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20 Jul

AT&T® Decides To Keep Wireless And DirecTV Separate From Time Warner®

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Satellite Streaming Service

As AT&T® gets ready to acquire Time Warner®, reports say that the best internet provider would run wireless and cable service as two separate entities. The Telco giant announced the merger for $85.4 billion in October last year and if the merger sees through its current hurdles, AT&T® wireless and DirecTV® would be separate from the Time Warner’s media assets.

The US Justice Department would hopefully approve the merger soon, and the Telco giant would get a competitive edge in the wireless segment on approval. Reliable sources indicate the proposed merger would bring a flurry of targeted advertisements and new cheap internet plans from AT&T®.

It is reported that John Stankey, the current head of DirecTV® and entertainment divisions of AT&T® would lead the media wing. On the other hand, John Donovan, AT&T’s chief in charge of technology and global operations, would head the Telco giant’s wireless wing. Apart from that, once the merger gets the nod from the Justice department, AT&T® CEO Randall Stephenson would lead the merged company.

The sources reveal Fletcher Cook as the official speaking on behalf of the Telco giant, and that a revamped organization structure of the merged company is yet to be confirmed by the Chief Executive Officers of both AT&T® and Time Warner®.

Bob Quinn, a senior executive at AT&T® told reliable sources that the Telco giant expects the merger to be closed by year-end. “We are just working through the process,” Quinn said, whilst not omitting the fact that the deal requires the approval of United States Justice Department. “All indications are that end of the year is definitely in reach,” reassured the Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T®.

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AT&T® – Time Warner® Merger

Quinn had not commented on the White House intervention to the merger either, and rightfully so, it would seem to all those who are anonymous subscribers or well-wishers of the proposed merger. One may also remember the fact that the President-elect Donald Trump showed his disapproval towards the merger during campaigning days, but has not said anything about the same after taking charge at the Oval Office.

Yet again, the Senate Democrats Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Al Franken have told the US Justice Department officials to keep a watch on the proposed merger between AT&T® and Time Warner®.

18 Jul

Cox® Expands Internet Usage Data Caps While CenturyLink® Dumps Data Caps

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Expands Internet Data Caps

There is both good and bad news for all the home internet users of the nation. Cox Communications®, one of the best internet providers of the country has now started to charge overage fee to their users in four more states. On the other hand, another cheap internet provider, CenturyLink® has decided to end the tests with data caps. They are now offering bill credits to all those customers in Washington who were charged with overage fees in their trials.

Cox Communications® operates in eighteen states and have about six million business and residential users. Recently, they introduced their overage fees to Louisiana, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Nevada. Interestingly, they were already enforcing the overage fee and data caps in Connecticut, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, and Ohio.

Apart from that, Virginia, Rhode Island, and California have the monthly data caps, but these states do not have enforcement on the overage fees, as per the list of data cap locations shared by Cox Communications®. It seems that the states of North Carolina and Massachusetts are exempted from the data caps, at least for now.

Just like Comcast®, Cox® allows the capped subscribers to use 1 TB of data per month and charges an overage fee of ten dollars for every additional block of 50 GB. As per the reports, Cox® is planning to introduce an “unlimited” internet plan later.

If Cox® unlimited internet matches with that of Comcast®, the unlimited internet from Cox® would be costing an extra fifty dollars per month above the normal charges. Paying the fees for the unlimited internet will allow Cox® users to return to the condition before the implementation of the overage charges. They can pay a flat rate to have internet access, regardless of the quantity of data that they use. All the Cox® users who subscribe to the Gigabit fiber internet service offered by the Telco can use two terabytes of data before being charged for overuse.

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Dumps Data Caps

Generally, the data caps have headed in the wrong direction for the US customers and they seldom have a choice due to the lack of competition. However, the good news is that CenturyLink® has now understood that the extra income that they make from the overage fees is not worth when compared to the rise in the number of irate users.

Before a year, CenturyLink® decided to run a data cap trial in Yakima, WA and as per the trial, a data cap of 300 GB was imposed for a month. When the users exceed the data allowance of 300 GB, they will need to pay an overage fee of ten dollar for every 50 GB data block. However, instead of expanding the data caps and overage fee to more states and cities, they decided to end the “usage-based billing program.”

“Because this approach no longer aligns with our goal to simplify offers and pricing for our customers, we have decided to end this program, effective May 3, 2017,” CenturyLink® said in an announcement.

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.

