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06 Apr

How to Find the Better Home Internet Service Providers This Year

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It is really hard these days to choose well among the different home internet service providers operating in the market, mainly because of the overwhelming number of options one has to choose from. It helps to be sure on the factors that make a difference in most of the cases. The least this would do is let you narrow down options to the providers that are good for meeting your requirements. Below are some regularly useful questions regarding ISPs which would help in picking out the perfect ISP for you.

The Area Where You Live

When it comes to choosing the best ISP, the area where you live is really important, because prices and plans vary based on this. Before considering going in for a home internet connection, you would need to search for the best plans available in your area. You may not find each and every plan or carrier in every location and therefore, in order to get a good idea of the best ones, you would first need to filter based on the location where you are based at the moment. After completing that step, the next thing you have to figure out are your priorities. Heavy internet users, as well as large families or groups using a connection simultaneously, would typically give more importance to connection speed. On the other hand, if it is the price that concerns you more, then you will have to balance different aspects and even start looking at bundle packages which are offered in your area.

The Broadband Speed You Need

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In order to find out the total amount of internet speed that you actually need, you would need to consider a number of factors, including the way you use your internet connection, the number of devices you use, and the number of people living in your home.

It would always be a wiser choice to increase the bandwidth available, especially if two or more people in your home are often trying to download videos or stream movies online at the same time. For instance, it is a good idea to get 3 mbps or higher speed for standard quality streams, 5mbps speed for HD streaming, and 25mbps speed for ultra HD streaming. If your internet connection is shared among multiple users, and there are also using multiple devices online at any given time, then you will probably need speeds between 30mbps and 50mbps. If your only use of the internet is for web browsing and getting on social media, even a relatively measly connection speed of 1mbps would be fine to work with.

18 Mar

Smart TV Basics That you Need to Remember

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Smart TVs are gaining popularity by the day, as there are newer features being introduced with each product, which make life easier overall for the user. Many of today’s Smart TVs are compatible with a number of other devices you typically find inside a modern home, and help you to control these from a single source. These features have definitely had a hand in transforming a lot of people’s lifestyles. Below are a few basic things about the average Smart TV that should help you understand it better than you do already.

Connecting Your Smart TV To The Internet

Smart TVs use the internet connection in your home in order to bring you quality photos, audio, movies, and TV shows. They use either Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet to stay connected. There are several things that you need to take care of after setting up a Smart TV. One of the main ones is ensuring that Wi-Fi coverage from a fastest internet provider is available in the immediate vicinity of your Smart TV. If you have a router on a different floor, for instance, you may not be able to enjoy uninterrupted streaming.

Keeping the Connection Strong

If your smart TV is facing issues while operating, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure its connection to the internet stays strong. Ensure that your internet router is not more than three years old, so that you have a reasonable chance of getting better than good performance out of it. Also, the use of Wi-Fi range extenders and routers with mesh network are great options in cases where nearby placement is hard to achieve.

Setup, Apps, and Streaming

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There are no standard operating systems in place for Smart TVs. Each TV maker uses different firmware as well as graphical presentation methods. Interfaces and operating systems used are different for different companies.

Your experience watching videos from streaming services would almost always benefit from having the speeds guaranteed by any of the best internet providers out there. Meanwhile, you also get to use a number of popular apps which come included with most smart TVs these days. While lower-priced models promote only the most popular applications, the higher-end TVs provide more comprehensive sets of options in that area.

Does a Smart TV Crash?

Smart TVs also employ computer chips for upscaling, video processing, multiple screen display, and internet connection. That means they need memory to buffer streaming music and video, aside from additional processing power needed to make proper adjustments to rendered graphics. Sometimes this can cause a TV to crash, or exhibit glitches. That issue is mostly being eliminated with the use of quad-core processors, which bring more computing power to the table.

