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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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Top Rated Channels

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.

08 Aug

AT&T® And Guntersville Legislators Announce Certified Fiber Cable Internet In Connors Island Business Park

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Certified Fiber Cable Internet

AT&T® and Guntersville legislators recently announced that Connors Island Business Park is now a certified fiber relayed broadband area, thanks to the Telco giant’s infrastructural contribution. The certification would mean that cheap internet of the highest speed is being made available to job seekers and headhunters in Marshall County.

“That means that if you want to build a company here the infrastructure for fiber is in place,” said the Guntersville Mayor, Leigh Dollar. He also added that the certification from AT&T® is a marketing tool for businesses. “This will definitely be an asset to the park. We work to market this park every day. So we think this will definitely be something worth marketing,” Dollar said.

“We’re ready for 21st century businesses. We’re ready for companies that require extensive broadband fiber,” commented Marshall County Economic Development Council president, Matt Arnold. “Fiber has become what power, water, and sewer were 15 years ago. Companies have to have them. If they don’t have it, they’re not going to locate there.”

Arnold has put the certification and the breakthrough infrastructural contribution in the Connors Island Business Park in clear words. The AT&T® fiber broadband in the Connors Island Business Park will help Guntersville compete with North Alabama cities. The Telco giant’s business fiber network in Alabama provides cheap internet and gives businesses accesses to cloud backup, and video streaming in up to 1 Gbps speed. Reports say that AT&T® has invested billions in wireless as well as wired networks in Alabama in the recent past.

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AT&T Fiber Ready Certification

“AT&T continues to deploy leading-edge technology,” said Dave Hargrove, director of external and legislative affairs of AT&T®. “Our goal for the AT&T Fiber Ready certification is to help clearly message that Alabama is connected as economic developers and community leaders work to bring new business to our state and drive growth for the ones that already call our communities home.”

Assistant VP of external and legislative affairs for AT&T® Alabama, Mickey Harbin said, “Each and every day, our more than 5,300 employees are turning AT&T’s billions of dollars in financial investment into high-speed internet for consumers and businesses across Alabama.”

The relayed fiber network of the Telco giant covers the 400-acre Connors Island Business Park in Guntersville, Marshall County, Alabama.

04 Aug

What Subscribers Should Know About FCC And ISP Broadband Speeds

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ISP Broadband Speeds

To find the best internet provider in the US, subscribers could do some preliminary research before signing an agreement with the first provider they come across. When it is about choosing a cheap internet service provider, the speed aspect should be considered well, since speed and affordability would give subscribers a worthy bundle. After finding out the fastest internet provider and their best package, the next step in attaining subscription is gauging whether the said ISP offers that service in your area.

The FCC recommended download speeds would help you decide on the minimum download speed in any region. Federal Communication Commission stipulates 500 Kbps speed for emailing, 1.5 Mbps for streaming movies on content driven platforms, and 4 Mbps each for online gaming and tele-learning. Do remember that the FCC stipulated download speeds apply to individual users only and that if your family consists of two, then you would want double the internet speed to access more data.

The 80/80 speed of broadband was one of the major findings in the Measuring Broadband America report of FCC last year. This measures the Internet Service Providers’ performance consistency over peak periods of internet usage, i.e. from 07:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Telco giants such as Charter Communications®, Time Warner Cable®, and Verizon® performed well with values soaring above 90 percent of the FCC stipulated speeds in 2016. However, the ratio for AT&T® DSL, Frontier®, and Viasat® broadband was 50%.

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The Measuring Broadband America Report

Regardless, these are some of the fastest internet providers in the US as prime time alone cannot be used as a metric to know who downloads videos on the internet or who is watching a Game of Thrones episode on a Sunday night.

As per FCC, 25 Mbps download speed would qualify an ISP as the fastest internet provider in 2017. This was a sudden jump from 4 Mbps before it, and the ISPs have shown protests regarding the stipulation in the Senate of late. Further, a mere mention of best internet and high-speed internet doesn’t necessarily guarantee that ISPs follows FCC stipulations, but these terms are used interchangeably with broadband in general.

Suffice to say it, only the best Internet Service Providers follow the FCC stipulations in the US, even as the veto power remains with subscribers.

