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16 Sep

WRAL-TV And WRAZ Go Dark On AT&T U-Verse®

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WRAL-TV And WRAZ Gone Dark

AT&T U-Verse® customers recently loss access to Fox affiliate WRAZ and Local NBC affiliate WRAL-TV. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that the blackout of these two popular channels is due to a dispute between the parent company of the stations, Capitol Broadcasting, and AT&T®. However, it seems that AT&T®, who is one of the best internet providers in the country, is currently trying to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

In their website, WRAL wrote, “Our channels are currently not airing on AT&T U-Verse®. Capitol Broadcasting Company stations WRAL and FOX 50 are affected and we apologize for the inconvenience to you. While we work to get this resolved, it’s always helpful, for you, the customer, to call AT&T U-Verse® and tell them you expect to get the channels you’re paying them for. That number is 1-800-288-2020.”

The website further said that users could watch the channels anytime over-the-air for free. “You can always watch WRAL/NBC and FOX 50/Fox Network for free in crystal clear HD with an over-the-air antenna, available at local big box stores or get one here. Other ways to watch WRAL: All WRAL newscasts are available live right here on WRAL.com or you can download the free WRAL channel app and stream the newscasts live on Roku, AppleTV and Fire TV,” the web page states.

During the outage of these channels, the TV screens of customers who are currently under AT&T U-Verse® carried the following message:

“The owner of this channel has removed it from the U-Verse lineup despite our request to keep it available to you. Visit att.com/fightingforyou for more information on this station’s return.”

In addition to that, a spokesman from AT&T U-Verse®, Josh Gelinas, blamed the parent company of WRAL for the outage. He added, “Capitol is deliberately stopping WRAL and WRAZ from reaching their homes until Capitol receives a significant increase in fees.”

In their full statement, AT&T® wrote, “We want to get WRAL and WRAZ back into our Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville customers’ lineups as soon as possible. Doing so requires permission from their owner, Capitol Broadcasting, since FCC rules grant WRAL and WRAZ exclusive control over whether those stations remain available on U-Verse®.”

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WRAL Channel App

“We share our customers’ frustration because Capitol is deliberately stopping WRAL and WRAZ from reaching their homes until Capitol receives a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over the air on channels 50 and 5 and, often, at nbc.com and fox.com or using the NBC and Fox Now apps,” the statement added.

Officials at AT&T® further said, “Capitol has blocked its stations from reaching our own and other providers’ customers before, while also threatening to disconnect others. All Capitol needs to do is grant its permission, and we can have WRAL and WRAZ back into our customers’ homes within moments. Our goal is to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably, and we appreciate our Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville customers’ patience while we attempt just that.”

Customers who lost access to these couple of channels will miss a few important college football games that will air on Fox and WRAL on the weekend. In addition to that, the NFL football matches on the same channels on Sunday will also be unavailable to customers.

14 Sep

Cable And Internet Out In Florida. What Is Comcast® Telling About Service Restoration

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TV-Internet Services Down

When internet is down, commerce for many South Florida businesses and individuals, who depend on the internet to get things done, also goes down. As South Florida is recovering from the Hurricane Irma, television and internet providers are facing questions from customers on service restoration. Many users complained that they are not getting any clear answers and some were not able to get through.

A Comcast® customer named Rodriguez tweeted to @comcastcares and got a message that her service will be restored by Sept. 18 at 03:30 pm. Yet she said, “That seems unreasonable to me.”

Outages are widespread on internet, phone, and television services. Many of the outage could be linked to electric outages. The Twitter and Miami Herald feeds of AT&T® and Comcast® received many complaints from users with power but no TV or internet services.

Comcast® spokeswoman, Mindy Kramer said that the network that feeds and distributes their services in the Miami area include communications equipment that is dependent on commercial power, which is down due to the hurricane.

“As of Tuesday morning, we have been able to restore power to some but not all of the equipment that services customers in the Miami-metro area. We are working very closely with FPL so they can prioritize these critical facilities and restore commercial power service to them as quickly as possible,” Kramer said.

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Slow Restoration Of Services

“Our facilities in South Florida have been running on generators since the storm began and unfortunately everyone is need of the same fuel resources. We have been doing our best to refuel these generators so that our facilities are able to stay functioning without commercial power. We have teams deploying additional generators today in South Florida,” she added.

Kramer further said that Comcast® also suffered damages as lines were cut; in fact, the Telco suffered extensive destruction in Florida Keys. Kramer said that except for in the Keys, “We expect our plant to be restored quickly from what our assessments show so far.” She said that power is restored to one piece of critical equipment, “but we need them all to come back up.”

She added that as soon as commercial power supply is restored to the Miami Metro plant of Comcast®, the consumer services would resume. “The situation is very challenging and we know being without Xfinity® internet, TV or phone service is frustrating for our customers. We are doing everything possible to be able to restore services as quickly as we can.”

