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19 Jul

AT&T® Commences Its 5G Evolution Network At Indianapolis

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5G Evolution Network

AT&T® has declared that it has launched its ultra-fast 5G Evolution network in parts of Indianapolis. In view of this, the telecom provider has completed the upgrades for the 5G network in the region that includes centralized-RAN, 256 QAM, 4X4 MIMO, and three-way carrier aggregation.

AT&T® is certainly the fastest internet provider in many regions of the US, and implementing a full-scale development of its network and infrastructure in the city of Indianapolis will make them even more superior. Besides, this will also aid in assisting with many of the futuristic developments planned for the city such as self-driving cars.

AT&T® has made a considerable investment of more than $350 million in the last three years for developing both the wired and wireless networks in Indianapolis. Marachel Knight, senior vice president of Wireless Network Architecture and Design at AT&T® said, “We’re excited to launch these new, faster, wireless technologies in Indianapolis as we march towards standards-based mobile 5G. The upgrades in Indianapolis are crucial to the future of next generation connectivity in this city.”

Previously, AT&T’s announcement of deploying 5G Evolution network in about 20 metros by the year-end has met with criticism from other providers. AT&T® has stated that it is in the process of finalizing the standards of 5G networking technology and justified its usage of the 5G Evolution brand. Moreover, the company has made significant contributions to the development of 3GPP wireless standards process and is collaborating with numerous technology companies for deploying 5G networks across the regions.

According to AT&T® officials, the 5G Evolution network will offer twice the speeds than the standard 4G LTE network. This will allow the customers to experience a faster internet connectivity experience and download speeds than was previously possible.

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3GPP Wireless Standards Process

Customers having the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones can access this best internet service and technology upgrades from AT&T®. The company also revealed that the service would be increasingly accessible as numerous 5G Evolution capable devices are expected to be released in the coming months.

AT&T® has also unveiled its new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) and expanded the network capacity to its nine existing systems in Indianapolis. This will provide maximum internet connectivity across larger venues such as airports, shopping malls, and stadiums. The carrier expects to install the LTE-LAA and 4-way carrier aggregation in numerous parts of 5G Evolution metro areas by the year-end.

The launch of 5G network in Indianapolis by AT&T® follows the successful deployment of this networking technology across Austin lately.

19 Jul

DirecTV Now® Users Experience Streaming Issues During The Season Premiere Of “Game Of Thrones”

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Live Streaming Issues

DirecTV Now®, the online streaming service from one of the best internet providers in the United States, AT&T®, has become immensely popular among customers in a short span of time. The exciting packages offered by DirecTV Now® have attracted several cord cutters to the service over the last few months. However, reports indicate that AT&T’s streaming service encountered a few streaming issues during the seventh season premiere of “Game of Thrones”.

Several DirecTV Now® users expressed their frustration through social media platforms, as they experienced a number of live streaming issues when they tried to watch the season premiere of the show. Fans have been waiting for almost a year for the latest episode of the fan favorite TV series, “Game of Thrones” and they wanted to watch the episode without any disruptions or delays. However, DirecTV Now® failed to stand up to the expectations.

Officials say that even the HBO.com website temporarily went down during the premiere of “Game of Thrones”, so some would argue that there is no point in blaming DirecTV Now® alone. Nonetheless, reports indicate that more than hundreds of DirecTV Now® users were not able to watch the episode due to continuous interruptions. Interestingly, a representative from the telecom giant, AT&T® stated that the streaming service did not encounter any technical issues during the season premiere of the TV show but he refused to share any details on what caused the trouble.

Despite the streaming issues during the season premiere, DirecTV Now® users are hopeful that AT&T® will fix the issues before the second episode of the show airs. The second episode from this season of “Game of Thrones” will air on Sunday, which means that AT&T® will have to fix the streaming issues within a week.

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Top Rated TV Series

The VP of marketing at database load balancing software vendor ScaleArc™, Michelle McLean said, “Scaling a database is hard, and not quick. This is complicated engineering, and it often has to get paired with adjustments to the application code hitting that database. These kinds of meltdowns are common during surge events like ESPN suffered with the launch of Fantasy Football or when Macy’s suffered last Black Friday.”

