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31 Mar

Comcast Launches Its Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service

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Xfinity Prepaid Internet

Comcast Corporation has commenced operations of its prepaid internet service according to the latest announcement made by the company. The service that has been under trial and testing for many years is now available to all Xfinity customers. With the launch of this new service, Comcast is also considering the release of a prepaid video product by the end of the year. The introduction of this new prepaid package will offer the customers in paying for the internet service and refill for seven to 30 days.

Comcast one of the major internet providers is also collaborating with Boost Mobile for the wide-scale distribution of its Xfinity Prepaid Internet packs. The company is achieving this distribution through more than 800 participating Boost Mobile stores located in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Through this, Xfinity Prepaid services are made available to approximately 4000 Boost Mobile stores that are covered across Comcast’s footprint by the year-end. In addition, the partnering company, Boost Mobile is also offering a $5 discount on Comcast’s prepaid internet products.

The Xfinity Prepaid Internet consists of a starter kit for customers priced at $80. This comes along with a wireless DOCSIS 3.0 gateway that enables internet providers to offer speeds of up to 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. In addition, the customers can also refill the service for a price of $15 for 7 days and $45 for 30 days. The package never includes a credit check or annual contract and just requires customers to be 18 years or older for signing up.

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Comcast Xfinity Customers

Comcast conducted the trials and testing of these services in 2012 and this new announcement is a direct response to Verizon’s launch of its Fios Prepaid internet service. However, Comcast’s latest offering is focused mainly on customers without bank accounts or any other postpaid service. In addition, Comcast has also imposed several restrictions on the service like the inability for use on an address that has an active billed service account with the company. These policies are implemented mainly for preventing any misuse of its post-paid base.

John Dixon, VP of consumer services group at Comcast said, “This offering is all about providing customers a flexible and predictable service that can accommodate individual lifestyles and financial needs. Our prepaid service gives people more control over their monthly bills and lets families get easy Internet access for their home whenever they want it.”

25 Mar

Comcast Announces Major Leadership Change

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Comcast Leadership Change

Comcast Corporation is one of the leading internet providers in the country and they offer some of the best and cheap internet deals to their customers. The telecom giant recently announced that Dave Watson would hold the position of President and CEO of Comcast Cable from April 1, 2017. Officials also said that the previous President and CEO of the company, Neil Smit, would become the Vice Chairman of Comcast Corporation.

The officials from Comcast also confirmed that Watson and Smit would work closely for a few months in order to ensure a smooth transition of the leadership. They also added that Smit would also be engaged in a part-time work with the leaders of Comcast for developing future technology-oriented business opportunities.

Smit has served the role of head of Comcast Cable for seven years and he has had a wonderful career with the company. He also held several senior executive positions at Nabisco, Charter, and AOL, before he joined Comcast. On the other hand, Watson joined Comcast Corporation back in the year 1991 and he was Comcast Cable’s Chief Operating Officer since the year 2010.

Watson has also held several senior roles with the telecom company such as the leadership of sales, marketing, product, and advertising functions. He has also partnered with Smit to run the cable division of Comcast Corporation earlier.

The Chairman and CEO of Comcast, Brian L. Roberts said, “Dave Watson is the perfect new leader of Comcast Cable. There are few people in the cable industry who have his breadth and depth of experience. Dave, along with Neil and the executive teams across the cable division, drove the operating strategy and execution that have led to phenomenal growth over the last several years as well as our focus on the customer experience and the improvements we have made recently. Dave knows the business and has a track record of delivering results.”

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Technology-Oriented Business

He further stated that, “Neil has been an extraordinary leader and has helped transform Comcast Cable into the top cable and broadband company in the nation. He is not only an exceptional executive, but he is also one of the finest individuals with whom I have had the privilege to work. Neil and his team have created an innovation engine at Comcast Cable, with countless new and game-changing products and businesses.”

