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25 Mar

Comcast Announces Major Leadership Change

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Comcast Leadership Change

Comcast Corporation is one of the leading internet providers in the country and they offer some of the best and cheap internet deals to their customers. The telecom giant recently announced that Dave Watson would hold the position of President and CEO of Comcast Cable from April 1, 2017. Officials also said that the previous President and CEO of the company, Neil Smit, would become the Vice Chairman of Comcast Corporation.

The officials from Comcast also confirmed that Watson and Smit would work closely for a few months in order to ensure a smooth transition of the leadership. They also added that Smit would also be engaged in a part-time work with the leaders of Comcast for developing future technology-oriented business opportunities.

Smit has served the role of head of Comcast Cable for seven years and he has had a wonderful career with the company. He also held several senior executive positions at Nabisco, Charter, and AOL, before he joined Comcast. On the other hand, Watson joined Comcast Corporation back in the year 1991 and he was Comcast Cable’s Chief Operating Officer since the year 2010.

Watson has also held several senior roles with the telecom company such as the leadership of sales, marketing, product, and advertising functions. He has also partnered with Smit to run the cable division of Comcast Corporation earlier.

The Chairman and CEO of Comcast, Brian L. Roberts said, “Dave Watson is the perfect new leader of Comcast Cable. There are few people in the cable industry who have his breadth and depth of experience. Dave, along with Neil and the executive teams across the cable division, drove the operating strategy and execution that have led to phenomenal growth over the last several years as well as our focus on the customer experience and the improvements we have made recently. Dave knows the business and has a track record of delivering results.”

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Technology-Oriented Business

He further stated that, “Neil has been an extraordinary leader and has helped transform Comcast Cable into the top cable and broadband company in the nation. He is not only an exceptional executive, but he is also one of the finest individuals with whom I have had the privilege to work. Neil and his team have created an innovation engine at Comcast Cable, with countless new and game-changing products and businesses.”

“We are also so appreciative and inspired by Neil’s service as a Navy SEAL,” Robert added. “While the personal sacrifices he made on behalf of our Country can never be repaid, all of us who know Neil are very grateful for his service. As Neil cuts back on his full-time role, I am delighted that he will continue to work with us.”

23 Mar

Is AT&T Blocking Quality Internet Access In Poor Neighborhoods

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Quality Internet Access

Telecom companies are much notorious and many consumers often complain about the slow services, issues in coverage, and high prices. However, what if you cannot stream your favorite show or research your term paper as the internet service in your area is very slow? What if the slow speed is based on your neighborhood and not because you have used up the data allowance?

Experts say that this might be happening in the poorest neighborhoods of Cleveland and AT&T internet might be the culprit. As per the report from internet consumer advocacy groups like Connect Your Community and National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the lack of investment and refusal to extend the available discounts services to poor neighborhoods is equivalent to income discrimination that was used by banks, called redlining.

The internet consumer advocacy groups analyzed the broadband availability data of FCC and they found that the Cleveland neighborhoods with highest poverty rates have the slowest internet connections. They also added that the old infrastructure in use by AT&T is the cause of the slow internet speeds. As per the report released by the groups, AT&T is not investing in fiber based broadband internet infrastructure and are excluding some of the neighborhoods from their discounted internet services for the low income users.

Gizmodo also reported that AT&T was blocking high-speed best internet access to those neighborhoods where at least thirty-five percent of the total population lived below the poverty line. This means that the more money a household makes, the more likely they are to have good internet access.

“Recognizing a publicly traded company’s first priority is to profit means we, as a country, must take the necessary steps to ensure broadband infrastructure is upgraded equally regardless of income, not just for today but for the future,” NDIA director Angela Siefer said. “Since the free market is clearly not solving this issue, we need local, state and federal policies that encourage build out in all neighborhoods, subsidizing when necessary.”

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Connect Your Community

Access to internet services from the various internet providers is an economic issue. It is estimated that thirteen percent of the adults in USA, who do not use the internet, make less than fifty thousand dollars per year. As per the report from the Center for Public Integrity, twenty percent of Americans in low-income families do not have access to the internet and among those, who make between 35,000 and 47,000 dollars, fifteen percent are not connected to the internet.

