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28 May

AT&T® Plans to Leverage Investments in FirstNet®

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Safety Broadband Network

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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Public Safety Network

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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FCC Reserved Spectrum

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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SSL-Based Internet Connections

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.

21 Dec

Comcast® Rolls Out Gigabit Internet Service in Sacramento and Surrounding Areas

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Gigabit Internet Service

Comcast® has stated it has rolled out a 1 Gbps internet service for residential and business customers in Sacramento, California and nine surrounding cities. These offers lightning-fast connectivity across the home and businesses based in the region. Comcast® has also stated that it will provide gigabit internet connectivity to homes and business of nine communities such as Galt, Roseville, Folsom, Antelope, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Rio Linda, and Rancho Cordova in addition to Sacramento.

John Gauder, Regional Vice President of Comcast® California said, “With this offering, Comcast will have the broadest deployment of Gigabit Internet speeds throughout Northern California. This is yet another proof-point that our broadband and Wi-Fi networks are powerful, flexible and built for speed. We’ve increased internet speeds 17 times in the past 16 years and we will continue to bring California customers the absolute fastest speeds possible by proactively investing in our advanced, high-performance network.”

Comcast®, being one of the fastest internet providers in the country, has utilized the DOCSIS 3.1 technology for the new one-gigabit internet service. It is one of the best internet service offered by the Telco recently and offers greater speeds and reliability. Customers, however, need to install a new DOCSIS 3.1 modem to utilize this new internet service brought by Comcast®.

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Commenting on the same, Sacramento’s Mayor Darrell Steinberg stated, “By providing world-class internet speeds, Comcast® is demonstrating its commitment to helping Sacramento transform into an urban technology lab that will help drive economic development. The city and the region are at a critical time in our growth and Gigabit Internet speed is key for residents, telecommuters and businesses of all sizes to move the economy forward.”

For residential customers in Sacramento, Comcast® is making available its 1 Gig for a price of $159.99 per month without a contract. New subscribers for the high-speed internet service can obtain it for $89.99 per month along with a one-year agreement. Comcast’s new expansion into other markets is following the recent rollout of the xFi Advanced Gateway nationwide.

Besides, Comcast® Business is also planning to roll out the DOCSIS 3.1 service to the business customers based in Sacramento and its surrounding cities. It will make available the Business Internet 1 Gig and Business Internet 500 speed tiers to the businesses operating in the region. This DOCSIS 3.1 service from Comcast® Business allows businesses to leverage the potential of the high-speed internet and cloud-based operations.

11 Dec

Comcast® Unveils xFi Advanced Gateway Offering Gigabit Speeds

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XFi Advanced Gateway

Comcast® has launched the xFi Advanced Gateway, its first in-house Wi-Fi device capable of delivering gigabit speeds, to the customers nationwide. This marks a new shift in the best internet service offered by Comcast® as it provides the customers with advanced modem and router along with gigabit internet services. The Telco launched the device in the beginning of this year, which was available at a rate of $10 per month. According to Comcast®, the xFi Advanced Gateway is its most powerful offering that will help setup gateway for the future.

This new gateway allows the customers to use this service across the market footprints of Comcast’s Xfinity® Gigabit Internet service. The new gateway consists of 8×8 antenna array capable of handling 160 MHz that offers extra speeds, MU-MIMO (multi-user, multi-input, multi-output) technology, and multiple IoT radios for linking various smart devices. Comcast® has also carried out numerous testing with this device that produced results of about 1.5 Gbps speeds through Wi-Fi. Besides, it has several radios included such as for Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee and Thread.

According to Chris Satchell, the Chief Product Officer at Comcast®, they have conducted several trials for the device earlier this year. The gateways underwent development for a period of three years and this lead Comcast® to consider the standards available for the future. “We had to be forward leaning about standards adoption. The 8×8-antenna array is one example,” he said. “When we started, no one had more than 4×4. The growth in IoT standards was another area we had to be bleeding edge.”

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Xfinity® Gigabit Internet Service

One of the notable aspects of the xFi Advanced Gateway is its modernist design. It is unlike any other routers as it has a minimalist design with finished exteriors that makes it suitable for placing in anywhere across the home without concealing. It is designed in accordance with the Xfinity® Design Language, which is intended to offer a uniform look for all the products developed by Comcast®. Customers can easily set up this new gateway by using the xFi app of Comcast®.

This provides them with control over the setting up and managing of the Wi-Fi and networks. All these features included in the xFi Advanced Gateway is with the sole objective of extending this device into more homes across the country. “Wi-Fi is the oxygen to the digital home,” Satchell added. “If you turned off my water, it may take me 12 hours to know that. If it’s Wi-Fi that’s turned off I know in seconds.”

24 Nov

CenturyLink® Signs Contract to Offer Services to Federal Agencies

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Services To Federal Agencies

CenturyLink® and AT&T® are among many of the contractors who were offered places on the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 10-year 50 billion dollars Alliant 2 program, which the federal agencies can make use of to buy IT services and service based offerings. Alliant 2, called as Government Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC), provides the federal agencies with customizable hardware as well as IT and software solutions, which can be purchased as a single package. It offers access to about sixty-one businesses offering integrated IT solutions to meet the evolving needs globally.

CenturyLink® provides cyber security, IT, cloud, and managed hosting services over their carrier class network. “GSA’s selection of CenturyLink for an unrestricted Alliant 2 award confirms that we offer federal agencies the right tools to help them modernize their IT systems,” said David Young, who is the regional vice president of strategic governments markets for CenturyLink®. “CenturyLink® is committed to helping agencies with their digital transformation via multiple contract vehicles.”