11 Jul

AT&T® Customers In Illinois Will Continue To Receive POTS Services

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AT&T® POTS Services

In a recent statement, the officials from AT&T® indicated that they will continue their support for the traditional POTS voice lines in Illinois region regardless of the new state law. The telecom giant also added that several customers in Illinois heavily rely on POTS voice lines.

A few weeks ago, the Illinois Legislature made a voting that allowed the telecom company, AT&T® to disconnect their 1.2 million POTS voice customers statewide. Reports indicate that this happened when the lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto and accepted the telecom modernization bill. However, AT&T® will still need FCC’s acceptance if they want to alter the existing POTS network of the state.

In a statement, Paul La Schiazza, president of AT&T® Illinois, said, “It’s important for our Illinois customers to know that traditional landline phone service from AT&T® is not going away anytime soon.” In addition to that, the newly introduced Illinois law also contained a provision for increasing the 911 emergency service fees of all phone subscribers including wireless, landline, and online services.

La Schiazza said, “The new Illinois law helps plan for the eventual transition to only the technologies that customers overwhelmingly prefer today modern landline service and wireless service. While the timetable for that transition is undetermined at this time, it could take a number of years.”

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The AT&T-supported legislation in Illinois, which would get rid of a requirement for the telecom company to offer plain old telephone service or landline voice service encountered opposition from the AARP and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) back in the month of May. This in turn ignited a new debate on the legacy services transitions.

The Senate Bill 1381, which was passed with a voting of 56-2 in May, will eliminate the state requirement that AT&T® will have to provide traditional phone service to customers in the state. Even though several customers have ditched their landlines to enjoy the convenience of a wireless, a major population of old users still depend on POTS voice service.

A spokesman for the CUB, an Illinois nonprofit watchdog group, Jim Chilsen, said that, “If AT&T® succeeds in ending traditional landline phone service, we think that will hurt people particularly seniors and those with medical conditions who depend on a landline as their most reliable link to vital services.” Apparently, the move from AT&T® to extend the POTS voice service will be highly greeted by Illinois customers.

10 Jul

New Broadband Tariffs And Data Caps By Cox® And CenturyLink®

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New Broadband Tariffs

Subscribers of both Cox Communications® and CenturyLink® would have to pay overage fees if the data consumption exceeds set data caps. This news may augur well to those who subscribe broadband, or not so well for netizens, depending on usage policy of either carrier. Cox Communications® have started to levy subscribers’ overage fees in four new American states namely Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Arizona recently.

Netizens or anyone can crosscheck set speed and data consumption limits of both carrier and their best internet service, broadband. Prior to implementing overage charges, Cox® subscribers were paying a flat tariff to access broadband internet no matter the usage. Cox® has let their regular subscribers use 1 terabytes a month, even as overage charges clock at $10 a month for additional 50 GB each, in the unlimited broadband plan. Later in 2017, Cox® would introduce a mega unlimited internet plan to subscribers, indicate reliable sources.

One terabyte is a lot of internet for netizens, but who knows, they may have to get their heads around with new pricing mechanism from Cox® later in the year. Netizens use data habitually and consume cheap internet from carriers to play games, watch videos, access social media, send e-mails, etc. It is said that the data caps are one and the same for Cox®, and Xfinity® terabyte internet plan which also gives 50 GB each for $10 extra.

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Internet Data Caps

CenturyLink® has an “Excessive Use Policy” acronymed EUP. What’s more, the data caps were even lower for CenturyLink® last year, as low as 300 gigabytes. It was a worthy yearlong trial, but the Telco giant has put a full stop to the “usage-based billing program” in WA and Yakima of late. CenturyLink® is giving bill credits to those who cross set caps in Washington as well as to those of you who paid more bill than usual in Yakima.

“If you incurred overage charges related to this program, those charges will be credited and appear on your June or July monthly billing statement,” CenturyLink® said. “No action is required on your part, and there are no impacts to your existing CenturyLink® service.”

Besides, the Telco giant “reserves the right to disconnect your service after the third month of excessive usage in a rolling 12-month period” which was applicable for last year.

06 Jul

What’s In The Bag For AT&T® Prepaid Users

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GoPhone Prepaid Offerings

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® is currently offering three different prepaid plans to subscribers. Users who want to use unlimited data can subscribe to the $65 a month plan, whereas customers looking for a plan with lower internet data can subscribe to the $45, which offers them access to 6 GB high-speed internet data.

Both of these packages also offer unlimited text and talk within the country and between the Canada, US, and Mexico. In addition to that, users who subscribe to any one of these plans will also receive roaming in Canada and Mexico for data, text, and talk.