“We are also so appreciative and inspired by Neil’s service as a Navy SEAL,” Robert added. “While the personal sacrifices he made on behalf of our Country can never be repaid, all of us who know Neil are very grateful for his service. As Neil cuts back on his full-time role, I am delighted that he will continue to work with us.”

24 Mar

AT&T Continues Expansion Of Their Fiber Internet

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AT&T Fiber Internet

AT&T has expanded the reach of their fiber internet service to 51 cities in the United States and they are not stopping. They recently announced their plans to expand fiber internet services in existing markets and add more areas to that list.

The expansion is centered on 17 existing metro areas where AT&T currently operates their fiber optic service. This means that AT&T will be offering internet speeds as fast as 1,000 Mbps (lower than that in real usage scenario) to more than four million US homes.

AT&T has not introduced fiber networks in some of the metropolitan areas like New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. However, they currently offer their gigabit services to users in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Chicago areas. These plans start at 80 dollars a month for internet services only and the plan charge will jump to 119 dollars after the first year.

The gigabit offering does not provide cheap internet, but AT&T is planning to expand the fiber internet across the US soon to fulfill that. As the Telco giant is moving forward with their fiber internet plans to be the fastest internet provider in the country, many other internet providers like Verizon, Comcast, and Charter are also trying their best to follow the trend.

This news might be disheartening for those users who are looking for an alternative faster internet service. However, reports suggest that the biggest supporter of gigabit internet outside the telecom circle, Google Fiber, has been struggling lately.

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As part of the restructuring of Google as Alphabet, Google Fiber has found itself under the Access unit of Alphabet. Google Fiber has been pressured to find an easy route to profitability and to cut down operation costs. Laying fiber is an expensive and time-consuming process and this puts the Alphabet unit at a disadvantage while competing with the big players like AT&T who have invested billions of dollars in infrastructure.

These issues and developments have made Google Fiber to pause their plans to expand. They are even considering ditching their fiber optic cabling for wireless as a delivery option after they have purchased Webpass, which is a San Francisco based internet provider. On the other hand, AT&T representatives said that they are planning to expand the reach of their fiber internet service to 67 cities and 12.5 million homes by mid-2019.

21 Mar

AT&T And IBM Launches New IoT Analytics Solution

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IoT Analytics Solution

AT&T, along with the multinational technology company IBM, has opened up a new collaboration with their respective technologies, the IoT solutions and IBM Cloud. This will provide a new way for the companies to gather more value from their data in a relatively simple way.

The collaboration between the two companies has resulted in the development of the latest AT&T IoT analytics capability. This will enable AT&T’s Enterprise customers in changing their industrial IoT data into analytic insights, which will prompt them to take quicker action in improving their business operations.

IoT has witnessed tremendous growth due to the increasing demand for real-time operations data. By the introduction of this new service, AT&T and IBM provide the enterprise customers of AT&T with key insights into their industrial IoT data. This is done by using AT&T M2X, Flow Designer, Control Center, and other IoT solutions. IBM Watson IoT, IBM Watson Data Platform, the fastest data ingestion engine, and IBM Machine Learning Service is also available to the Enterprise customers.

This new service will enable companies to use their own IoT generated data to improve the maintenance prediction and optimization of their systems. Chris Penrose, President of IoT Solutions at AT&T said, “Businesses are eager for actionable data insights from their connected devices that help improve their processes and take the guesswork out of decision-making. Integrating the IBM Watson Data Platform into our IoT capabilities will be huge for our enterprise customers.”

Steve Canepa, General Manager of Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment at IBM stated that, “With the tremendous growth in IoT adoption comes the need for more tools and services that will unlock the value in the IoT data being generated.”

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AT&T IoT Analytics

“As part of our continued collaboration to drive innovation, IBM is working with AT&T to combine our strengths and expertise to combine analytics solutions on the IBM Cloud that will enable AT&T’s enterprise customers to utilize their complex data in a meaningful way and deliver insights that can help accelerate their business transformation,” Canepa added.

