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13 Mar

AT&T® to Roll out Its 5G Services in Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco

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Rolling Out 5G Services

The development of 5G services took a major turn when AT&T® declared that it intends to first roll out its 5G network across the cities of Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco. AT&T® has been working on introducing its 5G services and the latest announcement conveys the rapid development of its 5G network. The Telco is also planning to open a 5G innovation center and test lab in Austin for further extending its best internet service. According to the official statements, AT&T® intends to debut its 5G services later this year with further upgrades planned for the beginning of 2019.

AT&T® is using the non-standalone (NSA) 5G 3GPP standards for deploying its 5G networks across the selected cities. The 5G network will use the millimeter-wave spectrum for providing the service. The customers can enjoy basic 5G services after AT&T® launches the network in the three cities. However, the Telco intends to include further additions to the network such as 5G capable smartphones and devices in 2019. Several additional spectrum bands will also be allocated in the coming years to accommodate the traffic.

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AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Wireless Network Architecture and Design, Igal Elbaz, said, “After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G — and do it much sooner than most people thought possible. What this means for our customers in these cities is that they will be the very first to access this next generation of wireless services.”

AT&T® is also planning to release the name of more cities that it intends to roll out 5G services in the coming months. It has already signed up with the Swedish telecommunications major, Ericsson for advancing its Internet of Things (IoT) solutions platform. According to AT&T®, “The experience we’ve gained by leading the industry transformation to network virtualization and software control will help our customers to get the most out of 5G. Ultimately, this means new experiences with augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), future autonomous cars, and delivery drones.”

The setting up of the new test lab and innovation center will help AT&T® to carry out extensive testing and trials of its standards-based 5G network. The engineers are provided with a conducive environment where they can build and test the 5G networks and devices. The outdoor 5G testbed of AT&T® Labs, known as Advanced 5G NR Testbed Systems (ANTS), will be used to carry out trials 5G applications and real world user cases.

20 Feb

Comcast Business® Completes Fiber Network Expansion in Downtown Holland

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Fiber Network Expansion

Comcast Business® has announced the completion of fiber network build-out in downtown Holland. The 45 miles long fiber expansion is meant for business tenants in up to 376 buildings situated in the area and is equipped with 100 Gbps network capacity. The VP of Comcast Business® in Michigan, Jeff Marston, said that fiber expansion is meant to reach small scale and medium scale companies and they seek that fiber too apart from large companies.

“The increasing reliance on big data and cloud applications is driving bandwidth usage from small and medium-size businesses,” Marston said. “Our scalable fiber network allows us to be all things to all businesses because we can easily tailor our technology solutions to meet their changing and diverse needs.”

The fiber expansion of Comcast Business® gives customers more access to high-speed internet, Ethernet, and voice services, and will greatly help businesses, which are seeking substantial bandwidth speeds. New customers of Comcast Business® will not have to bear build-out costs since the fiber network has been expanded in Holland. “Providing businesses with the most advanced technology today and in the future is imperative to our ability to grow Holland’s business community and overall economy,” said Arlan Meekho, R-West Olive township’s Senate Majority Leader.

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The debate on fiber-based internet keeps drawing interests in the Holland area, in particular since Holland Board of Public Works, continues to expand fiber network. The public works department in Michigan has started to offer shared gigabit service from December last year between 7th and 9th streets amid River Avenue and Garretson Road. Holland Board of Public Works has been expanding their fiber optic infrastructure as an open access network for more than two and a half decades said Becky Lehman, the department’s technology director. As of now, several service providers use the network built by HBPW to cater to the customers in Allegan and Ottawa counties in Michigan.

“The mission of the HBPW is to provide competitive, reliable, and innovative public utility solutions to the greater Holland area in a socially, environmentally and financially responsible manner,” Lehman said. “Expanding our fiber infrastructure and services helps to accomplish this mission and puts the community in a position to maintain its vitality for years to come.”

The announcement of fiber expansion completion by Comcast Business® is the 3rd in the last 7 months. In August last year, Comcast® installed Xfinity® hotspots across Holland, and in January, the best internet provider announced that it will provide revamped gigabit internet speeds in Kent, Allegan, and parts of Ottawa counties.