Many regulatory efforts are in place to mitigate these issues. One such regulation is the net neutrality that prohibits the broadband internet providers from blocking, throttling, and other techniques to control internet speeds. Nevertheless, experts believe that these regulations are at risk under the Trump Administration.

21 Mar

CBS Goes Dark On AT&T U-Verse Customers

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AT&T U-Verse Customers

A recent television contract dispute between AT&T and Raycom Media has resulted in the blackout of CBS on AT&T U-Verse in Charleston. This means that AT&T U-Verse customers in this region will miss some of the most crucial matches of the college basketball games this month.

Tensions between both parties started when the officials from Raycom Media made a statement that they are pulling their stations from AT&T U-Verse in Charleston. The timing of the blackout created frustrations among many AT&T U-Verse customers because it took place just a few hours before the first tip-off of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on the CBS.

WCSC-TV, which is owned by Raycom Media, is the local affiliate for the Tiffany Network. In a written message, the officials from Raycom Media said that the “inconvenience to viewers is part of a broader business strategy to convert AT&T U-Verse customers to DirecTV because a DirecTV subscription is more profitable” for AT&T, which owns both services.

Reports indicate that the dispute between both the parties happened when the Dallas-based telecommunications giant, AT&T was asked to pay a new “retransmission” fee in order to secure the rights for carrying the programs offered by Raycom Media.

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Blackout Of CBS

The officials from AT&T blamed the broadcaster for the blackout of the channels. They also added that Raycom is looking for “a significant increase” in the retransmission fee and they are “deliberately preventing WCSC” from being delivered or brought to their U-Verse customers. “We have asked Raycom repeatedly to allow our customers to watch while we work this business matter out privately, but Raycom continues to refuse,” officials from AT&T said.

CBS Network was scheduled to bring the broadcast of four basketball games as a part of their March Madness coverage. However, AT&T U-Verse customers in Charleston missed the coverage of these games because both the parties failed to reach a settlement on the retransmission fee issue.

You can catch the live broadcast of the college basket basketball games online, but you will need to subscribe to any one of the best internet service in the country for that. Many internet providers including AT&T offer high-speed internet service to their customers that allow them to watch these games online without any delays or disturbances.

15 Mar

AW North Carolina Seeks Help From AT&T To Secure Business Operations

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Mobility Business Services

One of the best internet providers in the United States, AT&T offers mobility business services and security to AW North Carolina, who is a leading automatic transmissions manufacturer. The services offered by AT&T allow the company to protect their data and to connect their employees to the manufacturer’s network.

It is a fact that many major business corporations in the country face serious and growing cyber security threats. A research published by the telecom giant, AT&T pointed out that about 90% of companies encountered a preventable cyber attack in the year 2016.

This means that if you want to protect and secure the sensitive files and other data of your business, then you should certainly adopt a multilayered approach. However, many small-scale businesses do not have the necessary resources for developing and managing a multi-layered security approach on their own.

AW North Carolina went to seek the aid of AT&T after they experienced a number of service disruptions from viruses and ransomware. These service disruptions affected the day-to-day business operations of the company and it even went on to halt their production at times, which in turn resulted in a potential loss of revenue.

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AW North Carolina

The Cybersecurity Consulting Division of AT&T positioned an Incident Response and Forensics team who successfully identified and eliminated the ransomware, which in turn brought W North Carolina back online. The General Manager of Information Technology, AW North Carolina, John Peterson, said, “It was essential to find a solution to these attacks as quickly as possible. A highly secure network is key to our success. Now, it’s no longer a matter of chasing a virus from one network connection to the next to identify compromised computers. Throughout the process, AT&T was a trusted advisor.”

Vice President of AT&T Security Consulting, Todd Waskelis said, “Today, an attack could mean a loss of reputation, revenue, and resources. Reacting quickly and with the right tools is of the utmost importance. We worked with AW North Carolina to understand the root cause of this attack and how it happened using Incident Response and Forensics capabilities to not only protect their business but to also improve their security protections to help prevent further security issues.”

