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10 Feb

AT&T To Implement Wireless Internet Over Power Lines

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Wireless Internet

The telecom giant AT&T Inc. is looking forward to providing high-speed wireless internet through the power lines across the nation. The company has announced that it had made a recent breakthrough in the process. Currently, the carrier is in talks with various power companies for testing its Project AirGig at more locations, which will be determined in the coming months. The primary location for these testing is in the U.S.

AT&T announced Project AirGig in September stating about the ease of installing these technology than fiber cables. It runs over a license-free spectrum while also delivering ultra fast wireless connectivity across homes and mobile devices. AT&T’s chief strategy officer John Donovan recently explained about the project in a statement. He said that, “Project AirGig has tremendous potential to transform internet access globally—well beyond our current broadband footprint and not just in the United States.”

This project will be instrumental in enabling low cost internet in rural areas and cities where the ample presence of power lines will make the connectivity option much easier. AT&T Labs have recently developed the technology for 4G LTE and 5G multi gigabit mobile networks through power lines. This is possible by the low-cost antenna and devices located on power lines that can regenerate millimeter wave signals for mobile communications.

“We are looking forward to begin testing the possibilities of AT&T Labs’ invention for customers and utility companies. AT&T is focused on delivering a gigabit-per-second speed everywhere we can with our wired and wireless technologies,” Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer, said in a press release. “Project AirGig represents a key invention in our 5G Evolution approach.”

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This broadband over power lines technology has already undergone outdoor trials by the company. The recent tests have yielded positive results according to the company and they are moving into the next stage of the testing. These outdoor field trials are also a good way to demonstrate Project AirGig’s support of the smart grid technologies owned by power companies.

AT&T stated that the rigorous trials undertaken would help them to accurately find out the deployment costs while also maintaining the highest signal quality. The patent for this new technology is still pending and its introduction into the market will result in lesser hardware and installation costs while maintaining the high internet speed.

08 Feb

AT&T To Acquire FiberTower For Millimeter Wave Spectrum

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AT&T FiberTower Deal

AT&T officials recently announced that the company has decided to acquire FiberTower as well as the millimeter wave spectrum rights owned by the company. The amount related to this purchase by AT&T is still unclear.

FiberTower is a company that provides wireless services to enterprises, government bodies, and carriers alike. FiberTower’s services are mainly used by carriers for backhauling their wireless networks. The acquisition of the FiberTower has numerous benefits for AT&T in its 5G cellular services and the centralized radio access networks. This has been a part of AT&T’s efforts to lay groundwork for its future networking solutions.

It is reported that FiberTower has been actively marketing its wireless solutions to major carriers and has licenses in most areas like Washington D.C., Boston, Baltimore, and Detroit. Its 24 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum can provide more than 200 high capacity links per square kilometer.

AllNet Insights states that FiberTower currently owns about 8.4 billion MHz POPs that is 8.4 billion 39 GHz and 374 MM 24 GHz. The company has previously lost many of its spectrum licenses by the actions of the Federal Communications Commission. The failure in building the required infrastructure to provide the spectrum is the reason attributed to the cancelling of the licenses by the FCC. However, the company has come up with retaining some of its spectrum thereby avoiding the loss of the licenses it holds.

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Once the standard is correctly defined, this millimeter wave spectrum will play a crucial role in AT&T’s 5G network plans. The Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and AT&T have already experimented with this spectrum. Their efforts have been largely successful in demonstrating a millimeter wave system capable of providing speeds of 1 gigabit per second.

By acquiring the spectrum, AT&T plans to install its remote radio heads connected to the central baseband units. Fiber is the preferred medium for these wireless links. The installation process for every C-RAN deployment will prove to be more costly and impossible due to many issues pertaining to permitting and zoning.

Reports say that Verizon Communications has also acquired accessibility to the spectrum licenses of 28 GHz and 39 GHz. It had brought these licenses through the purchasing of XO Communications. The carrier for buying the licenses later has secured the necessary rights for leasing XO’s licenses.