29 Aug

Comcast® And Sunrun Inc® Enter Strategic Partnership To Promote Cleaner Environment

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Comcast® – Sunrun Inc® Strategic Partnership

Soon after families in Philadelphia signed up for Comcast Corporation’s low-cost, cheap internet program, other news has surfaced regarding the Telco giant in the US. Comcast® has recently announced a 40-month long agreement with Sunrun Inc®, a “provider of residential solar, storage and energy services.”

Jon Kaplowitz, Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Comcast® said that the pact could help Comcast’s “customers take more control of the price they pay for energy, save them money, and help contribute to cleaner communities.”

Commenting on the news, Comcast® spokeswoman Jennifer Moyer said “Comcast® and Sunrun® tested a pilot program in 2015 and 2016 in Northern California and parts of the Northeastern United States — Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Maryland. Comcast surveyed participants in the test program and they were pleased with it, giving the company confidence about expanding it.”

Sunrun Inc® will become the sole solar energy provider for the Comcast’s cable service, and the latter will be a strategic partner of Sunrun Inc® via marketing campaigns in the select markets. With the agreement, the Telco giant, which has 29 million subscribers as of now, can attain a 5 percent equity stake if the pact generates 30,000 new subscribers for Sunrun Inc® or if Comcast Corporation® spends $10 million on marketing the program, as per the pact filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Comcast’s marketing for Sunrun — which will launch this year — will be through online banner ads, bill inserts, and direct mail to subscribers. Subscribers would have to contact Sunrun and would not be upsold on the phone for solar roofs when they call Comcast for repairs or questions about Xfinity cable or internet services,” Moyer added.

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Xfinity Cable Or Internet Services

Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun Inc® said, “Our challenge is making homeowners aware that they can save money with solar today. We are excited to work with Comcast to help their customers go solar and save on their electric bills while reducing their dependence on fossil fuels.”

Sunrun Inc® is available in up to 22 states in the US, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. The Telco giant provides phone service, cable service to residents and business in the US under the Xfinity® brand, and is also a fastest internet provider in several regions of the country. Yet neither Comcast® nor Sunrun® has revealed the markets to be included in the marketing campaign set for the fourth quarter.

28 Aug

AT&T® Plans To Bring G.Fast To More Markets

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AT&T® To Expand Services

Most of the internet providers in the country prefer not to expand their services into the territory of other providers. However, the telecom giant, AT&T® recently announced that they would be soon launching high-speed internet service in several parts of New York City and other popular metro areas outside of their traditional wireline footprint.

The officials from the telecom company, AT&T® stated that the new service would be available only for apartment and condominium buildings. This implies that customers who are currently living in a single-family house will not be eligible to subscribe to the service.

The latest deployment from AT&T® incorporates the use of G.fast, which is a technology that uses fiber network to deliver the internet service to the neighborhoods. However, connections inside each one of the buildings is done with the help of copper wires. AT&T® also confirmed that they are also using coaxial cables for making final connection to subscribers.

In a recent announcement, the executives from AT&T® said, “G.fast provides Internet access to apartment and condo units over existing coaxial cables. This can minimize disruption for current residents because there’s no need to place new wiring in each residence.” However, they refused to share any details on how many customers will be eligible for receiving the latest service.

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High-Speed Internet Service

AT&T’s G.fast is currently live in parts of about eight metro areas in the country such as Tampa, Seattle, Phoenix, Philadelphia, New York City, Minneapolis, Denver, and Boston. Among these states, only Tampa and Florida are the only ones in a state that is already being served by the telecom service provider. AT&T® has also announced their plans to bring G.fast into 14 more markets shortly.

As per a recent press release, “AT&T® is moving into the territories of several other major carriers with its G.fast launch. n announced northeastern markets such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and others, Verizon® is the incumbent. And in midwestern and western markets such as Minneapolis, Colorado Springs and Omaha, AT&T® will be up against CenturyLink®. AT&T® also will be moving into some Frontier® territory. Incumbent cable companies including Comcast®, Charter® and others will soon see new competition from AT&T® in these markets.”

Many experts in the field of telecommunication claim that this latest offering from AT&T® will allow customers to acquire cheap internet deals.

23 Aug

AT&T® Might Sell Their Home Security Business

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AT&T® Digital Life

AT&T®, one of the best internet service providers of the country, has started to explore options for their Digital Life home security business, including selling the business, as they are seeking to pay down the debt following their planned 85.4 billion acquisition of the Time Warner Inc. This process of selling the subsidiary business will mark a reversal for AT&T® that entered the home security market in the US in 2013, with the introduction of Digital Life.

