25 Mbps internet service puts it ahead of the competition than other satellite providers such as Exede®.

21 Aug

Comcast® Extends Its Internet Essentials Program To Residents Of Santa Clara County

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Internet Essentials Program

Comcast® has announced that it will expand its affordable high-speed internet program, Internet Essentials, to residents of Santa Clara County. The Telco has declared this new initiative as a part of its commitment to eradicate the digital divide prevailing among low-income sections of the society. The introduction of the Internet Essentials program will enable residents of Santa Clara County access to the internet and its numerous services. The expansion of the program will be of particular benefit to the low-income citizens living in Santa Clara County who are unable to afford a computer and internet access.

Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, recently highlighted the issue of digital divide in a press conference. He stated, “We face a serious divide in our valley and that follows a simple formula: those who have it and those who do not. The divide has grown as the valley has grown more prosperous.”

Comcast’s Internet Essentials program will enable the residents to have access to high- speed internet for a sum of just $9.95 per month. Included along with this is a choice for the users to purchase a computer that amounts to less than $150. Comcast® also intends to take forward a new initiative of providing digital literacy training via online or in person along with its rollout of the Internet Essentials program.

The Internet Essentials program has been a massive success across the country with more than four million people already signing into to this service since it was unveiled five years back. The Telco has also brought forward an expansion of the program for bringing its best internet to more people nationwide.

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Stream High Definition Content

The program schemes have also got major upgrades as Comcast® further included families and individuals residing on public housing or beneficiaries of Section 8 vouchers. Comcast® is also considering expanding the program to more regions of the country along with Santa Clara County. Considering this, the Telco has made several improvements to the internet speeds offered in the Internet Essentials program. The new speeds will allow data transfer rates of about 15 Mbps that will enable users to stream high definition content with ease.

The upload speed is also increased to 2 Mbps. Several of the local organizations operating in Santa Clara County have collaborated with Comcast® to promote the Internet Essentials program among senior and public housing residents. Moreover, the Telco has also announced that it has donated more than hundred computers and Internet Essentials coupons to these local organizations.

17 Aug

Kansas Opts For AT&T’s FirstNet Broadband Network

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AT&T’s FirstNet Broadband Network

Medical, police, fire, and all other first responders in the state of Kansas will shortly gain access to dedicated wireless services for emergencies under the state’s FirstNet deal with one of the best internet providers in the country, AT&T®. Kansas has just become the thirteenth state in the country that has opted for AT&T’s FirstNet dedicated wireless broadband network.

Gov. Sam Brownback recently confirmed the fact to the public by announcing that the state has accepted the proposal from the telecom giant, AT&T®. As per the plan with Kansas State, the telecom company will build, maintain, and operate an efficient broadband network through a public private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority without any charges.

The officials from the telecom company stated that first responders would be easily able to gain access to the broadband network by simply signing up as paying customers. At the present, most of the first responders usually subscribe to Verizon®, AT&T®, or any other wireless internet providers, and communicate via tablets, phones, and other devices on the exact same network as other subscribers.

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Dedicated Wireless Broadband Network

Traffic from the first responders will continue to travel along with the traffic of other wireless customers in FirstNet network too. However, the good news is that the first responders will be having a preemptive claim on network capacity with FirstNet network, which means that other customers may also be temporarily knocked out from the service if needed. Earlier, the telecom giant called the feature as “ruthless preemption”.

Dick Heitschmidt, chief of police and chairman of the Kansas 9-1-1 Coordinating Council and Hutchinson, recently said, “There’s a whole host of things that are going to happen once this system gets built out.” FirstNet emerged as a reliable and efficient solution to communication issues during major emergencies such as tornadoes, Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and other events. First responders experienced severe communication problems during such horrible events before the service was introduced.

Reports indicate that Virgin Islands has also opted for the proposed broadband network. On the other hand, Missouri has not yet announced their plans for a FirstNet network, although reports say that it may happen very soon. States can either develop their own FirstNet network or team up with the best internet service provider, AT&T®, for the same.

16 Aug

CenturyLink® Enters Into Agreement With King & Union To Resell Its Security Collaboration Platform

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Agreement With King & Union

CenturyLink® has entered into an agreement with King & Union, a security company that will authorize it to become a reseller for its security analysis collaboration platform. This will enable the Telco to sell the numerous security collaboration platform and services offered by the company to its commercial and government customers.

The Avalon platform of King & Union will enable the users to cultivate more awareness and provide general information about the cyber security threats through graphing and visualization. With this platform, the users are allowed collaborate on the threats and intelligence via automated threat improvement services.

Erich Sanchack, CenturyLink’s senior vice president and general manager for federal solutions said, “CenturyLink®  is excited to be King & Union’s first reseller and go-to-market partner for its cyber analysis collaboration platform. We’re committed to the nation’s cybersecurity mission and to providing customers with industry-leading cyber security measures and analysis that improve an organization’s cyber risk posture. Avalon complements CenturyLink’s managed security services offerings, including CenturyLink’s Enhanced Cybersecurity Services offering authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

The Avalon platform will also act as a collaboration platform by creating an interactive community of analysts specializing in cyber security. This encourages more collaboration among the users and peers for various aspects of cyber investigation and its related findings. Moreover, this platform will also provide an excellent way for users to work together without sharing any of the sensitive and classified information.