07 Feb

Bars In Greater Lafayette Area Experience Game Blackouts

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NBC And FOX Network

Many local bars were not able to watch the first game of the World Series last year, as they were greeted with a black screen on their television due to the dispute between the cable service provider and channels. However, they were able to catch the actions of the remaining matches when the cable provider entered into a carriage agreement with the channels.

Many bar managers and owners believed that they would not have to face any blackouts in the future. However, DirecTV has proven these bar owners wrong, as bars in Greater Lafayette area regularly experienced game blackouts since the beginning of World Series on both NBC and FOX network affiliates.

A major portion of bars usually subscribe to DirecTV as their cable provider. This is because DirecTV is the only cable service provider that offers full National Football League package to businesses. However, the recent blackouts have disappointed them all.

The owner of Bobby T’s Pub, Robert Turner said, “If you’re a sports bar you have to have DIRECTV because they have exclusive rights to the NFL package. They have a monopoly on the ticket.” Turned added that the bars were filled with people to watch the blacked-out game.

Turner and other bar owners stated that when they reached out to DirecTV for complaining against the blackout of the games, they replied that the blackout was a result of ongoing contract negotiations between the provider and local channels. However, a recent statement made the communications representative of DirecTV, Tamara Rader, stated that the blackout of games were actually due to technical issues.

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“We are currently unable to provide the FOX signal to these customers due to technical issues. We expect to resolve those technical issues soon,” Rader said. Commenting on that, the general manger at Professor Joe’s Sports Pub & Pizzeria, Kristine Brower said that there are no patterns to which games are being blacked out and there is even no notice, which indicates that the games are being blacked out.

“It’s been totally random. The World Series game was the first time. Three weeks later there was a Sunday night football game. And this past Sunday it was the 4:30 p.m. football game. We had no heads up,” Brower said. However, reports from several reliable sources indicate that DirecTV is determined to solve the issue and to end the blackout of the games in a few weeks time.

31 Jan

AT&T Extending Services To Gatlinburg

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AT&T Internet Services

Gatlinburg’s deadly wildfires have left AT&T speeding up its plans in providing the residents with television, internet, and phone services. It is a move aimed at offering a much viable and better option than Charter for the residents, as there has been a surge of complaints in recent weeks from many customers against Charter’s services. The company is accused of not restoring the internet and TV services while also billing the customers for services never provided. There are also complaints regarding Charter’s demand for refund from the customers by sending them refund checks.

AT&T intends to provide new services to customers in the Chalet Village and Greystone Heights by the end of July. Spokeswoman Cathy Lewandowski said, “I think folks will be pretty excited to hear there’s another service option which includes AT&T. We have already received service orders from folks who are in that area that want AT&T. This is great news for us. We’re working to provide our customers with the latest and greatest technology, so that they can do their business and have their connectivity provided by AT&T.”

After a month of the fire, Charter has successfully restored its services for Gatlinburg customers to almost sixty percent. Charter spokesperson Patti Michel brought out a statement that declared, “Charter is committed to restoring service as quickly as possible and have deployed additional crews to accelerate reconstruction. As of Jan. 18, our crews have restored more than 55 miles of network infrastructure. The percentage of customers restored is growing continually as we rebuild our network where it was damaged by the fire.”

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AT&T Plans

AT&T’s decision to implement the new services in Chalet and Greystone heights was a relief to many customers. Kristi Buchholz, whose cabin was burned up in the fire, shared her excitement on AT&T’s offering, and said, “I would absolutely consider them first, and maybe that will help the residents in another way, by making the cost of it not as high if there’s a little competition in the area. I probably would go to them over Charter based on how (Charter) treated everybody up there. I think a lot of people would do that.”

The fire affected many local businesses and the slow restoration work has caused a negative impact in the services. Alecia Hasselbeck, whose rental business is severely affected by the outage, is optimistic about AT&T’s decision to provide services in Chalet region. Many customers in the area are also awaiting AT&T in providing much better services than Charter.