28 Feb

US Justice Department Not About To Appeal the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

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AT&T emerged victorious despite the drawn out attempts of the Trump administration to block its 85.4 billion dollars purchase of Time Warner, as the US Justice department said that they will not fight an appeal court ruling that approves the deal. The acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T has been watched very closely after it came under fire from president Donald Trump. Trump opposed the merger as he saw it helping the CNN unit of Time Warner, which was accused by the president of broadcasting fake news.

There was a three judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the Columbia district and they unanimously ruled in favor of the deal. They said that the case of the government that the merger will lead to increase in consumer prices was very “unpersuasive.” The decision of the panel ended a long fifteen-month effort by the Justice Department to block the merger.

This is the second major court victory for AT&T in this regard, and has set the stage for the second best wireless carrier in the country to integrate their WarnerMedia business with their new Xandr advertising unit. “We are grateful that the Court of Appeals considered our objections to the District Court opinion. The department has no plans to seek further review,” said Jeremy Edwards, who is the spokesman for the Justice Department.

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Makan Delrahim, who heads the antitrust division of the US Justice Department phoned Paul Cappuccio, Time Warner’s former General Counsel, and David McAtee, AT&T current General Counsel, to congratulate them on the victory. McAtee said the merger “has already yielded significant consumer benefits and will continue to do so for years to come.” This deal is being seen as a very important turning point in the media industry, which has been upended by businesses like Google and Netflix that offer content online without any need for cable subscriptions.

The merger was announced in October 2016 and was closed on June 14 2018 after the U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruling that the merger was legal under the US antitrust law. AT&T agreed to manage the Turner network till 28th of February, or until the conclusion of any appeal made by the US Justice Department. It was also agreed that AT&T will have no role in setting the prices of Turner to the distributors.

20 Feb

Telecom Giant in Trouble after Row with Employee

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One of the fastest internet provider in the country, Comcast® did not fail to yield to the requirements of an employee by declining to reassign her, according to a federal district court judge. The former employee had alleged that Comcast® failed to obey the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The employee, Brenda Turcotte, had her position automated and she was transferred to another dispatch work. However, her job was not easy because of the increasing work volumes, and the number of inbound calls affected her peace of mind. As a result, she took leave and made a request to the firm regarding the reassignment of dispatch job. According to the court though, she demanded jobs that were highly similar to the dispatch job. Besides, she failed to produce medical evidence to support her request and was unsuccessful in applying for jobs internally. Finally, she became an intern at another firm, ending her commitment with Comcast®.

The judge favored the cheap internet provider Comcast® in this case because it found out that Turcotte would have ended up doing the same job as she was presently doing, even if the transfer request was accepted. The ruling remarked, “It defies logic to argue that those jobs would have been a reasonable accommodation. If she could perform this function, Comcast® would have no obligation to accommodate her at all.”

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Turcotte highlighted the importance that the court gives to the ADA’s interactive process. “Managers need to be trained to dedicate extra time and effort to employees with disabilities when determining accommodations,” David K. Fram, the director of ADA and Equal Employment Opportunity services for the National Employment Law Institute commented in an interview. According to the court, Comcast® made a reasonable effort to cope with the request and make a resolution that would satisfy both parties. It said that the HR representatives and managers dedicated time to counsel, train, retrain, and organize internal job quests alongside Turcotte.

Furthermore, there were also faults on the employee’s side, which led to the verdict. Turcotte did not respond to the company’s requests for more information. She also did not reveal her true intentions to the company. Although ADA does not say that the interactive process is mandatory, it certainly favors employers who communicate well with their employees. If the employer causes the breakdown of the process, then they would be adjudged guilty of trying to take advantage of the disability. Similarly, if there were evidence that the employee caused the breakdown, then the employer would be at an advantage.

31 Jan

Why is the Subscriber Count of Netflix® Soaring High

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When Netflix® reported their fourth quarter results, the subscriber growth of the company continued the steady march upwards. The percent of the global paying customers increased by 26% per year to more than 139 million. The inclusion of 8.84 million subscribers has exceeded the 7.6 million users anticipated by Netflix®. They continue to confound skeptics by bypassing their own forecasts. However, what is leading to the addition of more subscribers.