The cheapest prepaid plan offered by AT&T® is available to customers for just $35 a month for 1 GB of high-speed internet data. The most attractive feature of this package is that subscribers can enjoy unlimited talk and text service in the use. Additionally, customers can also make unlimited text to more than 100 countries.

The news of the potential rebrand came just a week after the telecom company launched their cellular access in eight more states in the country. The carrier has already expanded their broadband internet service to approximately 70,000 locations in the country. Reports indicate that they are planning to launch the broadband internet service to about 400,000 locations before the end of the year.

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AT&T® Prepaid Users

Many experts in the field of telecommunications strongly believe that AT&T® will be most probably offering cheap internet plans in their new service in order to draw in more potential customers towards their offerings.

It is to be noted that Sprint® recently offered a one-year free unlimited data service recently for customers who switch to Sprint® from their current carrier. This offering from Sprint® is currently the cheapest internet plan available to customers when it comes to unlimited data. However, if you are after a more reliable and stable coverage, it is wiser to choose AT&T® over Sprint®.

29 Jun

AT&T® To Invest $22 Billion If They Get Tax Breaks

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Huge Broadband Investment

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® recently promised that they would make massive broadband internet investment if President Donald Trump gives them tax breaks. This has been one of the major tricks of several internet service providers when they are in need of a tax break.

Several popular internet providers in the country had earlier promised that they would make future broadband investment deals in return for approval of an industry deal or for immediate tax breaks. In most cases, the government approves the conditions put forward by the companies because delivering high-speed internet service to rural areas is uneconomic. So, they feel that it is better to cut a deal with a private industry to accomplish it.

However, the reality is that most of the telecom companies have failed to keep up their promises and they often expand the deadline multiple times. This is the reason why several experts in the field of telecommunications are worried about AT&T’s recent promise of investing $22 billion in new infrastructure in exchange for immediate tax cuts.

The promise from AT&T® came after a meeting that was held at the White House a few days ago. The president of Verizon®, John Stratton lauded praised President Trump’s “focus on U.S. job creation and U.S. leadership in these industries,” whereas AT&T® CEO Randall Stephenson said, “It’s been dizzying the pace that the regulatory playing field has been cleared and been made more clear for companies that invest like ours.”

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Broadband Investment Deals

Stephenson added, “We’re on pace to invest around $22 billion in capital in the United States this year if we have some kind of tax reform, see that rate move down, we’ll consider stepping up our capital investment.” However, reports from several sources indicate that the Telco has made the same promise to deliver broadband to 100 percent of people in its regions for more than a decade. Additionally, reports also claim that AT&T® has used this as a leverage in numerous acquisitions and mergers too.

On the other hand, Charter Communications® was recently fined $13 million by the New York State, as the telecom giant failed to meet the conditions put forward by the state when they approved a merger. Charter® had promised that they will be upgrading their internet speed to 100 Mbps and they will be deploying broadband to approximately 35,000 new homes.

19 Jun

AT&T® Unveils A New Deal For DirecTV Now®

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DirecTV Now® Deal

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T®, has accepted the fact that the launch of their comparatively low-priced latest streaming service, DirecTV Now® has cannibalized subscriptions to AT&T’s DirecTV® satellite offering. However, the officials from AT&T® do not seem too worried because they have just unveiled a new deal for DirecTV Now® instead of focusing on DirecTV®.

As per reports, the telecom company will be providing a Roku Premiere Box to their new streaming subscribers. The price of the Roku Premiere Box is approximately $70 but customers will have to pre-pay AT&T® for two months of DirecTV Now® subscription. The cable-like live service, DirecTV Now® that offers customers access to over 60 popular channels for $35 per month become available to Roku users last month.

Reports indicate that AT&T® is all set to increase their promotion for DirecTV Now®. The telecom company recently launched their first national ad campaign for the streaming service and it featured Mark Wahlberg. The CFO of AT&T®, John Stephens said that the telecom company had “deliberately pulled back on marketing to give the platform time to mature and improve”. He added that customers should “expect us to be more aggressive with DirecTV Now® in the second half of the year, with additional features and content.”

It seems that the telecom company is embracing the appeal of DirecTV Now® to attract potential cord cutters to their streaming service. The officials from the telecom company had targeted young people and the ones who did not have a subscription to a traditional satellite video or cable service last year.