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Managed Security Services Offerings

This is an excellent advantage to information sharing and analysis among the members of the community. CenturyLink®, being one of the best in class internet providers, will provide the government and commercial client with the necessary security measures in their operations through this deal. Besides its best internet service, CenturyLink® also offers other services such cloud, managed hosting and IT via its reliable network, which will be immensely useful for King & Union.

The Managed Security Services suite offered by CenturyLink® is available as a standalone service or an add-on service for existing customers. This will be of particular benefit to government agencies and commercial customers in improving their network security and response against any cyber attacks. Joan Cassidy, King & Union President said, “King & Union is thrilled to be working with CenturyLink®, an established leader in public-private cyber information sharing efforts and an innovative provider of security services.”

10 Aug

Comcast® Testing New ‘Manage Channels’ Feature On Its X1 Platform

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New ‘Manage Channels’ Feature

Comcast® is carrying out numerous trials and testing on its Xfinity® X1 platform for enhancing the services. The latest testing carried on the X1 platform includes collecting, surfacing, and presenting every of the premium channels available along with the increasing mix of subscription VOD services to the regular pay TV package of the customer.

Comcast® has named this feature as ‘Manage Channels’ and is currently being tested with a limited set of subscribers of the X1 platform. Through this testing, the Telco, which is also one of the fastest internet providers in the US, intends to create more awareness among the subscribers related to these services.

The currently testing of the Manage Channels feature offers the customers with more control over the content offered to them by letting them access and manage it more effectively. The success of this new feature is imminent as about the X1 subscriber base amounts to about 55 percent of the total residential video customer base of Comcast®.

Comcast® has been making several rounds of upgrades into its X1 platform. These upgrades include several additions of new features into the existing system. The inclusion of that has considerably enhanced the services of the X1 platform and provided the customers with more facilities in the accessing and viewing of broadcasted content. The new Manage Channels option is accessible to the set of subscribers through the X1 Apps section.

This feature offers the subscribers with numerous choices such as Premium Channels, Subscription On Demand Channels, Sports Entertainment Packages and International Packages. The customers are also provided with the ability to include various services through the interface and verify the ones that they have already subscribed. The testing of the new Manage Channels feature by Comcast® is to firmly establish the SVOD services.

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Residential Video Customers

This will enable them to increase their revenues generated from the X1 platform and in setting up themselves as an aggregator for these services. Previously, Comcast® chairman and CEO, Brian Roberts stated that, “X1 has been a game changer for us…We’re an aggregator of aggregators.” The new aggregation also shows that the subscription VOD services are a growing mix and are available to the customers.

The mix of subscriber VOD services is offered along with the premium services offered by Comcast® such as Showtime, HBO, and Starz. Comcast® has also made it clear that OTT video options will also be made available on the X1 platform soon. At present, the provider has included Netflix into its platform and plans to further integrate YouTube and Sling TV to Xfinity® X1.

08 Aug

AT&T® Appoint GroupM CEO Brian Lesser To Lead A New Advertising Unit

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Premium Video And TV Advertising

AT&T® has hired Brian Lesser, former CEO of GroupM North America, to head an advertisement and business analytics unit of the Telco giant. Lesser would leave the leading position of WPP media agencies and will report directly to Randall Stephenson, CEO and Chairman of AT&T®.

“Brian is a terrific executive and one of the best there is in harnessing technology and data to create targeted advertising,” Stephenson said in a recent statement. AT&T® provides the best internet service in the US, but the internet and cable subscribers should note that the appointment would apply to the media assets. However, AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner® is still pending, and is under review by the US Department of Justice and legislators.

It is unclear if the advertisement sales executives at Time Warner® and Turner cable networks would report to Brian Lesser when the AT&T® – Time Warner® merger goes through. However, Stephenson said, “Once we complete our acquisition of Time Warner® Inc., we believe there is an opportunity to build an automated advertising platform that can do for premium video and TV advertising what the search and social media companies have done for digital advertising.”

Both Time Warner’s Turner network, as well as Comcast’s NBCUniversal, has offered various products letting advertisers use the customer data and place TV commercials timely. Further, many of the TV outlets roll out programmatic advertising products, which allow for the buying of advertisement inventory via bids. Programmatic advertising is the algorithmic buying and sales of commercial space in real time and it uses software to automate the buying of commercial space.

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Advertising And Insights Business

“Advertising is evolving from broad messages delivered through traditional media channels, to customized, individual content coordinated across all connected devices,” Lesser said. “AT&T has amazing assets for creating engaging advertising experiences for consumers. I am excited to work with Randall and the entire AT&T team to build a world-class advertising and insights business.”

As per an AT&T® spokesperson, Brian Lesser would lead “an advertising and analytics business using the company’s unique customer data and growing content assets.” On the other hand, GroupM® is in search of a replacement for Brian Lesser, and Kelly Clark, global CEO of GroupM®, would hold the interim position in the absence of Lesser.


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