Netflix® has long known that it is the content that matters. Since their starting, they have made use of massive amount of data that they have collected from their viewers to find out the money to be spent for their various licensing programs, the list of original programs that would be appealing to more people, and the genres to invest in. As per the latest research, this can be a good advantage for Netflix.

“Certified Fresh” Movies

Various analyses made, focusing on streaming television and cord cutting shows that Netflix® offers more movies that the viewers wish to watch when compared to the other streaming service providers. The data was used from Rotten Tomatoes to compare the popularity of the movies that are found on the top most streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video, AT&T’s HBO Now®, Hulu, and Netflix®. A movie that is deemed “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes will be maintaining a rating of 75% or more getting 80 reviews for a wide release and 40 reviews for a limited release.

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The analysis found that Netflix® had more than 596 “Certified Fresh” movies in their catalog, which is much more than Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now® combined. Amazon had the greatest selection of movies with 17,461 movies, which is followed by Netflix® with 3,839 movies, Hulu with 2,336 movies and HBO Now® with 815 movies.

Netflix® wins the battle when it comes to quality as well. While 15.5% of the movies that were available for streaming on Netflix® were “Certified Fresh”, Hulu had 9.6%, HBO Now® stood at 4.7%, and Amazon Prime, just 1.3%. This is just one measurement. However, it shows the improving quality of the library of content of Netflix®, which is attracting more and more customers to the streaming service.

28 May

AT&T® Plans to Leverage Investments in FirstNet®

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AT&T’s new plans include leveraging the company’s investment in FirstNet® for expanding its coverage in rural areas, solidifying its network and preparing cell sites for supporting 5G services through upgrades to software. In March last year, AT&T® was selected as the contractor of the nationwide public safety broadband network by the First Responder Network Authority. As per FirstNet® contract, AT&T® is responsible to build a broadband network for first responders, in exchange for commercial access to FirstNet’s 700-Megahertz spectrum and $6.5 billion grant that would be given on the condition that the fastest internet provider meets broadband deployment milestones.

Going by the contract, AT&T’s task is to provide a public safety broadband network to first responders. Yet, the CEO of AT&T® Communications, John Donovan, has said that the rural deployment of FirstNet® will not be limited to serving first responders only.

“If you look at where T-Mobile® in wireless and Verizon® in wireless are succeeding, they’re polar opposites — T-Mobile® much more urban, Verizon® much more rural,” Donovan said during an investor conference held in New York. “FirstNet® gives us a great opportunity to go into the rural markets. Not only will we be building the network for first responders, it dawned on us that we should also be putting up stores and going after the consumers. So, I think Verizon’s going to have their hands full with our strategy going forward in the more rural areas.”

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Verizon® will have to compete with AT&T® for public safety customers during this year’s second half, said the CEO of AT&T® Communications. Most of the first responder agencies to have previously signed FirstNet® contracts were commercial subscribers of AT&T®. Yet again, the fastest internet provider anticipates public safety agencies to switch from Verizon Wireless® to FirstNet® for broadband internet services, Donovan said.

“The benefit for them is that not only do they get onto a dedicated core with a fallback on the commercial network, but they also get features like preemption and all of those sorts of things that provide them benefits,” he added. “We anticipate, starting this year, to build wireless-customer growth from those, because—as I’m sure you are aware—today the preponderance of that market share sits with Verizon®, and we anticipate a lot of that moving to [FirstNet®].”

The same sentiment was echoed by Randall Stephenson, the AT&T® CEO, at an investor conference held in Boston.

29 Mar

The Public Safety Network of AT&T® is Set to Launch Nationwide

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AT&T® said that its public safety network, FirstNet, is about to be ready for nationwide consumers. The best internet provider has recently announced that local agencies can start connecting to the core infrastructure of FirstNet. AT&T® is set to keep trialing the 4G wireless network with a set number of subscribers in order to “validate that the network will be there when public safety needs it,” said Jeff Bratcher, ‎First Responder Network Authority’s Chief Technology Officer and Director of Operations. He also said AT&T® should complete the final phase of FirstNet trials by May.

