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28 Sep

Cox Communications® Plans To Charge Heavy Internet Users

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Charge Heavy Internet Users

If you are an average internet user who uses the internet service at his/her home for accessing social media platforms and to browse the web, then you will not most probably exceed the monthly data allowance set by your internet provider. On the other hand, heavy internet users, including the ones who stream plenty of movies and HD video contents on daily basis, will certainly exceed their monthly cap.

Some of the internet providers in the country might be charging the internet users who exceed their monthly data allowance. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Cox Communications® is also planning to notify their San Diego customers that they will implement an overage charge from the users who use more than one terabyte of data in a month.

Until a few years ago, Cox® and other internet providers in the country used to throttle internet speeds instead of overcharging the customers who exceeded their monthly data limits. A senior analyst, Ian Olgeirson said, “Operators have tried a lot of different ways of going about this, and in almost all cases, it has been sort of a light touch because they recognize this is an important area for them and they don’t really benefit from alienating higher-end customers.”

This new move from Cox Communications®, who is the largest and arguably the fastest internet provider in the San Diego County, has caused panic in the mind of their internet customers. It is reported that Cox® will be charging an extra amount of $10 from their customers for an additional data pack of 50 gigabytes.

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Exceeding Monthly Data Limit

However, Cox® is not the only internet provider who is planning to adopt this strategy. Comcast Corporation® and several other telecom companies have already started to charge their customers for exceeding the monthly data limit.

A spokeswoman from Cox Communications® stated that only 2 percent of their San Diego customers blow past their monthly data allowance each month. This means that the recent decision made by Cox® will not affect the majority of their internet customers in San Diego.

“Some people are just heavy users for whatever reason,” she said. “But there are some customers, we think, who have in-home Wi-Fi and maybe they have not secured it with a password. So it may be open and other people might be tapping into it.”

27 Sep

AT&T® U-Verse Or DirecTV® Customers To Miss Browns-Bengals Match

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Browns-Bengals Match Unavailable

Diehard fans of Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns who are currently subscribed to AT&T® U-Verse® or DirecTV® might miss the highly anticipated match between the two teams coming Sunday. This is due to the blackout of WBNS-TV (Channel 10) on these two TV services.

WBNS-TV and their sister station WTHR-TV went dark on these two TV services on Sept. 6 (both are currently owned by AT&T®, who is the fastest internet provider in several parts of the country). The blackout of these channels happened due to a dispute over retransmission licensing fees. As per law, satellite, and cable TV providers must negotiate with the local TV stations in order to broadcast their contents.

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that both the parties had held several meetings to resolve the issue. Yet, they were unable to end the dispute. However, DirecTV® and AT&T® U-Verse® customers are still hopeful that the blackout will end before the match begins.

In a recent email, an AT&T® spokeswoman Holly Hollingsworth stated that there has not yet been a progress in the issue since both the local stations “pulled their permission for DirecTV® and U-Verse® to carry WBNS earlier this month, and that remains the situation today.”

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On the other hand, the owner of the two local stations, Dispatch Broadcast Group, informed viewers that they are still trying to resolve the issue. The president and general manager of WBNS, John Cardenas said, “It appears AT&T®/DirecTV® doesn’t have the urgency to restore CBS/10TV.”

He added, “We have done big deals with other (pay-TV) providers recently, and so we know what the market is on retransmission consent deals. We gear our negotiations toward that. As a two-station company, we are not setting the market for retransmission consent fees. We do not understand why we have been able to get deals done with other larger operators, but we cannot get this deal with ATT-DTV done.”

It seems that the subscribers of AT&T® U-Verse® and DirecTV® are having a tough time these days, as WBNS is not the only channel, who is having carriage disputes with AT&T®. The telecom company was recently involved in carriage disputes with 17 stations of Meredith Broadcasting, 3 stations of Capitol Broadcasting, 7 stations of American Spirit Media, and over 40 stations of Raycom. However, most of these disputes have been already resolved.

31 Aug

Comcast® Offers Hundred Laptops To Seniors And Youth

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Low-Cost High-Speed Internet

Grace Shannon, a senior in Detroit was surprised when she received an unexpected gift from her cable company. Six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee handed her the gift, which was a brand new laptop. “Ew, wow!” the 67-year-old senior shouted when she received the new 14-inch Dell laptop.