This strong collaboration between AT&T, which is one of the best internet providers in  the US, and IBM will bring forward new IoT innovations to the market. The alliance is expected to bring about advancements in wireless connectivity, enhanced analytics, and cognitive capabilities.

Earlier in 2016, AT&T and IBM had proposed plans for integrating many of its IoT and cloud platforms. This is now a reality, as developers have now access to these capabilities, which enables them to build, organize, and scale their IoT applications.

15 Mar

Sling TV Enhances Accessibility In Its Cloud DVR Feature

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Better Accessibility

Sling TV, Dish Network’s streaming television service, has launched its latest cloud DVR feature for more customers through its “First Look” early access program. First announced back in the month of November, the DVR feature solely existed as private beta for Roku users until now. It is expected that the feature would be available to all Sling TV subscribers soon.

The cloud DVR feature functions like a standard DVR and the recordings are stored in the cloud instead of a hardware device. Furthermore, Sling’s cloud DVR lets the user record several programs at the same time. This, however, is unavailable for all the channels because of the rights negotiations that exist between Dish and other broadcasters.

However, Sling is not offering unlimited storage or any other storage options to the customers. Besides that, “First Look” customers need to pay an extra charge of $5 per month for storing up to 50 hours of recordings. When the intended storage space runs out, the initially watched recordings are selectively removed first to save space for the newer ones. Moreover, users have to join the “First Look” program in accessing many DVR features.

The “First Look” program offers Sling TV customers using Amazon devices the means to test the cloud DVR feature alongside the Roku beta testers. In addition, to accessibility into the cloud DVR, the users joining the “First Look” program will get access to features such as setting the recordings on the go, protecting the recordings, and grouping the recorded content into different folders.

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“Many customers have requested Cloud DVR since our launch, and as more consumers cut the cord, we know Cloud DVR is a must-have feature for many consumers,” Ben Weinberger, Chief Product Officer of Sling TV stated. “We also know some customers prefer to watch our 30,000 on-demand titles, and we don’t want to make them pay for a feature they won’t use. While other OTT providers force everyone to take Cloud DVR at a higher price, Sling TV continues to give our customers choice and control over their entertainment experience.”

Meanwhile, this new move by Sling comes ahead of the increasing competition in the streaming television market, as many newer services like AT&T’s DirecTV Now and YouTube TV have stirred up an increasing competition in the arena.

14 Mar

AT&T Launches Cheap Internet Plan For GoPhone Customers

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AT&T Internet Plan

The telecom giant, AT&T recently introduced a cheap internet plan for their AT&T GoPhone customers. The officials from AT&T confirmed that the customers who are currently under their GoPhone plan would be able to enjoy unlimited data for just $60 per month. However, AT&T GoPhone customers will have to sign up for AutoPay in order to enjoy this latest offering.

The subscribers who sign up for AutoPay will receive unlimited text, talktime, and data with a maximum internet speed of 3 Mbps. This plan is ideal for web browsing, accessing social media platforms, and for streaming standard definition video content at a maximum speed of 1.5 Mbps.

This is one of best internet deals available to AT&T customers now, because they will not have to pay any extra charges for their basic internet needs with this plan. However, the officials from AT&T stated that they would temporarily slow the internet data once the consumer exceeds the usage of 22 GB during periods of network congestion.

If you are traveling to Canada or Mexico on your vacation, then you might have earlier spent hundreds of your dollar to make calls to your friends and relatives and for using the internet. However, the latest AT&T GoPhone Unlimited plan allows you to make texts and calls to and from Canada, Mexico, and the US, which means that you will no longer have to worry about additional charges.

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AT&T GoPhone

AT&T vice president of wireless voice and prepaid products, Bob Bickerstaff said, “We’re excited to offer a truly unlimited plan for our AT&T GoPhone customers. AT&T GoPhone customers now have even more flexibility to pick the plan that fits their needs as well as the perfect device from a selection of premium smartphones they really want.”

If you are an AT&T customer who is planning to subscribe to a plan without a credit check or an annual contract and if you don’t unlimited internet data, then AT&T GoPhone plan of 6GB for just $40 a month after AutoPay is undoubtedly the best choice for you.