Linda Johnson, who is the spokeswoman of CenturyLink®, said that their program will benefit their partners and those of Level 3 Communications, offering them with new opportunities. CenturyLink® completed the acquisition of Level 3 Communications on November 1, 2017.

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CenturyLink® is also one of the authorized providers of IT and telecom infrastructure services under the 10-year 50 billion dollars Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) program of General Services Administration. Alliant 2 is also a part of the Network Services 2020 strategy of GSA, together with their EIS program. The Alliant 2 program focuses to offer federal agencies the agility and flexibility to make their migration to modern IT and communications services that meet the various security standards of the federal government.

CenturyLink® is a cheap internet provider in the US and is ranked 35 on the 2017 top 100 list of the government IT contractors published by Washington Technology. They are on their move to become the fastest internet provider of the nation.

“The next generation Alliant continues to build on GSA’s success collaborating with industry partners to design solutions that support federal agencies with mission-critical, complex IT services requirements,” said Kay Ely, who is the GSA Office of Information Technology Category assistant commissioner. ”The team’s work to earn a best-in-class designation by including pricing strategies and data-driven demand management practices will serve federal agencies well, and lower costs for American taxpayers.”

03 Nov

AT&T® Launches Microservices Supplier Program by Partnering With IBM

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Microservices Supplier Program

AT&T® has collaborated with IBM to launch an all-new microservices supplier program. This represents a new software-based initiative undertaken by AT&T® that will totally change its approach in the delivery of applications and functions to businesses. With this collaboration, AT&T® and IBM will work together in the design, development, and deployment of microservices, which if fully implemented, is expected to alter AT&T’s business backend processes.

Along with the development of microservices in the sales, ordering, and enterprise data systems, IBM will also provide AT&T® an effective way to enhance its backend processing. This will be made possible as the fast and easily accessible services will result in less downtime that will enable the businesses in quickly adapting to the changing market conditions.

Microservices refers to an architectural style where independent services constitute the enterprise apps that functions together. It functions in a collaborative manner as each of the apps is segmented into small blocks or “micro services”. Each of these blocks has a particular function such as in assisting with mobile payments and streamlined workflows.

With this, it is much easier for any enterprise that provides mobile payment services to carry out upgrades or bring up new features without the need to renovate the app. The other noteworthy feature of microservices allows combination in several ways that aids in developing specific solutions that will offer AT&T® in providing new capabilities faster.

AT&T® has already begun the deployment of microservices in its best internet network. Recently, AT&T® launched the artificial intelligence platform Acumos, which provides a customer the means to build, share, and install many of the AI applications made using microservices.

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Besides the improvements in its network, AT&T® is also using microservices to enhance the efficiency of its fleet of technicians. The Work Flow feature was introduced by the Telco to assist their technicians to tackle with many of the complicated work while attending on the customer’s issues. Using this application, AT&T’s field technicians are provided with a microservice that will gather the required resources and thereby guide the technicians regarding the installation or repair procedure.

AT&T® can also use an extra microservice that allows it to create, manage, and track the various contracts among its business products. The Telco has declared that the deployment of microservices in its networks has led to considerable savings per year. In addition, microservices are also utilized in ONAP, the crucial parts of AT&T’s SDN network that provides a quick delivery of its virtual network functions.

Implementing microservices has numerous benefits such as enhanced data security in large-scale data sharing, faster service provisioning, and quicker activation. It is also a boon for healthcare professionals, as it helps them in accessing and working on the patient data seamlessly.

19 Oct

AT&T’s U-Verse® Service to Become Unavailable on Web Browsers

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U-Verse® Service Unavailable

The concept of live TV has shifted away from the traditional forms of viewing such as on a television set to more advanced platforms like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Many of the TV and internet providers operating in the country have adjusted accordingly making sure that the contents are catered to and delivered across all mediums and not only on television. AT&T’s DirecTV Now® is one such live streaming service that has made available its service across a range of platforms. In view of this, AT&T U-Verse® will become unavailable through internet browsers from the next month onward.

Due to this, customers will no longer be able to access on-demand programming or stream live content using their internet browsers. An AT&T U-Verse® statement said, “In an effort to focus our U-Verse® streaming application development on core platforms, we will no longer support U-Verse® streaming via uverse.com effective October 31, 2017. We encourage our U-Verse® customers to take advantage of the other streaming applications available to them, including via the iOS and Android platforms.”

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AT&T U-Verse® has set forth this new move because of its decreasing investment in its legacy cable TV service. Besides, this service is also diverting many of its customers into another prominent streaming service owned by the Telco, DirecTV®. Last year the number of U-Verse® connections lost by AT&T® amount to approximately 1.4 million. Moreover, the streaming service has also lost a significant part of its customer base amounting to 428,000 connections in the first quarter of this year.

Customers who have left their U-Verse® connections have already subscribed to other AT&T® services like DirecTV® and DirecTV Now®. At the second quarter of the year, AT&T® had a TV subscriber base of about 25.2 million. Recently, the Telco has declared in a SEC filing that during the third quarter it has lost around 90,000 of its video subscribers. Due to this large drop out of subscribers, AT&T® has minimized the investments to keep up the streaming service particularly U-Verse®.

Previously, AT&T® considered shelving the U-Verse® service entirely. The Telco simply intends to focus its resources on many of its streaming services that are most popular amongst its subscriber base. It is not the first time that AT&T® decided to roll back the U-Verse® service. The Telco had rolled back the U-Verse® branded internet and phone service to improve its other services such as the AT&T® Internet and AT&T® Phone.

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