McLean added, “You can prep for those events, and you can be sure that HBO prepped. But sometimes, despite all the testing, traffic levels exceed your preparation. As previous website crashes have shown, the weak spot in the technology stack was likely the database. The physics around having an application talk to multiple instances of a database remains a challenge. HBO will likely be scrambling to build more elasticity into the data tier to avoid this kind of catastrophic outage in the future.”

14 Jul

Cox® To Renew Nationwide Deployment Of Gigabit Services By 2020

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Nationwide Deployment Of Gigabit Services

Cox Communications® has renewed its strategy of deploying gigabit services across the country by the year 2020. By implementing this nationwide strategy, Cox® intends to become the fastest internet provider offering gigabit internet services to the customers. Previously, the telecom provider has made several unsuccessful attempts in expanding its gigabit speed offering across the country.

Cox® has entered with its 1-gig services into parts of 13 states among its 18 state footprint. Their latest announcement of nationwide gigabit deployment will pave the way for improving the internet connectivity and speeds across most regions in the country.

Recently, Cox® declared that it intends to use a strategy that involves both fiber and DOCSIS 3.1 to achieve the rollout of its 1-gig services. The deployment of fiber between its network and DOCSIS 3.1 will further expand its gigabit services across more regions of the country. In view of this, the provider has made plans in carrying out several large-scale upgrades of its HFC plant to DOCSIS 3.1 by putting new Converged Cable Accessed Platform systems (CCAP). According to Cox®, about a third of the CCAP installation would be carried out by the end of the year.

Cox® Vice President, Philipp Nutsugah stated, “Cox®, at the end of the day, is a connectivity company. And so, take the city of San Diego for instance, not only have we built out… fiber to the home in the city of San Diego, we also have a significant deployment of business B2B fiber.”

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Converged Cable Accessed Platform Systems

This will facilitate the availability of the D3.1 service to the customers by the year-end. However, the DOCSIS 3.1 service will be only available to the customers by next year.

“We’ve got some real interesting partnerships on the Wi-Fi side of the house so in the gas-lamp district, as an example, we worked with the city of San Diego… for them to allow us to hang, unobtrusively, Wi-Fi access points on those historic streetlamps throughout that district,” Nutsugah further added. “We’ve partnered with them to have Cox® Wi-Fi all through Balboa Park. We got on the USS Midway. So we have worked very closely with the city of San Diego to have that connectivity available.”

By implementing a combination of fiber and node plus zero, Cox® will be able to offer much larger bandwidth and capacity for other features such as public Wi-Fi services. Moreover, Cox’s significant investments in broadband connectivity across the country will also make possible the development of smart cities in the near future.

12 Jul

AT&T® Supports Open Internet Policy And Joins Internet Action Day

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Open Internet Policy

AT&T® recently said that they are looking to join Title II fans’ Internet Day of Action. AT&T® is calling for the Congress to step in to preserve the open internet. Many of the internet service providers have argued that the fans of Title II do not have monopoly on protecting net neutrality.

“This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T® is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free internet,” AT&T® senior executive VP Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post. “But that’s exactly the point – we all agree that an open internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world.”

“On the eve of this ‘Day of Action,’ AT&T® reaffirms our support for an open internet based on protections that are fair and equal for everyone. We hope Congress can reach agreement on these principles and make those protections permanent,” he added.

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Internet Action Day

The participation of AT&T® in the Internet Action Day includes running print and television ads showing that they also support the open internet policy, though not based on the Title II, and saying that none of the companies should discriminately throttle or block data. AT&T® shared their agreement to the view that the internet need to be a free flow of commerce and ideas and that none of the internet providers should impede that. This has made them to join the move to support the right to access data, and applications.

The words of AT&T® covers about two of the three Title II based rules, against throttling and blocking. The third rule is against paid prioritization, is a grayer area for the internet service providers, and is not mentioned in the ads by AT&T®.

The ad also says that censorship should be avoided and that there should be good transparency. Internet service providers have been pushing the Congress to clarify that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to prevent anticompetitive throttling or blocking without the need to reclassify the ISPs under the Title II registrations.