The gift was offered in an Oprah-style surprise at the conclusion of Comcast’s announcement in which the Telco stated that they have expanded their program to provide low-cost and high-speed internet to the residents of the city who are at least sixty-two. The executives of the Philadelphia based cable internet provider said that they are planning to invest thousands of dollars to upgrade the digital infrastructure of the Joseph Walker-Williams Community Center, so that the seniors of the city will be able to use internet there too.

In their efforts to close the gap between people with internet access and those without access, Comcast® said that they would be providing eligible customers with high-speed internet service, together with training and support, for just $9.95 a month.

“It is fabulous that we will be able to get on the Internet and do things to help our grandchildren,” Shannon said. “But, not only that, we will be able to find things out about housing, taxes — and lots of other things we are missing out on.”

More and more seniors in the country are now digitally connected and about two-thirds make use of the internet. However, about half of the seniors nationally do not have access to a home broadband service, as per the results of the surveys from a Washington D.C. agency named Pew Research Center. Comcast Corporation® is also sponsoring the setup of a computer lab at the Boll Family YMCA in Detroit. They offered more computers equipped with virus protection, software, and a DVD payer and these computers are mainly intended for use by the youth.

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Comcast® Offers Free Laptops

Joyner-Kersee, who was elected as the national spokeswoman for the program, encouraged the audience and asked them not to be intimidated by the latest technology. “We’re not too old to challenge ourselves,” she said. “Each and every one of us deserves the best quality of life. Having that quality of life, that digital divide should not — will not — divide us.”

Comcast Senior Vice President, David Cohen announced the surprise gifts at the end of the program and the room erupted in applause. “I had half-a-dozen seniors saying afterward, ‘Now I have to learn how to use it’. That’s exactly what the purpose is. That’s what this program is all about. We will connect.”

With their surprise gift program for the seniors, Comcast® has once again proved that they are one of the best internet providers of the country. Those residents who wish to sign up for the program by the fastest internet provider of the city can submit the form online or download the application and submit it via mail together with the documentation.

29 Aug

Comcast® And Sunrun Inc® Enter Strategic Partnership To Promote Cleaner Environment

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Comcast® – Sunrun Inc® Strategic Partnership

Soon after families in Philadelphia signed up for Comcast Corporation’s low-cost, cheap internet program, other news has surfaced regarding the Telco giant in the US. Comcast® has recently announced a 40-month long agreement with Sunrun Inc®, a “provider of residential solar, storage and energy services.”

Jon Kaplowitz, Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Comcast® said that the pact could help Comcast’s “customers take more control of the price they pay for energy, save them money, and help contribute to cleaner communities.”

Commenting on the news, Comcast® spokeswoman Jennifer Moyer said “Comcast® and Sunrun® tested a pilot program in 2015 and 2016 in Northern California and parts of the Northeastern United States — Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Maryland. Comcast surveyed participants in the test program and they were pleased with it, giving the company confidence about expanding it.”

Sunrun Inc® will become the sole solar energy provider for the Comcast’s cable service, and the latter will be a strategic partner of Sunrun Inc® via marketing campaigns in the select markets. With the agreement, the Telco giant, which has 29 million subscribers as of now, can attain a 5 percent equity stake if the pact generates 30,000 new subscribers for Sunrun Inc® or if Comcast Corporation® spends $10 million on marketing the program, as per the pact filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Comcast’s marketing for Sunrun — which will launch this year — will be through online banner ads, bill inserts, and direct mail to subscribers. Subscribers would have to contact Sunrun and would not be upsold on the phone for solar roofs when they call Comcast for repairs or questions about Xfinity cable or internet services,” Moyer added.

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Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun Inc® said, “Our challenge is making homeowners aware that they can save money with solar today. We are excited to work with Comcast to help their customers go solar and save on their electric bills while reducing their dependence on fossil fuels.”