The congress acquired First Responder Network Authority from broadcasters through auctions held in 2012 for that. Its purpose is to create a nationwide communication system based on emergencies, such as a natural disaster, and to serve first responders. The notion behind FirstNet was to make sure efficient use of an FCC reserved spectrum and provide network access to nationwide first responders based on priority needs.

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The public safety network makes use of FCC’s wireless spectrum with 700 MHz radio frequency band. This spectrum with low frequency enables wireless signals to not only cover long distances, but also penetrate barriers that may hinder indoor coverage such as walls. Experts in the field of public safety point out the fact that live testing of FirstNet is an important milestone in the country, although it is yet to be made available for public safety organizations.

“A lot of hard work went into this and congratulations are in order, but it is a waypoint, not a destination,” said Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, who is also the Chair of Venable’s Telecommunications Group and the former Chief of Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at FCC. “Public safety needs FirstNet’s deployment everywhere to know whether the promise of a nationwide, interoperable public safety network has been fulfilled.”

In the meantime, Verizon® has also unveiled that their 4G LTE, public safety network for first responder customers is going to be ready in the upcoming week. Upon nationwide launch by AT&T®, FirstNet will complete a suggestion that was laid out by National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States or 9/11 Commission, that documented first responder communication follies that took place during rescue operations commenced after the terrorist attack on September 11.

19 Mar

AT&T® May Extend its Fiber Gigabit Service to Warren County

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Fiber Gigabit Service

AT&T® is considering extending its high-speed fiber internet service to Warren County. The launch of fiber to the region will enable more homes and offices of the county to access superfast internet connectivity for various applications. The Telco intends to offer the Internet 1000 option for the residents of Warren County that provides them with broadband gigabit internet speeds of about 1000 megabits per second. As the fastest internet provider, AT&T® intends to further expand its broadband services to more underserved regions of the country.

Two other telecommunications companies, North Central Communications of Lafayette, Tennessee, and South Central Rural Telecommunication Cooperative of Glasgow have also announced their plans to extend high-speed internet connectivity to various regions of Warren County. This has prompted AT&T® to come up with plans to offer its own improved high-speed fiber service to the county than the two communication providers. However, the officials from AT&T® did not disclose any details related to the specific areas that it intends to offers its Internet 1000 service.

According to the statement of Cathy Lewandowski, the Lead Public Relations Manager of AT&T®, “This is our initial launch announcement, and additional details of where it will launch in parts of Warren County are not available at this time.” The Telco has already invested considerably in expanding its high-speed internet to other locations in the country. Its popular Internet 1000 service has already become functional in areas of Lexington, Louisville, and Kentucky.

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Warren County Judge-Executive, Mike Buchanon, has expressed optimism regarding the extension of AT&T’s fiber gigabit service to the county. He said, “We have worked with several providers, including AT&T®, over the past several years. Although we have had no direct communication recently from them and have been given no information as to their intended timing, scope of their commitment or which parts of Warren County they intend to commit to serve, we are happy that they have responded to our efforts.”

Warren County has become a potential investment source for telecommunication companies like AT&T® and other regional service providers for offering their services. According to Buchanon, “We have worked hard to level the playing field, to create a competitive marketplace in Warren County. We continue to meet regularly with new companies and work toward the goal of countywide accessibility of high-speed internet service to every home.”

The Internet 1000 service if made available can provide the residents of Warren County with better services that can tailor the growth of jobs and the economy. Residents can opt for this Internet 1000 service for $70 per month by bundling with another service offered by AT&T®. The internet only service will cost about $80 per month.

29 Jan

CenturyLink® Unveils Adaptive Network Security for Mobile Workforce

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Adaptive Network Security

CenturyLink® has rolled out its new Adaptive Network Security mobility service for meeting the demands of the increasingly mobile workforce and securing of information. This will become the standard basis of security for CenturyLink® after its acquisition of Level 3 Communications for a large sum of $34 last year.