You will be able to access 6 GB of your internet data at a high speed, but the internet speed will be eventually reduced to 128 Kbps once you exceed the 6 GB limit during your plan cycle. You will be also able to make texts and calls to and from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.

10 Mar

AT&T Offers LTE-M Technology To Capstone Metering For Water Conservation

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LTE-M Technology

AT&T has successfully implemented its LTE-M technology for conserving water by offering its network to Capstone Metering, a water management solutions company. The carrier has also planned to introduce LTE-M technology all across the country this year.

Capstone has become one of the first customers using AT&T’s LTE-M technology in water management. For this, the LTE Category M1 is utilized that differs from the conventional categories of LTE networks focused on smartphone usage. Reports say that it uses very low amounts of bandwidth for sending smaller amounts of data at intervals, which is ideal for low power modems that connect meters and other sensors to the network.

Capstone Metering LLC was founded in 2007 and it offers innovative water management solutions to ensure effective conservation and usage. Their efforts focus on metering and monitoring water usage for the thousands of water authorities spread across the nation. For achieving this, the company connects their meters and sensors to the AT&T internet network. Apart from that, Capstone Metering also offers numerous other additions including the meter, installation, platform, training, analytics, maintenance, connectivity, and cloud database.

AT&T adviser James Brehm explains that, “Water as service moves the small and medium water districts from a [capital expense] to an [operating expense] model. There are 148,000 water authorities across the United States. They serve 98 million service connections, and about a third of those are in the top 20 to 30 cities, the next third are in medium-size cities and then the rest are split across small cities.”

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AT&T Offers

He also suggested a new method of requiring the water authorities to pay the meter fee each month. This will aid in removing all the costs involved in each of the technicians visit a water meter. Brehm anticipates that the new solution by the carrier will be highly beneficial, mainly for smaller districts. This is evident in Capstone’s claims of success and usefulness of the best internet technology by AT&T for managing water resources in larger cities as well.

Capstone has stated that such real-time data from the water meters will effectively aid in conservation efforts. The company is currently in the process of developing algorithms for detecting any leaks in the water supply systems to alert the water authorities quickly. The company has also stated that the LTE-M network is the most suitable for this use case.

09 Mar

DirecTV Cuts Price For MLB Extra Innings In 2017

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MLB Extra Innings

DirecTV has announced the price for the Major League Baseball Extra Innings out of the market package for 2017. The new price has dropped from the prices of 2016 level, but only by a meager 1.20 dollars. DirecTV in one of their posts shared this information to the public. MLB fans need to pay only 172.74 dollars to watch the complete 2017 season when compared to the 173.94 dollars price for 2016 season.

The price reduction might not seem to be a lot, but subscribers were able to see a big discount in the previous season when DirecTV, Comcast, and some other cheap internet and pay TV providers agreed to cut the price of MLB Extra Innings in 2016 and 2017. This decision was made as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that was filed by the MLB Extra Innings fans.

Comcast charged 165 dollars in 2016 for MLB Extra Innings, but they have not yet announced the pricing for 2017. In addition, DirecTV will also offer a free subscription to MLB.TV to all people buying Extra Innings. This means that the MLB fans can not only watch out-of-market games on television, but also on their mobile phones, computers, and connected devices.

This is the third time that DirecTV is including MLB.TV with the MLB Extra Innings offering. They have offered free subscription to MLB.TV in the last two seasons also.

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NFL Sunday Ticket

The net price for MLB Extra Innings remains flat as previous year and it is a good thing for the subscribers, as DirecTV is planning to increase the pricing for NFL Sunday Ticket package. It is reported that the pricing for the NFL Sunday Ticket will increase by over 9 percent before the 2017 season and by an additional 2 percent after the start of the season.

Subscribers not seeing a big increase in the pricing for the baseball package this year can be a good thing, but they should also understand that there is the potential for a price increase for the NFL Sunday Ticket season. For now, those baseball fans who wish to buy MLB Extra Innings package from DirecTV for 2017 will get a reduction in price, even though it is a small one.