02 Feb

Comcast® Buys MIcom’s Cable Grid at Highland Park

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Comcast® recently announced that they bought MIcom’s cable grid at Highland Park area within Michigan’s Metro Detroit. The customers of MIcom will be switched to Comcast® on March 01 this year said the Telco giant while announcing the cable deal.

“Highland Park is one of a few cities within southeastern Michigan that we didn’t have a franchise agreement,” said Michelle Gilbert, Vice President of Public Relations for Comcast’s Heartland Region. “So, when the opportunity presented itself to purchase the cable system, not only does this help give us a more contiguous footprint, it reinforces our commitment to this region.”

While the MIcom customers in Highland Park only amounts to around 650, Comcast® said that, the cable grid there is connected to around 5100 residences, and that it creates opportunities to build the customer base. Officials from Comcast® also said that MIcom has expanded their cable system in the city, which makes the acquisition cost-effective for them compared to expanding anew.

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Commenting on the cable deal between both companies, Mayor of Highland Park Hubert Yopp said, “This is great news for the residents and businesses of Highland Park, particularly as we move forward with our comprehensive revitalization plan to build a strong future for our city. Having access to the same advanced products and services that Comcast provides across the rest of Michigan has tremendous value as we seek to attract residents and businesses to Highland Park.”

The Senior VP for Heartland Region, Tim Collins, said that Comcast® expects to provide residential customers all of their services comprising of high-speed internet, wireless internet, and business services. Comcast® has been enhancing best internet service for business and residential customers across Michigan in the last year and has been in the process of improving their customer service as well. At present, Comcast® has around 1.4 million subscribers statewide.

Recently, the Telco announced that they would add gigabit internet service for business and residential customers in West Michigan, which includes Kent County’s Grand Rapids and Ottawa County’s Holland, besides select cities outside Detroit. Comcast® said it would provide residents in Highland Park the high-speed internet service alongside their Internet Essentials package, which gives low-income subscribers access to cheap internet and the option to purchase a computer for low-cost.

15 Jan

AT&T® Walks Out of a Deal with Huawei

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The telecommunications giant AT&T® recently dropped out from the deal to sell the Huawei Smartphone called the Mate 10 to the people of the United States. Their partnership was about to unveil when they walk out suddenly. Officials, who were familiar with the deal, said that there was much anonymity regarding the deal, as the discussions were private. Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal had already reported about this change of plans by AT&T®.

The reason that made AT&T® to take such a huge step is not yet revealed. However, a group of lawmakers expressed their doubts on an important deal between an unrevealed American telecommunication company and Huawei to the Federal Communications Commission through a letter. They wrote about their concern on the deal to sell their products in the United States because of the ties of Huawei with the Chinese government. Even though the letter did not mention AT&T® specifically, their deal to sell the Huawei products in the United States was evident.

AT&T® spokesperson Fletcher Cook refused to comment on the topic, however, insiders report that the letter was reviewed by the New York Times and they said that, “the Congress had long been concerned about Chinese espionage in general, and Huawei’s role in that espionage in particular.”

Huawei, which is a private company based in Shenzhen, China, has denied to the comment that they present any kind of security risks. In a statement, the officials from Huawei stated that they delivered “premium devices with integrity globally and in the united states market over the past five years.” They further added that they would introduce new products for the American market soon.

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Huawei has a long list of setbacks regarding issues of security and this last minute turmoil is the latest among them. Huawei always faced political oppositions to its attempts to snoop on the United States market for years. This turmoil also deepened the political rift over the affairs of user privacy, security, and technology.

The lawmakers criticized the deal heavily, over the chances of Chinese access to the user data of America, regardless of the promises from the Chinese company that they will take necessary steps to make the data more secure.

Even though Huawei sells smartphones in the United States of America, they do not have deals with any of the prominent wireless carriers. The carriers, who dominate the communication market in the country includes T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T®. This makes it more difficult for Huawei to set a base in the United States.