However, that is not the type of action, which the Internet Action Day organizers are planning to have. They claim that Title II is the one and only way to offer protection to the internet against potential anti-competitive conduct.

11 Jul

CenturyLink® Abandons DSL Usage Caps By Ending One-Year Usage Metering Trials

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No Usage Caps

CenturyLink® Inc. is on course of becoming the fastest internet provider in the country, and in view of that, the Telco has terminated their one-year trial in Washington by getting rid of the usage caps for low-speed DSL users. The provider has stated that the trials of the usage based metering in Washington do not comply with its intention of providing valuable offers, plans, and pricing to its DSL services.

CenturyLink® declared this new move saying, “Because this approach no longer aligns with our goal to simplify offers and pricing for our customers, we have decided to end this program, effective May 3, 2017.”

CenturyLink’s new declaration concerning the data caps and metering will provide bill credits to the customers based in Yakima, Washington who were charged with excessive fees during the trial periods. The company has stated that, “If you incurred overage charges related to this program, those charges will be credited and appear on your June or July monthly billing statement. No action is required on your part, and there are no impacts to your existing CenturyLink® service.”

Reports say that CenturyLink® has commenced the launch of its metered billing in the previous year that focused on select DSL customers based in Yakima, Washington.

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CenturyLink® Internet

As a part of the trials, the company imposed a 300 gigabyte-per-month cap along with overage fees of $10 for every additional 50 GB of usage. In addition, there were numerous other usage caps put forward by CenturyLink® such as 150 GB to 250 GB according to the speed of the customer’s line. However, there were no additional charges imposed by the company for the user penalties such as exceeding the monthly usage allowance.

With 6 million subscribers, CenturyLink® arguably offers the best internet service in various parts of the country. The rolling back of its usage metering is a sign that the company is not intending to impose the overage fees into other locations under its service footprint. However, customers must still abide strictly with CenturyLink’s “Excessive Use Policy”, which puts up limitations of 150 GB or 250 GB per month to the customers.

The policy also states that it “reserves the right to disconnect your service after the third month of excessive usage in a rolling 12-month period.” CenturyLink® has also announced that automatic disconnection of customers who exceed the limits will not occur again. The provider is taking measures to encourage customers in minimizing their data usage and for upgrading to higher speed data plans.

07 Jul

Charter® Testing Its New Skinny Streaming Bundle

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Skinny Streaming Bundle

Charter Communications®, one of the fastest internet provider and cable company in the country, has commenced the testing of a sports-less streaming service that could offer around 25 channels. The service will be made available for the customers for a price of $20 per month and is offered on Android, iOS, Amazon, Xbox One, Samsung Smart TVs, and Roku devices. The major programming packages offered in this new service includes 25 of the common cable channels such as AMC, Fox, CBS, PBS, TNT, FX, and Food Network.

Justin Venech, spokesperson of Charter Communications® stated, “We are testing Spectrum Stream, an IP delivered in-home cable TV product with traditional TV everywhere out-of-home streaming, to a group of prequalified and current Spectrum® internet customers to see if this smaller package resonates with a certain segment of non-video customers. It includes local broadcast channels, 25 popular cable networks and access to thousands of on-demand choices—along with options for additional news, sports and premium channels—delivered to connected and mobile devices, without requiring a set-top box.”

Moreover, the service also provides access to premium channels HBO and Showtime for an extra fee of $7.50 per month. Popular sports programming network such as ESPN is not available in the base package of the service and is only accessible by adding an extra package for $12 per month. Charter® has christened the new service as Spectrum® Stream and is currently undergoing trials for releasing in its network.

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Sports-Less Streaming

Unlike other services by various cable providers, Spectrum® Stream is an IP-based live streaming service that is delivered via a managed network for the subscribers. It is a streaming only service with no DVR and set-top box features, which subscribers can access using their smartphones or any other streaming devices. Moreover, the subscribers are also provided with a tiered access to Charter’s huge on demand services depending on their type of subscription.