30 Jan

DirecTV Cinema Offering New Releases

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The Magnificent Seven

The Video on Demand service, DirecTV Cinema, is now offering new releases to subscribers. These films are some of the best released ones in the previous year and were extremely popular among the audiences worldwide. DirecTV Cinema’s offering is a great opportunity to revisit these well-made movies. Listed below are the newly released movies that are streaming now on DirecTV Cinema.

The Magnificent Seven

Based on a screenplay contribution by the legendary Akira Kurosawa himself, The Magnificent Seven is a tale of the old west. The renewed interest in the western genre has made it a critical and commercial success worldwide. The story set in the old west tells the tale of seven outlaws hired to protect a village from savage thieves.

Apart from the resurrection of classic western culture, this movie is also reportedly filmed on 35mm film rather than digital media, in order to reconstruct the genre’s iconic look.

The Girl On The Train

This psychological thriller became an immense success critically while also scoring modestly at the box office. Based on a novel of the same name by author Paula Hawkins, the movie features an outstanding performance from Emily Blunt as a divorcee becoming involved in a man missing investigation. It is a well-made film with exceptional performances from the other cast as well.

Sully

Based on the real story of American pilot Chesley Sullenberger, Sully captivated the hearts of audiences all around the world. Veteran Clint Eastwood brings a stark depiction of terror inside the crashing plane along with an outstanding performance from Tom Hanks. It was surely one of the best movies released in 2016 and earned a reputable critical and box office success.

Suicide Squad

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Suicide Squad

One of the most popular movies of the year, Suicide Squad released to an immense box office success. It was yet another brilliant package by DC Comics with an array of popular Hollywood actors in its cast lineup. The plot follows prime time super villains being recruited by the government to accomplish the task of destroying a supernatural entity.

With an impressive dazzle of visual effects and compelling performances, Suicide Squad was a true entertainment package, and it paved way for many more DC Comics movies to hit the big screen.

Finding Dory

Released as a sequel to the celebrated movie Finding Nemo, this 3D animated movie was a huge success both critically and commercially. Finding Dory is the story of the blue tang fish searching for her lost parents and the adventures encountered along the way.

24 Jan

AT&T Claims 200,000 Plus DirecTV Now Sign Ups In Q4

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DirecTV Now Subscribers

AT&T recently said that they have added more than 200,000 new video subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2016, and that all the sign ups were driven by their new DirecTV Now service, which is their internet-delivered pay TV service. In a filing with the SEC, the Telco said that the gain in the video subscribers includes only the paying subscribers.

“While it’s early days, our recent conversations with investors have focused heavily on whether [virtual pay-TV service providers] will be incremental vs cannibalistic, and we’ve been arguing incremental,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall said. “This potentially sets up Q4 results for interesting subscriber commentary.”

DirecTV Now service was launched by AT&T on Nov 30, and the service has been plagued with many technical issues and glitches since then. One of the service outages lasted for many hours last week and this outage angered many of the customers of the very young over the top offering from AT&T. Many subscribers demanded for refunds owing to the service interruptions, but AT&T refused to offer any refunds to the users who are unhappy with the DirecTV Now service.

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Earlier, AT&T executives had promised to shakeup the pay TV industry with the introduction of the DirecTV Now service that is priced competitively. DirecTV Now service starts at thirty-five dollars a month for sixty-four channels offering to a package offering of up to 130 channels for just seventy dollars per month. Local channels on the DirecTV Now service are available in select markets from NBC, ABC, Telemundo, and Fox. AT&T does not have a deal with CBS for their DirecTV Now service though.

AT&T said that the rates of their DirecTV Now service will increase in time, but promised that the early adopters will have the promotional pricing for as long as they use the service. AT&T also offered Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV devices to those users who committed to a three months or one-month plan deal respectively.

In addition to that, AT&T said that they have added more than 900,000-branded net domestic wireless in Q4. Yet reports say that around 700,000 2G users deactivated their accounts in the quarter. “We have discontinued service on virtually all of our 2G cell sites,” the Telco said. AT&T is scheduled to report their Q4 earnings on Jan 25.