Sunrun Inc® is available in up to 22 states in the US, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. The Telco giant provides phone service, cable service to residents and business in the US under the Xfinity® brand, and is also a fastest internet provider in several regions of the country. Yet neither Comcast® nor Sunrun® has revealed the markets to be included in the marketing campaign set for the fourth quarter.

10 Aug

Comcast® Testing New ‘Manage Channels’ Feature On Its X1 Platform

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New ‘Manage Channels’ Feature

Comcast® is carrying out numerous trials and testing on its Xfinity® X1 platform for enhancing the services. The latest testing carried on the X1 platform includes collecting, surfacing, and presenting every of the premium channels available along with the increasing mix of subscription VOD services to the regular pay TV package of the customer.

Comcast® has named this feature as ‘Manage Channels’ and is currently being tested with a limited set of subscribers of the X1 platform. Through this testing, the Telco, which is also one of the fastest internet providers in the US, intends to create more awareness among the subscribers related to these services.

The currently testing of the Manage Channels feature offers the customers with more control over the content offered to them by letting them access and manage it more effectively. The success of this new feature is imminent as about the X1 subscriber base amounts to about 55 percent of the total residential video customer base of Comcast®.

Comcast® has been making several rounds of upgrades into its X1 platform. These upgrades include several additions of new features into the existing system. The inclusion of that has considerably enhanced the services of the X1 platform and provided the customers with more facilities in the accessing and viewing of broadcasted content. The new Manage Channels option is accessible to the set of subscribers through the X1 Apps section.

This feature offers the subscribers with numerous choices such as Premium Channels, Subscription On Demand Channels, Sports Entertainment Packages and International Packages. The customers are also provided with the ability to include various services through the interface and verify the ones that they have already subscribed. The testing of the new Manage Channels feature by Comcast® is to firmly establish the SVOD services.

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Residential Video Customers

This will enable them to increase their revenues generated from the X1 platform and in setting up themselves as an aggregator for these services. Previously, Comcast® chairman and CEO, Brian Roberts stated that, “X1 has been a game changer for us…We’re an aggregator of aggregators.” The new aggregation also shows that the subscription VOD services are a growing mix and are available to the customers.

The mix of subscriber VOD services is offered along with the premium services offered by Comcast® such as Showtime, HBO, and Starz. Comcast® has also made it clear that OTT video options will also be made available on the X1 platform soon. At present, the provider has included Netflix into its platform and plans to further integrate YouTube and Sling TV to Xfinity® X1.

10 Aug

AT&T® Is Not Planning To Quit On CNN

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Five Billion Acquisition Deal

AT&T® said that they are not looking to spin off the news channel CNN as part of their eight five billion acquisition deal of Time Warner®. This declaration from AT&T® has put to rest all the speculations about the fate of the news network as the deal is still under the review of the Justice Department.

John Stankey, who is the head of AT&T® Entertainment group, said that they see cable news as important as live sports. “It would be a strategically missed opportunity if we weren’t in that business,” Stankey said. He also added that CNN would continue to be editorially independent. This can be a likely nod to the criticisms of the news outlet by President Trump.

In his 2016 campaign, President Trump had promised to block the acquisition of Time Warner® by AT&T® over the concern that the resulting company would be much powerful in the media world. The President’s move was considered unusual, as professionals at the Federal Trade Commission, or the Justice Department, do most of the merger reviews, independent of the President’s office.

President Trump said during his election campaigns that he sees the merger “as an example of the power structure I’m fighting. AT&T® is buying Time Warner® and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

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The specific mention of CNN by the President prompted some of the analysts to think if his opposition of the merger is due to his dissatisfaction with the coverage of the CNN network of him. This perception of the analysts was reinforced when the New York Times reported that the President’s office was considering using the deal as a leverage against the CNN network. However, with the guarantee of CNN’s independence from Stankey, who will be overseeing HBO, CNN, and other media properties of Time Warner® after the deal is completed successfully, it seems that AT&T® is trying to remove all doubts about the future of Cable News Network.

Both Time Warner® and AT&T® said that they are expecting the deal to close by the end of the year, however, AT&T® executives did not respond to request for comments. Experts in telecommunications industry believe that the merger may result in the formation of the fastest internet provider and cable company of the country, but we will have to wait for that.