18 Dec

Comcast® Hosts Digital Literacy Forum in Chattanooga to Tackle Digital Divide

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Internet Essentials Program

Comcast® recently hosted a digital literacy forum in Chattanooga Tech Town and distributed laptops to students at the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. This was done by the best internet provider to generate awareness about connecting and using internet in the city in Hamilton County.

“Comcast® has played a defining role in shaping the future of media and technology, and we maintain an unwavering commitment to address the barriers to broadband adoption across the communities we serve,” said Tina Simmons, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Comcast®.

Simmons was speaking at the digital literacy forum on behalf of the Telco about ‘digital divide’, which echoed in the entire forum. She also hailed the ‘Internet Essentials’ Program provided by Comcast® to low-income residents for the last six years to over 3 million low-income residents nationwide as cheap internet. Considering Hamilton County alone, the number amounts to an additional 3000 connections.

The initiative from the Telco “has not just given these children a new piece of technology, they have been given a piece of hope, a boost in confidence and a new opportunity to succeed,” said Jim Coppinger, the County Mayor. Yet despite the initiative, Simmons feels that there is a digital divide nationwide that relate to the problem of a lack of power and water.

Comcast® held digital literacy forum in Tech Town in order to address the scarcity of high-speed internet and lack of know how regarding connectivity. Further, without internet connectivity at home students cannot do homework said Elaine Swafford the Principal of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy in the forum.

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On the other hand, Launch Tennessee’s Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Brock said that internet is a necessity especially for jobseekers, consumers and workers. “Our ability to grow as a community is directly dependent upon how we address this digital divide,” Brock said.

Furthermore, Chris Ramsey, the Chief Executive Officer of TechTown Foundation in Chattanooga, said, “Today, Chattanooga was united with nonprofit partners, elected officials, educators, and advocates who all believe that the Internet is essential for everyone.” The foundation is planning more such literacy programs in the future to generate awareness.

The unemployment rate in the Tennessee is alarming low, yet the state leads the way for small scale business growth in the running year. However, Simmons added, “There is a vibe in this community and rightfully so,” referring the financial contribution which the best internet provider made in the region in the past.

15 Dec

AT&T® Expands Their High Speed Internet to More Underserved and Rural Communities

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AT&T® has now expanded the reach of their Fixed Wireless Internet to many small businesses and homes in some of the underserved and rural locations across seventeen new counties in the country. Business and residential users in areas of Charleston, Chesterfield, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Darlington, Laurens, Dillon, Kershaw, Marlboro, Union, Marion, Pickens, Newberry, Orangeburg, Saluda, and York counties can sign up for the services from AT&T®.

The Telco had previously announced the availability of their best internet services in areas of Barnwell, Oconee, Richland, and Dorchester counties. “AT&T® is a fantastic corporate partner to South Carolina, and its commitment to providing equal access to high-speed internet for people in every part of the state will continue to benefit South Carolinians,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “Investment in rural areas is especially important to making sure every person in the state is given the opportunity to benefit from the economic development success we will continue to see for generations to come.”

This move from AT&T® follows the launch of their Fixed Wireless service in areas of South Carolina as part of their FCC Connect America Fund program. AT&T® is planning to offer access to more than 1.1 million areas by the end of 2020. In the area of South Carolina itself, they have committed to offer access to 30,000 locations by the year 2020 and they are planning to reach more than forty percent of that goal by the end of the year.

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Connect America Fund Program

“Access to fast and reliable internet is a life-changer in today’s interconnected world,” said Pamela Lackey, who is the president of AT&T® South Carolina. “We are excited about the opportunities this innovative service will bring for customers in many parts of the state as we continue working to close the connectivity divide in South Carolina.”

Between the years 2014 and 2016, AT&T® made investments of more than eight hundred million in their wireless and wired networks in South Carolina. Fixed Wireless internet service from AT&T® offers internet connection with a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 1 Mbps. With the internet connection, users can download, and stream their favorite TV shows and movies. The Fixed Wireless connection comes from a wireless tower to an antenna that is fixed at the home or business of the customer.

The service is also available to businesses and residents in areas of Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, California, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Texas.