23 Jan

AT&T Is Determined To Offer A Great Viewing Experience At Hotels

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Great Viewing Experience

The telecom giant AT&T is determined to transform the in-room entertainment for lodging guests and hotels through the DRE (DIRECTV Residential Experience) with DIRECTV CINEMA. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that AT&T will offer features such as interactive program guide, hottest new Pay Per View releases, premium content and select DVR features to customers in addition to the existing DRE features.

This means that guests will be able to access the entire content library of popular networks such as SHOWTIME and HBO. In addition to that, the telecom industry also stated that they are planning to add the contents from Encore, Starz, Cinemax, and other major networks in the near future.

However, guests will not have to login, authenticate, or subscribe to an account in order to enjoy this exciting offering from AT&T. Guests will be able to watch whatever they want, whenever they want. That too, on the best screen available to them (on the hotel room HDTV).

The vice president of commercial DIRECTV sales for AT&T, Doug Eichler recently said, “We are excited to put control of the latest and greatest content and technology in the hands of hotels and their guests. Properties with DRE have an advantage because they can offer their guests some of the comforts of home.”

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DirecTV Cinema

DIRECTV CINEMA with On Demand offers an incredible viewing experience to guests. The provider does this by using an on-premises video storage and caching server. Guests will be able to enjoy numerous other benefits through this server such as significantly reduced cost of long-term high-speed internet access and minimize guest Wi-Fi usage through video streaming.

In addition to that, AT&T will also offer On Demand Equipment and DIRECTV CINEMA to the hotels, who have currently subscribed to the DRE for zero additional charges. AT&T also noted that the properties, who subscribe to the DRE, would be able to offer guests customized TV messaging, express checkout, and a complete folio review.

AT&T’s DRE is currently available in more than 4,500 hotel locations in the country and it includes some of the properties managed by Starwood, Hyatt, Best Western, and others. Reports indicate that AT&T is also planning to expand the DRE to several other locations in the United States in the upcoming months.

20 Jan

DirecTV Acquires Mystery Series “The Five”

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Harlan Coben’s The Five

One of the popular cable service providers in the United States, DirecTV, recently secured the Latin American distribution of “The Five”. This TV series was created exclusively for television viewers by Harlan Coben. Reports indicate that this TV series will be available to OnDIRECTV viewers from March 27, 2017.

OnDIRECTV is the exclusive entertainment channel of DirecTV Latin America and it offers a number of exciting TV shows and other programs to viewers. The Manchester-based RED Production Company (“Happy Valley”) of Nicola Shindler is the producer of this mystery TV series and it is actually produced for the U.K.’s Sky 1 network. DirecTV had also acquired two TV series, “The Last Panthers,” and “Spotless” from STUDIOCANAL a few months ago, and the addition of a new series would hopefully boost their subscriber base.

However, reports claim that the “The Five” will be available to the Japanese viewers before it debuts on OnDirecTV. This TV series has already been aired on Spain’s Telefónica, Australia’s SBS 1, New Zealand’s SKY, the Netherlands’ NPO, Israel’s Yes DBS, France’s CANAL+, and Radio-Canada for French-speaking Canada, and on Italy’s TIMvision.

The general manager of OnDIRECTV, Willard Tressel said, “We’re thrilled to offer Harlan Coben’s The Five exclusively to our subscribers in Latin America. Harlan is recognized as a master of creating mysteries with unexpected twists and turns. We believe our viewers will be captivated by the kind of storytelling now brought to the screen—that has put over 70 million books in print worldwide.”

The executive VP of sales and marketing at STUDIOCANAL recently commented, “We are very pleased to announce yet another significant deal for The Five and I’d like to thank Beatriz Campos, STUDIOCANAL’s VP of sales, and our Miami-based consultant Daniel Rodriguez for securing the perfect broadcaster for this drama in Latin America.”

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“This acquisition continues our successful relationship with DIRECTV, following their broadcast of The Last Panthers and Spotless last year, and we are sure that the riveting story line and high production values of The Five will make it another must-see choice for DIRECTV viewers across the region,” he added.