08 Aug

AT&T® And Guntersville Legislators Announce Certified Fiber Cable Internet In Connors Island Business Park

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Certified Fiber Cable Internet

AT&T® and Guntersville legislators recently announced that Connors Island Business Park is now a certified fiber relayed broadband area, thanks to the Telco giant’s infrastructural contribution. The certification would mean that cheap internet of the highest speed is being made available to job seekers and headhunters in Marshall County.

“That means that if you want to build a company here the infrastructure for fiber is in place,” said the Guntersville Mayor, Leigh Dollar. He also added that the certification from AT&T® is a marketing tool for businesses. “This will definitely be an asset to the park. We work to market this park every day. So we think this will definitely be something worth marketing,” Dollar said.

“We’re ready for 21st century businesses. We’re ready for companies that require extensive broadband fiber,” commented Marshall County Economic Development Council president, Matt Arnold. “Fiber has become what power, water, and sewer were 15 years ago. Companies have to have them. If they don’t have it, they’re not going to locate there.”

Arnold has put the certification and the breakthrough infrastructural contribution in the Connors Island Business Park in clear words. The AT&T® fiber broadband in the Connors Island Business Park will help Guntersville compete with North Alabama cities. The Telco giant’s business fiber network in Alabama provides cheap internet and gives businesses accesses to cloud backup, and video streaming in up to 1 Gbps speed. Reports say that AT&T® has invested billions in wireless as well as wired networks in Alabama in the recent past.

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AT&T Fiber Ready Certification

“AT&T continues to deploy leading-edge technology,” said Dave Hargrove, director of external and legislative affairs of AT&T®. “Our goal for the AT&T Fiber Ready certification is to help clearly message that Alabama is connected as economic developers and community leaders work to bring new business to our state and drive growth for the ones that already call our communities home.”

Assistant VP of external and legislative affairs for AT&T® Alabama, Mickey Harbin said, “Each and every day, our more than 5,300 employees are turning AT&T’s billions of dollars in financial investment into high-speed internet for consumers and businesses across Alabama.”

The relayed fiber network of the Telco giant covers the 400-acre Connors Island Business Park in Guntersville, Marshall County, Alabama.

07 Aug

Comcast® Launches New Parental Control Features For Xfinity® xFi™ System

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Xfinity® XFi™ System

Comcast® recently announced that it has launched a set of new parental control features for its Xfinity® xFi™ system. The launch of this latest parental control features would allow parents to allocate various restrictions related to internet usage in homes. Moreover, this will enable them to monitor the activities of their children on the internet as well as prevent them from accessing any inappropriate sites.

Parental control is a must needed feature in all residences having access to an internet connection. The newly added parental control features include Timed Pause, Safer Search, and Notification Center.

The Timed Pause feature enables the parents to pause the internet connectivity in their homes for a certain duration such as an hour or more. The temporary halting of the internet and WiFi network in the home can act as a method of persuading the children in limiting the internet usage and spending more time on other activities such as playing, reading, etc.

The Safer Search feature includes several protective settings for use in popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and YouTube. The Safer Search feature offers numerous restrictions to certain content that are deemed inappropriate for users under the age of 18. The inclusion of this new feature by Comcast® into its Xfinity® xFi™ system is a great alternative for the users than relying on third party applications, as such apps are ineffective in properly filtering the content and needs extra subscription fees.

The real time Notifications Center is another major feature in the newly launched parental controls by Comcast®. This feature issues notifications related to all kinds of activity on the WiFi network deployed in homes. Moreover, this is a helpful feature as it can provide alerts related to any breaches in the security of the network such as alternations in the network name or password.

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Safer Search Feature

It is to be noted that the Telco included some basic parental control options during the launch of the Xfinity® xFi™ system. This includes web monitoring and device schedules that can monitor and terminate the internet connection at a certain time. Comcast’s addition of these new features alongside its numerous best internet packages has further advanced the Xfinity® xFi™ system.

Currently, the new updates in parental controls are still in the process of being deployed across the entire network footprint of Comcast®. The system updates to the xFi™ are done via the cloud and are soon expected to be rolled out for the entire customer base.