By releasing the Spectrum® Stream service, Charter® intends to expand its streaming offerings along with its best internet service. By releasing this new streaming platform, the provider will step up the competition with other major MVPDs operating in the market. Several other providers are also considering the use of such skinny bundled services such as Sling TV® with its competitive pricing. Charter’s new streaming service will provide the customers with their demanded content packages for the best prices available.

27 Jun

Senators Claim AT&T-Time Warner Merger Will Result In High Price And Low Selection

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AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Recently, a few Senators sent a letter to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions that highlighted their objection to the proposed acquisition of Time Warner® by AT&T®. The group of Senators urged the Attorney General to reject the merger if it harms the users. In the letter, 10 Democrats and an independent Senator asked the Department of Justice to closely look at the ways by which the $108.7 billion deal would increase charges for the customers and lower their access to entertainment, news content, and best internet services.

“We have strong concerns that the combined company’s unmatched control of popular content and the distribution of that content will lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services for Americans — substantial harms that cannot be remedied with unreliable, unenforceable, and time-limited behavioral conditions,” they wrote.

Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) signed the letter.

AT&T® announced their plans to buy Time Warner® in October last year. If approved, the deal between AT&T® and Time Warner® would connect one of the top entertainment providers with the largest pay TV and fastest internet provider of the country. Time Warner® owns many entertainment brands like Warner Bros®, HBO®, TNT®, TBS® and CNN®.

The merger is pending regulatory approval and the Justice Department has the power to block the deal, approve it, or approve with conditions. AT&T® came forward with the deal so they do not have to get the broadcast licenses and will not be subject to the FCC review. However, it is not clear when the DOJ will provide their review. CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson had said in April that the deal would go through by the end of the year.

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High Price And Low Selection

During the election campaign of President Donald Trump, he assured to block the deal and described it as “an example of the power structure I’m fighting.” However, since he took the Oval Office, the President was able to see only merger-friendly advisers. The President’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General for antitrust in the Justice Department is Makan Delrahim and he seems to favor the hand off regulatory.

The Senators said in the letter that AT&T® has not said how the merger would be beneficial for the subscribers. Instead, they said that their merger would limit competition and offer them reasons to limit content access or offer priority to their content over that of the others.

Stephenson had called the deal “pro-competitive and pro-consumer” at a Senate hearing in December. He added that AT&T® would “not withhold content to disadvantage someone else.”

22 Jun

AT&T® And GE Aviation Join Hands To Improve Aircraft Health Monitoring

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Improved Aircraft Health Monitoring

AT&T® Internet of Things (IoT) and GE Aviation recently announced that they have joined hands to together connect the off board and onboard parts of Aircraft Health and Trend Monitoring System (AHTMS) – powered PlaneConnect HTM systems that are used on the Gulfstream G500, G650, G600, and G650 ER jets. The companies made the announcement in the recently conducted Paris Air Show.

Experts say that the AHTMS collects the performance data of the aircraft to help find the issues before they occur. The system also helps in troubleshooting difficult to find issues with the aircraft. When an aircraft connected with the system lands, the AT&T® Global SIM and the AT&T® Control Center connects to AHTMS. If the user is okay, Gulfstream Technical Operations will be able to have access to the data to improve their Product Support. If the users choose to go with the improved support, the system will be able to:

  • Activate fleet wide comparison and issues as they arise;
  • Help and support the specialists by allowing data queries;
  • Send time stamped data to a web portal of MyGulfstream that is dedicated to the particular aircraft;
  • Provide transient issue visibility offering resolutions to the most difficult of the issues to solve; and
  • Offer data to each of the operator in an organized and prioritized way. The data offered include aircraft usage data, pressure readings, fuel consumption, and operations details.
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AT&T® Control Center

“Our focus is to help our customers and the overall industry to be more efficient,” said Darin DiTommaso, who is the VP for Digital Services and Solutions at GE Aviation. “This system improves an already great track record at Gulfstream. The beautiful part about the system is that it will continue to grow and respond as the needs of each fleet change throughout their lifecycle.”

GE Aviation makes use of AT&T® Control Center to ensure coverage across the globe of these mobile assets. They make use of secure connection and custom MPLS/VPN of the fastest internet provider to offer a very high degree of control and secure connection to the network. Experts said that the data that is transferred from the aircraft to Gulfstream Operators and Gulfstream Technical Operations would be highly secure and encrypted.