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Roku Premiere Box

AT&T® Entertainment Group Chief Marketing Officer, Brad Bentley added that people are “looking to cut the cable cord may not always know the best place to start. We’re making it easy by eliminating up-front cost and providing a cost effective solution to stream the content they crave from their living room couches.”

The CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson had earlier indicated that the “churn was up significantly” for DirecTV®, particularly among the ones who prefer not to buy the service as part of a bundle. He added that it included “some cannibalization” from DirecTV Now® too, but promised that they are going to “make some adjustments” to the marketing of DirecTV®. However, it seems that the telecom company has shifted their entire marketing focus to DirecTV Now®.

15 Jun

AT&T® Will Be Offering Wings To IoT Project Of Red Bull

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Internet Of Things Technology

The Telco AT&T® had announced that they would be connecting the one million branded beverage coolers of Red Bull across the globe. AT&T® said that they will be using Internet of Things technology to manage and track the supply and demand of the beverages to the coolers or fridges. They said that it would help to maintain a steady flow of highly caffeinated beverages to the hung-over and the fatigued.

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Developers and technologists specialized in the technological innovations at the AT&T® Foundry centers that are located in Texas, Plano, and Palo Alto, worked hand-in-hand with the Red Bull team and their partners. The data that is offered by the coolers will help ensure that the drinks are cool and will help figure out any issues with the cooler. AT&T® executives said that in some cases, the data from the coolers could even be used to predict an issue before it occurs.

Having the alerts from these coolers mean that the workers of Red Bull will no longer have to manually check the status of every cooler. The alerts from the coolers will offer details on the performance of the cooler, its temperature, and the location. AT&T® also added that the data offers a “shopper frequency insight” allowing them to see when the door of cooler is opened and closed.

“Each time a connected cooler door opens and closes, an embedded monitor collects data and on regular intervals send the data via the AT&T® Global SIM. The AT&T® Control Center and AT&T® IoT Platform (Flow and M2X) process the data from each cooler,” said the press release from AT&T®.

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Shopper Frequency Insight

Commenting on the move, Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of business solutions and international at AT&T® said that, “This is another great example of collaboration and innovation to create real value for our customers. It streamlines the processes, creates visibility and improves operations, helping drive significant cost savings and return on investment.”

AT&T®, one of the best internet providers in the country is working to build IoT business to business deals, as more and more traditional areas of their cheap internet offerings are on the decline. AT&T® is one of the sponsors of Red Bull Racing, which is the Formula 1 racing team owned by Red Bull, the drinks company based in Austria.

14 Jun

Charter Spectrum® Would Serve Broadband In NY Homes As A Part Of Development Project

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Broadband-To-Household State Plan

Charter Spectrum® bagged the rights to serve broadband in 95 percent of NY homes and made a pledge to NY Public Service Commission when Time Warner Cable® and Charter Communications® merged in 2016. However, other broadband vendors are yet to bid for the remaining five percent NY homes. The last phase of the broadband bids has opened on June 6, 2017.

The two NY counties served by Charter Spectrum® include Orleans and Niagara. The $500 million broadband-to-household state plan was laid out to improve the New York infrastructure. As per their pledge, Charter Spectrum® is expected to speed up broadband in 145, 000 NY households in the coming years. The pledge was made to the Public Service Commission stating that the best internet service provider would develop state broadband in four years time. The state legislators, on the other hand, hopes to see each New York household equipped with broadband.

“You get to 95-97 percent; what about the group that’s left?” asked David Godfrey, Niagara County Legislator. It is being said that legislators from both counties fear that 1020 homes in NY may remain broadband-less due to scarcity of local vendors. “There’s got to be vendors to cover it. We’re hoping to get enough vendors,” Godfrey added.

To serve the five percent NY homes, legislators shall give a permit to local wireless vendors and Charter Spectrum® fiber cable broadband lines can be tied with their network to serve the best internet service in NY. The permit, if given, would bring an end to the broadband needs of all the households in New York.

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Fiber Cable Broadband Lines

Another way to bring broadband to NY homes is to include the two counties under Genesee County’s bid request. In fact, the Orleans County Legislator, Lynne Johnson expects bids from broadband vendors in New York only.

“We’re hoping nearby counties will go out for a (bid), and a vendor will say, ‘While we’re in your neck of the woods, why not bring broadband to these residents?’” Johnson said.

Charter Spectrum® is home to one of the largest broadband network in America. The NY broadband bid rules have put vendors having coverage and high-speed broadband at an advantage to win bids. It seems now the destiny of households in Orleans and Niagara are charted for the infrastructural good.

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