04 Aug

What Subscribers Should Know About FCC And ISP Broadband Speeds

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ISP Broadband Speeds

To find the best internet provider in the US, subscribers could do some preliminary research before signing an agreement with the first provider they come across. When it is about choosing a cheap internet service provider, the speed aspect should be considered well, since speed and affordability would give subscribers a worthy bundle. After finding out the fastest internet provider and their best package, the next step in attaining subscription is gauging whether the said ISP offers that service in your area.

The FCC recommended download speeds would help you decide on the minimum download speed in any region. Federal Communication Commission stipulates 500 Kbps speed for emailing, 1.5 Mbps for streaming movies on content driven platforms, and 4 Mbps each for online gaming and tele-learning. Do remember that the FCC stipulated download speeds apply to individual users only and that if your family consists of two, then you would want double the internet speed to access more data.

The 80/80 speed of broadband was one of the major findings in the Measuring Broadband America report of FCC last year. This measures the Internet Service Providers’ performance consistency over peak periods of internet usage, i.e. from 07:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Telco giants such as Charter Communications®, Time Warner Cable®, and Verizon® performed well with values soaring above 90 percent of the FCC stipulated speeds in 2016. However, the ratio for AT&T® DSL, Frontier®, and Viasat® broadband was 50%.

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The Measuring Broadband America Report

Regardless, these are some of the fastest internet providers in the US as prime time alone cannot be used as a metric to know who downloads videos on the internet or who is watching a Game of Thrones episode on a Sunday night.

As per FCC, 25 Mbps download speed would qualify an ISP as the fastest internet provider in 2017. This was a sudden jump from 4 Mbps before it, and the ISPs have shown protests regarding the stipulation in the Senate of late. Further, a mere mention of best internet and high-speed internet doesn’t necessarily guarantee that ISPs follows FCC stipulations, but these terms are used interchangeably with broadband in general.

Suffice to say it, only the best Internet Service Providers follow the FCC stipulations in the US, even as the veto power remains with subscribers.

01 Aug

Charter Communication Not Interested In Sprint Merger

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Charter®-Sprint® Merger

Cable operator Charter Communications® said that they are not interested in acquiring the US wireless provider, Sprint® Corp. Now the majority owner of Sprint® Corp, SoftBank® Group Corp, will have to find other ways to negotiate a merger.

A merger between Sprint® and Charter® would have lead to the formation of the fastest internet provider that will be capable of offering a one-stop solution for all users who are searching for mobile and internet services. In addition, the combined will have a stronger footing to make infrastructure that is necessary for the 5G wireless technology.

Chief Executive Officer of SoftBank®, Masayoshi Son made an acquisition offer for Charter®; however, Charter® declined the offer. “We understand why a deal is attractive for SoftBank®, but Charter® has no interest in acquiring Sprint,” a Charter® representative said.

The potential bid of SoftBank® for Charter® will follow the conclusion of the 2 months negotiations with Comcast® and Charter® over Sprint® serving as their mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which allows them to use its network infrastructure to provide wireless based internet services.

“We have a very good MVNO relationship with Verizon Communications® Inc and intend to launch wireless services to cable customers next year,” the Charter® spokesman added. The interest of SoftBank® in Charter Communications® also shows that they are in the search of alternatives to have a strong hand in the negotiations with T-Mobile®. “This could be a way to gain leverage in a T-Mobile deal,” Amy Yong, a Macquarie analyst said about the pursuit of Charter® by Son.

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Wireless Services For Cable Customers

The bid for Charter® by SoftBank®, with a market capitalization of 90.3 billion dollars (9.9 trillion yen) can be a stretch for their finances, say analysts. The market capitalization of Sprint® is just 32.8 billion dollars and has about same amount in debt.

The bid for Charter® made by SoftBank® Group offering them majority control on the deal will need raising many billions of dollars in new debt and may push them to leverage their assets like 43% stake in the Yahoo® Japan Corp and 29.5% share in the Chinese business Alibaba® Group Holding Ltd. The price expectations of the largest shareholder of Charter®, Liberty Broadband Corp. of Jomnh Malone will also be a big hurdle for SoftBank®. However, these might not be needed now as Charter® has declined the deal from SoftBank®.

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