08 Mar

Sling TV Expanding Its Sports Programming Packages

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Sports Programming

Sling TV, Dish Network’s OTT TV service, is widening its sports programming packages with the addition of NBR regional sports networks. This newly announced packages would be made available to the customers in selected markets later this month.

The new deal, which is announced at the start of the Major League Baseball season starting April 2, will be a delight to the customers in watching this favored sport shows on television. It will enable Sling Blue customers in accessing CSN California, CSN Bay Area, CSN Chicago, and CSN Mid-Atlantic at no additional charges involved. In addition to that, these regional networks will further aid in accessing additional NBA and NHL games.

This is an added benefit for Sling TV, as it receives MLB games national feeds from TBS, ESPN, Fox, and FS1. It is reported that YouTube is also set to jump in the v-MVPD market later this year, and would also get accessibility to regional sports networks from Fox and Yes Network. In fact, the new move by Sling matches directly with YouTube TV, as they had unveiled their plans of including regional sports networks from Comcast in their announcement earlier.

The new sports channels will be included into Sling TV’s $25 per month Blue package in selected markets only. With this, Sling TV has expanded its bundling options, appeal, and schedules since its launch into the streaming television industry in February 2015. It is only recently that the TV has introduced its extra programming packages with significant discounts in the package. It also included Kids Extra, Lifestyle Plus Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra recently to the offerings.

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Sling Sports Packages

Sling CEO, Roger Lynch has stated that, “Offering access to larger, more diverse OTT TV programming options is allowing Sling TV “to attract a much broader audience than we were able to in the beginning. Plus, we’re starting to get past at least the early phase of early adopters and able to attract people who are more comfortable switching to something like this now…We’re seeing a broadening in our demographic.”

One of the notable aspects of this announcement is that Sling TV is offering these regional sports networks for users in its core platforms and not confining it to the add-on tiers. Sling has also not raised the prices in process of its RSN additions, which is yet another noteworthy feature.

01 Mar

Cox Raises Internet And Cable Prices

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Internet And Cable Prices

Lafayette-area residents have witnessed a significant increase in the price of their internet and cable service this year. Two of the most popular internet providers in the region, LUS Fiber and Cox Communications, recently announced a raise in the price of their cable and internet services.

In addition to that, the telecom giant, AT&T also increased the price of their Internet Basic service by $2 for a month. This situation has made it almost impossible for the Lafayette-area residents to subscribe to a cheap internet service.

In a recent announcement, Patricia Thompson, a Cox spokeswoman stated that the price of the basic cable package offered by the company to its customers will be increased by $4 a month. In addition to that, she also added that broadcast surcharges would be raised by $1, which means that the customers will now have to pay $4 per month for the service.

“Cox is required to pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually to TV networks, and those costs continue to rise,” Thompson said. “We also must pay local stations for their programming, which was previously broadcast for free. These rising wholesale costs drive up retail prices.”

She added, “The broadcast surcharge reflects a range of costs associated with the delivery of broadcast TV stations to our customers. These costs may include, but are not limited to, portions of re-transmission costs, network costs, copyright costs and others.”

Cox subscribers will also have to pay a new regional sports surcharge of $3.50. Thompson stated that these surcharges have become an industry standard that the telecom providers must pay to acquire the rights for carrying the local sports teams.

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Costs Continue To Rise

Thompson also added that the internet rates of Cox have also been increased from $2 to $5 based on the service level. However, she added that these hike in prices would not affect Cox customers who bundle their data package with other Cox services.

She also indicated that Cox Digital Telephone Essential subscribers would have to pay an extra dollar, if they want to receive their service, while the Telephone Premier customers of Cox will see a decline of $2 dollar in the pricing.

Thompson also said that Cox has invested millions for the infrastructure developments of the state and the internet provider has boosted the internet speed by 50 percent in the year 2016.

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