13 Dec

Comcast® Launches a New Voice Remote

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Video On Demand Program

Comcast® is undoubtedly one of the best internet providers in the country and they have now move ahead of their competitors with the commercial launch of their newly designed voice remote that is to be used with their X1 platform. The latest model of voice remote, called as the XR15 is the follow on model to their XR11 remote that was introduced by Comcast® in 2015. As per the records, Comcast® has already deployed eighteen million voice remotes with users delivering about half a million voice commands in the month of November alone, as per a recent announcement from Jonathan Palmatier, who is the Vice President of consumers devices and products at the Comcast Corporation®.

The look and feel of the old remote is altered in the new voice remote, and the position of the blue microphone button is also changed. It is through this microphone that the voice commands are delivered to the X1 platform. “After researching how customers hold and use the remote, our design team placed the round blue button directly where the thumb naturally rests,” Palmatier explained. “That button is also in the center of the remote, larger than every other button and made from a distinct material so it can be identified by touch alone.”

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Legacy X1 Voice Remote

The XR15 remote from Comcast® is already recognized together with two other products from Comcast® for X1, which are a 4K capable video device and a wireless set top box. All these three Comcast® products came away with the Red Dot design awards. Apart from the new device, Comcast® is also introducing a bunch of latest voice remote features that work across the legacy X1 voice remote and the new XR15 models. Users will now be able to go forward or backward in a DVR recorded or Video On Demand program just by saying time increments like “Go forward fifteen minutes” or “Go back ten seconds.”

The voice capability of the remote also allows users to ask the details of a song playing in a movie, commercial, or TV show, and the system will pull up the artist and title of the particular music track. Palmatier said that these are some of the new features, which will be unveiled soon. There will also be a new set of commands used to control the connected home and together with some Spanish language options.

08 Dec

AT&T® Debuts Fixed Wireless Internet in Mendota

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Fixed Wireless Internet

One of the best internet providers in the US, AT&T® launched Fixed Wireless Internet earlier this year to underserved homes and businesses as part of their FCC Connect America Fund Commitment. AT&T® has been in the process of rolling out the Fixed Wireless Internet across the country to fill the connectivity gap and upgrade their network to meet the commitment made to FCC. The low-cost internet service from the ISP comes from a cellular tower to fixed antennae placed on the subscribers’ homes or business premises.

The service is the first of its kind introduced in Mendota and the citizens living in serviceable areas can get cheap internet connectivity. The city thrives on agriculture and farming predominantly and has many low-income families and businesses who all can take advantage of the cheap internet service from the Telco. Information about the launch of AT&T® Fixed Wireless Internet has been conveyed to many of the residents via email.

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The access to the internet without satellite has reached Mendota city recently where the citizens were used to slow-speed internet access thus far but not anymore. AT&T® rolled out the broadband service to all the citizens living in the California area courtesy the initiative from Federal Communications Commission. Adding more insights to the affordable broadband from AT&T®, Julie Tone, the Director of External Affairs for the State said, “Fixed wireless technology is a connection between an AT&T® tower and an outdoor fixed piece of equipment at the customers home or a business and it provides a connection into the home to a WiFi router.”

AT&T® Fixed Wireless Internet would provide a chance to the citizens to access broadband at 10 Mbps minimum at a cost which would be affordable to most in Mendota. “This is great news, that we were picked as one of the selected areas and it is something that we have been waiting for a while,” said Robert Silva, the Mayor of Mendota. “It is great for the businesses, community, great for the Ag folks, so they can get involved.”

Commenting on the imitative, Ismael Herrera, the Associate Director of Office of Community & Economic Development, Fresno State said, “There are communities up and down the San Joaquin Valley, who do not have a connection to the internet at any speeds and there are many more who have connections, but the speeds are not adequate.”

04 Dec

Net Neutrality Commitment of Comcast® Has Changed

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Comcast® has recently changed their net neutrality policy and the change is raising eyebrows. The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to vote to dismantle the net neutrality rules, which governs how the different internet providers of the country can distribute data, music, and movies online.