Digital Life from AT&T® offers users cameras and sensors that will allow them to monitor their homes on their smartphones. Digital Life only accounted for a small portion of the 163.8 billion dollars revenue of AT&T® in 2016. The business is estimated to have about 400,000 and 500,000 users and might fetch about a billion dollars when sold. However, this will not do much to decrease the debt of AT&T® that totals to 143.7 billion dollars.

Sources say that the sale of Digital Life could be a prelude to more sales of AT&T® subsidiaries. “AT&T will carry an incredible debt load (after the Time Warner deal closes), which is a risky proposition for a company with declining revenues,” MoffettNathanson research analyst Craig Moffett said. “They will almost certainly have to find assets to sell to appease the bond rating agencies.”

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Time Warner Acquisition

AT&T® said that they are expecting the Time Warner acquisition, which is currently under the review to go through by the end of 2017. Digital Life from AT&T® reaches eighty markets in the United States, which include large cities like New York and Chicago. However, it is not a match to the scale of the rival service from the US cable company Comcast Corporation®.

Comcast® had introduced their Xfinity® Home service in 2012 and they are approaching one million users this year. Before a few years, cable operators turned to home security services to open a new revenue stream. It is reported that the home security companies and buyout firms might show interest in the Digital Life unit of AT&T®. For instance, the private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC bought the home security business ADT Corp for $7 billion in 2016.

It is to be noted that AT&T® has also sold the home security unit of DirecTV®, LifeShield to a private equity firm named Hawk Capital Partners last month, but the details of the sale are not yet disclosed.

22 Aug

City Council And Residents Are Pushing For Broadband Internet Provider In Grantville

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Broadband Internet Provider

James Phillips, a Grantville resident, lives off from Lowry Road in Meadowbrook and he says that fast broadband internet has been scarce in and around his neighborhood of late. It is said that residents in the Grantville area have only a few options for broadband and cheap internet, and hence the city council is looking to redress the scarcity of broadband in the region.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), broadband internet should allow subscribers and general users with accesses to the internet and related services at higher speeds than dial-up internet. Yet depending on the technology with which the best internet provider relays broadband network, the internet speed may vary.

Broadband internet is offered to residents and public through different platforms. FCC simply distinguishes broadband platforms as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Cable Modem (Copper or Fiber cable), Wireless internet, and Satellite internet. Phillips says that he has been in contacts with Grantville leaders, including the Councilman of GA Willie Kee, to get the best internet provider of broadband in his neighborhood.

“Everyone in my area uses their phone as a hotspot, but that doesn’t work as good after the data cap has been met. All Coweta County students are assigned Chromebooks, but can’t use them at home reliably,” Phillips said in an interview. On the other hand, City Manager of GA Al Grieshaber said that, “Internet access in Grantville is the same as other areas of Coweta County and is available (cable or satellite), but not at the highest speed.”

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DSL Broadband Service

“We have continually asked internet service providers to update and upgrade their systems, but they are reluctant to commit hard dollars to infrastructure when new technologies (Wi-Fi) are on the forefront,” Grieshaber added. “It is a question of return on investment.” William Kee agreed with Grieshaber while reinstating that to find the best internet provider with upgraded service in Grantville is the issue that needs to be redressed sooner rather than later.

It shall be noted that the main wired best internet provider is AT&T® – the Telco giant offers DSL broadband in Grantville, whereas Charter Spectrum® covers remote neighborhoods of Grantville with cable internet. Phillips believes that if more internet providers looked into the matter to bring broadband to Grantville, it would be a matter of months to deliver cheap internet in the area.

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.

18 Aug

AT&T® Hello Lab’s ‘Guilty Party’ Is Set For Launch

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Interactive High School Mystery TV Series

In a recent announcement, the officials from one of the best internet providers in the country, AT&T® announced that they would be launching a new interactive high school mystery TV series, titled as “Guilty Party.” The show will be available to viewers on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other “Guilty Party” social handles.

However, AT&T® has promised that the TV series will be airing on their latest streaming service, DirecTV Now® by the end of 2017. One of the major highlights of “Guilty Party” is that viewers will be able to play the role of detectives and identify who is exposing the secrets.

“Guilty Party” will tell the story of a group of teens who are forced to face their past as a high school bullying victim begins to take revenge on them for their past actions. The main cast members of the show are Tiffany Alvord, Teala Dunn, Kian Lawley, Miles McKenna, Jessie Paege, Alexis G. Zall, and Manolo Vergara.

Karyn Spencer, vice president of Creator Labs at AT&T® said, “AT&T® is passionate about connecting digital creators with their fans, pushing boundaries and challenging our audience to take positive action and consider different viewpoints. We hope that “Guilty Party” entertains, but also prompts viewers to develop positive solutions when they find themselves in similar situations in their lives.”