“IoT solutions have the potential to significantly transform the operational efficiency of nearly any industry,” said Chris Penrose, President of IoT Solutions at AT&T®. “It’s exciting to see that our solution with GE Aviation is giving them actionable insights into the performance and health of their planes.”

19 Jun

Word Network Files Complaint Against Comcast®

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Complaint Against Comcast®

The ongoing spat between Comcast® Corp. and Word Network has gained the attention of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently. In a complaint that was written to FCC by the Word Network, they said that Comcast Corporation® has hurt the African American ministry channel, as they dropped the channel from about seven million households in the United States. In addition, the complaint also says that Comcast® has tried to get the digital rights of Word Network in negotiations that took place in 2016.

The complaint claims that the action of Comcast® against the Word Network has clearly violated the agreement which was signed by Comcast® with FCC in 2011, as per which, they acquired the NBCUniversal entertainment. The complaint’s legal base is that Comcast® has discriminated the Word Network by treating them less favorably than the NBCUniversal channels that are owned by Comcast Corporation®. Word Network is considered as an independent programmer and Comcast® does not own it.

In the month of January, Comcast® had cut the distribution of Word Network channels to just five million US homes from twelve million. One of the cities that lost access to the Word Network was Philadelphia and Comcast® replaced the Word Network with another black ministry channel, the Impact Network.

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Digital Rights Of Word Network

Comcast® rejected all the discrimination claims of Word Network and denied that they have sought the digital rights of the network improperly. “The claims by the Word Network are baseless, and we hope the FCC will agree,” Comcast® spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said in a statement. “Comcast is broadly distributing Impact, an independent, African American-owned service, in which Comcast® has no ownership. Comcast still carries the Word Network, which is not African American-owned, to millions of our customers. The distribution decisions for these two networks are based on our reasonable business judgment.”

Many protestors traveled from Michigan by bus over the winter to picket the headquarters of Comcast Corporation® that is located in Philadelphia for their decision on the Word Network that is located in Southfield, Michigan. Some reports say that many of these picketers were paid by churches to take part in the protest.

12 Jun

Senators Claim That AT&T® Used Forced Arbitration For Overcharging Subscribers

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Forced Arbitration Clauses

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that five Democratic US senators claimed that the usage of forced arbitration clauses by the telecom company, AT&T® has allowed them to charge higher prices than the ones they normally advertise to their subscribers. The US senators highlighted a CBS News investigation, which described that “more than 4,000 complaints against AT&T® and [subsidiary] DirecTV® related to deals, promotions and overcharging in the past two years.”

According to Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), most of the AT&T® subscribers have shown little remorse, as they are currently being forced to settle disputes with the telecom giant. The senators wrote a letter to the CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson, in which they said, “Forced arbitration provisions in telecommunications contracts erode Americans’ right for seeking justice in the federal courts by urging the individuals into a privatized system, which is inherently biased in the favor of internet providers like AT&T®.” They also added that the privatized system provides virtually no way for challenging a biased outcome.

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Leading Telecom Company

“Forced arbitration requires consumers to sign away their constitutional right to hold providers accountable in court just to access modern-day essentials like mobile phone, Internet, and pay-TV services,” the letter added. The senators also stated that the forced arbitration provisions of the telecom company also “includes a class action waiver; language which strips consumers of the right to band together with other consumers to challenge a provider’s widespread wrongdoing.”

The senators further said that they are “particularly concerned about AT&T’s treatment of customer complaints alleging that the company charged a higher rate for services than initially offered in a deal or promotion.” On the other hand, the officials from AT&T® reacted to the issue by arguing that the arbitration is actually a lot more better for their customers when compared to courts of law.

In reply to that, the senators said, “Only 18 out of AT&T’s nearly 150 million subscribers sought accountability for these or other issues through individual, forced arbitration proceedings.” The senators also asked for information on how many complaints the telecom company has received on breaches of promotions, deals, and offers, in the last two years. However, we still have to wait for AT&T’s detailed take on the issue.

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