Adaptive Network Security is an advanced networking solution that allows a highly secure connection to the internet and private network for remote users. It effectively minimizes any of the risks associated with data security while using personal devices and access through public unsecured Wi-Fi portals.

Chris Richter, the Vice President of Global Security Services of CenturyLink®, said, “Businesses today are embracing a global and mobile employee base. Thanks to the need for a constant connection on the devices of our choice, the concept of a ‘security perimeter’ can be difficult to define. Compounding matters are the unfortunate fact that public Wi-Fi remains highly susceptible to hacking, and mobile devices are prime targets, which is why enterprises need secure mobility solutions that do not hinder performance and flexibility. Our customers need to be confident their employees’ connections are secure regardless of connection type or device.”

With the introduction of this new technology, CenturyLink® is enhancing the features of its best internet service served across the country. It will enable businesses with more secure communications such as by providing them access to remote VPN access to corporate networks through high-security IPSec or SSL-based internet connections and a standard web browser.

End to end encryption is another notable feature along with tunneling. Besides, it will allow the enterprises to opt for concurrent use sessions depending on the expected users at a time than purchasing individual licenses for each of the mobile users.

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CenturyLink® has made available its customers access to the Adaptive Network Security service via several different gateways located at various continents such as the Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. CenturyLink’s wide-scale global VPN will cover all these gateways thus promising stringent network security to the customers accessing from anywhere. It allows remote connectivity for the employees using mobile devices while the businesses will still offer their central authentication, user role mapping, resource policies, and sign-in policies.

Chris Richter added, “It’s a big firewall in the sky with a lot more bells and whistles that make it next-gen security. The thing that was missing was mobility access. Organizations have mobile workforces using laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Maybe the office is in Chicago, but we need to access the Internet at Starbucks in L.A. This allows the mobile workforce to carry that same security policy around with them by connecting to the Internet through a regional gateway.”

11 Jan

Comcast® Upgrades Internet Speeds for Performance Pro Plan in Colorado

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Performance Pro Plan

Recently, Comcast® increased the internet speeds by 10 to 50 percent for the customers in Colorado, 3 months following a price hike to be precise. The recent upgrades to internet speeds do not incur another increase in price. If you subscribe to Comcast’s Performance Pro package, you can expect 150 Mbps in place of the previous 100 megabytes per second speed.

“The reason we are doing this increase is because new devices are coming online every day and we are staying ahead of demand through faster speeds and unrivaled technology, like our wireless gateways,” said Leslie Oliver on behalf of Comcast®. Leslie is the Director of Media and External Communications for Comcast’s Mountain West Region.

“Faster speeds help ensure people have the speed necessary to power the increasing number of devices they are connecting in the home — computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, home automation devices and more,” she added.

The change in internet speeds for Comcast® customers in Colorado applies to downstream speeds and not the upstream speeds. Subscribers will have to restart the DOCSIS 3.0 modem when the fastest internet provider notifies them that broadband is accessible in improved speeds. If the customers do not have DOCSIS 3.0 modem, they can swap the present modem for Xfinity® xFi for zero activation fees. However, customers will have to pay stipulated monthly rental by Comcast® for acquiring the wireless gateway.

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The Telco giant hiked the prices of select services and internet plans for the customers in Colorado in October 2017. Resultantly, the price of the Performance Pro package had increased by around 2.5% to $81.95 per month in October. However, Comcast’s bundled packages that combine both internet and cable service had not changed for the customers in Colorado back then.

Comcast® usually doubles the internet speeds each 18 to 24 months, added Oliver. The previous instance when the Telco upped internet speed for customers in Denver region was in September 2016. Internet speeds for Performance Pro increased from 70 megabytes per second to 100 Mbps back then.

The recent improvements in speeds for Performance Pro package will help the customers in Colorado to stream videos 50 Mbps speedily than previous speeds. However, the flipside to that is Colorado customers may reach the data limits quickly too. For customers having the right modem, Comcast® suggests a modem restart as when new speeds become accessible.

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