The last two DirecTV acquisitions from STUDIOCANAL were highly greeted by the viewers and this urged the cable service provider to offer more contents from the channel. DirecTV hopes that the acquisition of these channels will attract more film and TV show lovers to their offerings.

18 Jan

AT&T Refuses To Sign An Agreement With WISC-TV

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AT&T Channel Agreement

WISC-TV was removed from the channel lineup of AT&T U-Verse a few days ago. Reports indicate that WISC-TV had made multiple offers to the cable provider in order to resolve the dispute and to make their contents available to AT&T U-Verse customers. However, the media giant AT&T responded that they are not willing to accept any of these offers.

The vice president and general manager for WISC-TV, Tom Keeler said, “After rebuffing our many attempts to find a fair solution, one of two things is clear. The enormous, multi-billion dollar company AT&T either hasn’t bothered to notice a relatively small number of subscribers in one Midwestern market or they don’t place any value on our local station.”

As a result of this dispute, AT&T U-Verse customers were not able to access the contents of WISC-TV and CBS. This means that AT&T U-Verse customers will miss the News 3 local newscasts and many other popular programs such as the NFL playoffs, NCIS, 60 Minutes, and The Big Bang Theory.

However, officials from WISC-TV stated that the contents of the channel will be available to all the viewers in South Central Wisconsin over the air, but users will need an antenna for that. They also added that they expect a fair payment from cable companies, as they are using the contents offered by the station to make huge profits.

The parent company of WISC-TV, Morgan Murphy Media, was able to sign agreements with many cable service providers in Wisconsin over the last few weeks, although the company has failed to reach a settlement with AT&T. Officials from WISC-TV claimed that AT&T has refused to pay a fair settlement to the station.

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Keeler said, “We can’t simply hope that AT&T suddenly wants to play fair. Unfortunately, we have to recommend viewers switch providers since there seems to be no desire for AT&T U-verse to come to an agreement.” He also added that the contents offered by the station would be available through all other cable providers in the region.

On the other hand, AT&T representatives said that the local station is demanding a bigger settlement fee and that is the reason for the blackout of these channels. Officials from AT&T also added that they are trying to reach a fair settlement agreement with the local station.

13 Jan

AT&T Chief Meets Donald Trump

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Randall Stephenson

The proposed merger of AT&T with Time Warner has remained the top priority for Thursday’s meeting between the President-elect Donald Trump and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. However, the meeting ended without any discussion on the company’s proposed merger.

The telecom company released a statement after the conclusion of the meeting saying, “Mr. Stephenson had a very good meeting with President-Elect Trump earlier today covering a wide-range of topics. AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner was not a topic of discussion.”

Meanwhile, the statement also contained remarks on other aspects that the company could excel by working with the Trump Administration. It said, “The conversation focused on how AT&T can work with the Trump administration to increase investment in the U.S., stimulate job creation in America, and make American companies more competitive globally.”

Experts believe that successful implementation of this is possible, as AT&T has a record in capital spending, which surpassed Verizon’s $16.5 billion spending with its $18.7 billion in 2015. This has also earned AT&T a top position in the Progressive Policy Institute’s list of investment heroes in the US.

It is to be noted that AT&T’s proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner got a lot of criticism from Trump during his early campaign. He feared that it would give immense power to the company and rejected the notion completely. This issue was also raised in the Senate hearing last month that showed how AT&T could opt for favoring of its own content like CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros.

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Donald Trump

Insiders say that Trump’s severing relation with CNN has also played a role in delaying the merger between the two companies. The news organization has taken intense scorn from the President-elect, particularly on the recent allegations levied against Trump regarding his election victory attributed to external elements.

Recent accusations by Washington on the Russian tampering of the elections also caught the attention of the media for a while. The intelligence agencies also warned that Russian operatives might have compromising personal and financial information about Trump. However, the President-elect made it a fake news by refusing to answer the queries from the CNN channel’s anchor Jim Acosta.

As for AT&T, the Telco is the largest internet and cable provider in the US with almost 25.3 million subscribers, and has dominated the business for quite some time now. All the reputation of AT&T still offers some amount of optimism regarding the deal.

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