Comcast® had deleted a reference that they would not “create paid fast lanes,” which is the part of the net neutrality rules passed in the year 2015. As per the open internet or net neutrality rules, internet providers should not favor a type of data over the other, meaning that businesses like Comcast® cannot let their movies and videos stream faster than that of Netflix or any other streaming service providers.

The change of policy by Comcast® came after the announcement of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to roll back the net neutrality rules that existed before so “the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet,” he said in a recent statement. FCC will vote on Dec 14 to dismantle the regulations.

Sena Fitzmaurice, who is the spokeswoman of Comcast® said that they do not plan to introduce paid prioritization, blocking, or throttling any data. She quoted a paragraph in the FCC filing of Comcast in July 2017, which says, “We do not and will not … discriminate against lawful content.” In the filing, Comcast® also asked FCC to consider a “flexible approach to prioritization,” where the paid prioritization plans could be compelling for autonomous vehicles or telemedicine applications, which will require instant transmission of data.

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Net Neutrality Commitment

“Is the language exactly the same in 2017 as 2010? No,” Fitzmaurice said. “Part of the filings we did this year about paid prioritization is that there have been some things in the marketplace that have come out and been pro consumer. Some people call it ‘Zero ratings.’ Some people call it paid prioritization, like T-Mobile’s BingeOn plan. A lot were up in arms about it but a lot of consumers seemed to like it.”

BingeOn feature of T-Mobile® allows users to watch video from Sling®, Netflix, and other streaming services without affecting the data use, but at a lower resolution. Opponents said that this could be violating the net neutrality rules due to the throttled speeds. T-Mobile® said that it is up to the user to turn on or off the feature and that, the service is open to all the streaming TV providers, hence it does not violate the open internet policies.

Fitzmaurice reiterated the stance of Comcast® and said, “No matter what the skeptics say, you can’t accurately convert an unequivocal statement that Comcast has no plans to enter into any paid prioritization arrangement into plans for paid prioritization. As we’ve made clear consistently, regardless of how the FCC rules turn out, we will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content.”

09 Nov

Hughes Network® Enters into Contract with OneWeb for Developing Ground Network System

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Ground Network System

Hughes Network Systems® has declared that it entered into a contract worth $190 million with OneWeb for the development of a ground network system. The contract also covers the sustaining of the Low Earth Orbit satellites owned by OneWeb and strives to offer affordable broadband internet service to numerous schools, households, and other users. Hughes Network Systems®, as the leading provider of satellite broadband and other cheap internet services, will achieve a wider network reach across the country and the rest of the world by entering into this contract with OneWeb.

The current contract is an upgrade to the original system development agreement that the two companies signed in the year 2015. This contract had an estimated total value of above $300 million for both the companies. This agreement covered many aspects such as the development of gateway sites that consists of multiple tracking satellite access points. This will maintain operations and the switching of high-speed user internet traffic amongst the satellites.

Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb said, “The start of production of the ground system is a major step towards fulfilling OneWeb’s goal of bridging the digital divide, leaving no one behind. Hughes has been an outstanding technology partner and we are excited to deploy this essential part of our network as we ramp up to launch the first of our fleet early next year and provide service to every rural home in Alaska starting in 2019.”

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John Corrigan, senior vice president of Engineering for Hughes® stated, “Designing a ground system capable of supporting hundreds of LEOs with seamless handoff of broadband traffic between satellites presented a significant challenge. But our team was up to the task, and we are proud to be partnering with OneWeb on realizing this revolutionary satellite communications system to close the global digital divide.”

OneWeb was set up with a goal to provide affordable internet access to everyone in the world. OneWeb is actually a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites intended to extend the network connectivity to almost everyone in this world and thereby bridge the prevailing digital divide. Hughes Network® and OneWeb had begun the combined development of the ground network just about two years ago.

The current contract signed between the two companies has included many aspects. It mainly consists of the provision of necessary equipment that will offer support to the multiple satellite access points at gateway locations across the world. These access points will contain a custom switching complex, power amplifiers, and outdoor modems. The shipments are estimated to commence from mid-2018 onwards.


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