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Trending TV Series

The vice president of programming strategy at Fullscreen Media, Maude Standish said, “Guilty Party takes the YA genre one step further by making the narrative interactive. We saw firsthand the power of fandom throughout the first year of AT&T® Hello Lab, and we wanted to LEVERAGE that fan passion to tell a more dynamic story with Guilty Party. We’re excited to see how fans respond to their favorite creators doing something so different from their daily content.”

Viewers will gain clues via “Guilty Party” social channels, which will help them to solve the mystery of who is sharing the secrets of the teens. In addition to that, the cast members of the show will also be interacting with the audience and fans in the comments section of each and every episode of the new TV series. Reports also indicate that some of the cast members of the show will be involved with the Later Haters campaign of AT&T® and Fullscreen, which promotes kindness and positivity online.

17 Aug

AT&T® Launches Fixed Wireless Internet In Areas Of The Rural Triangle

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Connectivity Via Outdoor Antennas

AT&T® is now expanding their wireless broadband services across the Triangle to target the rural and the “underserved” areas. The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® is now offered in areas of western Wake County and eastern Chatham County, AT&T® announced on Monday. The Fixed Wireless Internet standalone will be offered for a charge of sixty dollars per month with one-year contract.

AT&T® started to roll out the service in June and the service was introduced in areas of Georgia first, spreading to the other states gradually. This new service from AT&T® is built around connectivity offered via outdoor antennas and indoor Wi-Fi gateways. The Fixed Wireless Internet service from AT&T® includes:

  • High-speed internet service that offers download speeds of minimum 10 Mbps
  • 160 GB of internet data per month – if the limit of internet data is exceeded, AT&T® will offer additional data in increments of 50 GB for ten dollars. They will offer up to a maximum of twenty such increments costing 200 dollars.
  • Wi-Fi connection for more than one device like tablets, laptops, gaming consoles, etc.
  • Wired Ethernet connection for up to four devices

Installation Of The Service

AT&T® says that getting their Fixed Wireless service is very easy and includes three steps – Survey, Installation, and Connection.

Survey – In this step, AT&T® technicians will find the best place to install the equipment for the Fixed Wireless Internet service.

Install – The installation of the service is real quick and easy. An AT&T® technician will install an antenna that can communicate with the nearest tower to get the most reliable and strongest wireless signal.

Connect – The technician will then help you connect your devices to the Fixed Wireless Internet service.

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Reliable And Stronger Wireless Signal

AT&T® said that they would continue to expand the Fixed Wireless cheap internet service to offer it to about 13,000 locations by the end of 2020. “The nearly 6,500 men and women who work for AT&T® and call North Carolina home, are proud to work with our local, state and federal leadership to provide the connectivity that North Carolina’s residents and businesses demand,” said Robert Doreauk, regional director of external affairs for AT&T® North Carolina. “Through this innovative service, we are working to close the connectivity gap in North Carolina.”

The funding for the Fixed Wireless Internet service is offered via the FCC Connect America Fund. Apart from AT&T®, CenturyLink®, Frontier Communications®, and many others are also receiving FCC funds to expand high-speed internet connectivity.

10 Aug

AT&T® Is Not Planning To Quit On CNN

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Five Billion Acquisition Deal

AT&T® said that they are not looking to spin off the news channel CNN as part of their eight five billion acquisition deal of Time Warner®. This declaration from AT&T® has put to rest all the speculations about the fate of the news network as the deal is still under the review of the Justice Department.

John Stankey, who is the head of AT&T® Entertainment group, said that they see cable news as important as live sports. “It would be a strategically missed opportunity if we weren’t in that business,” Stankey said. He also added that CNN would continue to be editorially independent. This can be a likely nod to the criticisms of the news outlet by President Trump.

In his 2016 campaign, President Trump had promised to block the acquisition of Time Warner® by AT&T® over the concern that the resulting company would be much powerful in the media world. The President’s move was considered unusual, as professionals at the Federal Trade Commission, or the Justice Department, do most of the merger reviews, independent of the President’s office.

President Trump said during his election campaigns that he sees the merger “as an example of the power structure I’m fighting. AT&T® is buying Time Warner® and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

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The specific mention of CNN by the President prompted some of the analysts to think if his opposition of the merger is due to his dissatisfaction with the coverage of the CNN network of him. This perception of the analysts was reinforced when the New York Times reported that the President’s office was considering using the deal as a leverage against the CNN network. However, with the guarantee of CNN’s independence from Stankey, who will be overseeing HBO, CNN, and other media properties of Time Warner® after the deal is completed successfully, it seems that AT&T® is trying to remove all doubts about the future of Cable News Network.

Both Time Warner® and AT&T® said that they are expecting the deal to close by the end of the year, however, AT&T® executives did not respond to request for comments. Experts in telecommunications industry believe that the merger may result in the formation of the fastest internet provider and cable company of the country, but we will have to wait for that.

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