02 Aug

Cardinals And Cox® Announce Marketing And Technology Partnership

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Marketing And Technology Partnership

Cox Communications® and the Arizona Cardinals recently announced a multimillion dollar, multiyear partnership in Phoenix, which expands and extends a partnership between both the businesses back in 2006. As per the partnership, Cox® Business will be the exclusive technology provider and partner for both Cardinals and University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale.

“Through this partnership, Cox® will provide a broad range of services and products that will not only deliver the best possible stadium experience for Cardinals fans, but also enhance the organization’s technological capabilities on a daily basis,” said Cardinals President Michael Bidwill.

Services offered by Cox Communications® include internet and telecommunication services, cable TV, Wi-Fi, video transmissions, and network infrastructure. It will be the responsibility of the Cox® Business to offer technical support to the team for all the important events and to ensure that the technology of the stadium operates seamlessly without any issues.

“It has been a privilege to deliver technology services to the team and the stadium for more than a decade,” said Ed Aaronson, vice president for Cox® Business in Arizona. “This expansion of our relationship will further enhance our ability to partner with the Cardinals to deliver the premier fan experience.”

Cardinals and Cox® will also provide a virtual reality interactive experience for all the fans, which will be similar to the training tools used by the Cardinals players and coaches. Fans of Arizona Cardinals will experience a feeling of being on the field practicing with their favorite team, standing on the field during the pre game player introduction sessions and taking part in the coin toss.

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Exclusive Technology Provider

The free virtual reality experience offered by Cox® for the fans will provided at the upper concourse of the stadium, on the fifth quarterdeck during home games of the Cardinals. The partnership between Cox® and Cardinals features technology product integration of Cox® throughout the training complex of Cardinals and University of Phoenix Stadium, and will include marketing, promotional, community relations and fan activation initiatives.

The University of Phoenix Stadium is hone to the annual Fiesta Bowl and the Arizona Cardinals. The stadium also hosts many international soccer events, large-scale events like super bowl, major concerts like the U2 and the recent NCAA Final Four.

Cox Communications® is the third largest private employer in Arizona and one of the best internet service providers in the country that serves about 3 million business and residential users in Arizona.

26 Jul

Charter® Plans To Shake Up The TV Channel Lineup

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New Lineup Of Channels

One of the fastest internet providers in the U.S, Charter Communications® had earlier acquired Time Warner Cable® and Bright House Network® to bring about a change in their strategies. The combination of these three massive telecom companies created a leading broadband services and technology company, which will be serving approximately 25 million subscribers in 41 states of the country.

After Charter® completed the merger of Time Warner Cable®, a local TWC® customer complained that he was not able to access two of his popular channels, Day Star and TBN, in the new lineup of channels. He said, “They took them off and won’t return them. They were not on the line-up for Spectrum® when it changed from Time Warner Cable®.”

The local Charter Spectrum® office asked the customer to visit the official website of Charter Spectrum® and look at the list of Spectrum® channels by the local zip code to get details on the new channel lineup of the telecom service provider. This means that Charter® might be planning to shake up the channel lineup.

However, a field communications manager from Spectrum/Charter® company office reacted to the issue by stating that, “Regarding the question from a citizen there (Kerrville), this programming is temporarily unavailable due to the configuration of Spectrum programming practices. We hope TBN and Day Star will return to our channel line-up soon.”

Officials from the telecom company added that the new combined advanced network would offer customers better video products, faster broadband internet speed, cheap internet and TV deals, as well as affordable phone service. Reports indicate that the product and network investment of Charter® along with their customer-friendly operating strategy will most likely result in financial and customer growth for the company.

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Configuration Of Spectrum Programming

Chairman and CEO of Charter Communications®, Tom Rutledge said, “I want to thank the management teams and all of the employees at Charter®, Time Warner Cable®, and Bright House Networks® for their hard work over these past 12 months.”

“Despite much distraction, they kept their focus on the customer, and as a result, today we join together three companies, each operating with tremendous momentum,” He added. “Current Bright House Networks® and Time Warner Cable® customers won’t see many changes right away, though in the coming months they will begin to hear more from us about the Spectrum® brand, and the product improvements and consumer friendly policies that come with it.”

Rutledge further said that, “Charter’s objective is to provide high quality products at great prices, and back it up with excellent customer service, and we intend to continually improve the way we do business in order to be the very best at what we do.”

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.

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