Reports indicate that the best internet service and highly efficient security solutions offered by AT&T will enable them to attract more customers towards their services.

10 Mar

Satellite Internet Will Offer True Broadband

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HughesNet Gen5 Service

In the United States, satellite internet providers that cater to remote and rural users, have been improving steadily over the last few years. Hughes Network Systems, which is a subsidiary of EchoStar, has now announced that their latest HughesNet Gen5 service, which is planned to go live on March 16, has cleared a big hurdle to become the first internet service to achieve the Federal Communications Commission’s defined broadband speeds across important areas in Alaska and the continental US. The broadband speeds for internet service set by FCC are 3 Mbps for uploads and 25 Mbps for downloads.

The Gen5 service from HughesNet will tap into the newly launched EchoStar XIX satellite and EchoStar XVII satellite. HughesNet describes the EchoStar XIX satellite as the “world’s highest capacity broadband satellite.” Gen5 service is powered by Hughes’ Jupiter System, which is the “world’s most widely deployed satellite networking platform,” the company said.

The new Gen5 service will not only deliver more data and faster speeds, but will also offer built-in Wi-Fi. “HughesNet Gen5 will bring a new level of Internet services to the approximately 18 million households across the United States that are either unserved or suffering from slow wireline Internet services,” said Pradman Kaul, who is the president of Hughes Network Systems.

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Broadband Speeds

For the residential users, the HughesNet Gen5 service will offer plans with up to 50 GB of monthly data and prices starting from 49.99 dollars per month. Business plan offerings will range up to 250 GB of data per month and prices starting from 69.99 dollars. All these plans are offered with 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed. HughesNet said that they would share more details of the Gen5 plans and prices on the launch day.

Other new features of the Gen5 service are:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi service;
  • No hard data limits, meaning that if the monthly data plan is exceeded, the service will continue with decreased speeds until next billing cycle;
  • Video Data Saver feature to watch videos without using much data; and
  • 50 GB of free data per month that can be used in off-peak hours (i.e. 02:00 am to 08:00 am local time).

In addition to that, the new Jupiter Aero System will tap into the EchoStar XIX satellite to offer 400 Mbps of best internet service in aircrafts. Reports say that some of the airlines like Southwest will be offering boosted wireless internet service by the second half of 2017.

08 Mar

Sling TV Expanding Its Sports Programming Packages

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Sports Programming

Sling TV, Dish Network’s OTT TV service, is widening its sports programming packages with the addition of NBR regional sports networks. This newly announced packages would be made available to the customers in selected markets later this month.

The new deal, which is announced at the start of the Major League Baseball season starting April 2, will be a delight to the customers in watching this favored sport shows on television. It will enable Sling Blue customers in accessing CSN California, CSN Bay Area, CSN Chicago, and CSN Mid-Atlantic at no additional charges involved. In addition to that, these regional networks will further aid in accessing additional NBA and NHL games.

This is an added benefit for Sling TV, as it receives MLB games national feeds from TBS, ESPN, Fox, and FS1. It is reported that YouTube is also set to jump in the v-MVPD market later this year, and would also get accessibility to regional sports networks from Fox and Yes Network. In fact, the new move by Sling matches directly with YouTube TV, as they had unveiled their plans of including regional sports networks from Comcast in their announcement earlier.

The new sports channels will be included into Sling TV’s $25 per month Blue package in selected markets only. With this, Sling TV has expanded its bundling options, appeal, and schedules since its launch into the streaming television industry in February 2015. It is only recently that the TV has introduced its extra programming packages with significant discounts in the package. It also included Kids Extra, Lifestyle Plus Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra recently to the offerings.

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Sling Sports Packages

Sling CEO, Roger Lynch has stated that, “Offering access to larger, more diverse OTT TV programming options is allowing Sling TV “to attract a much broader audience than we were able to in the beginning. Plus, we’re starting to get past at least the early phase of early adopters and able to attract people who are more comfortable switching to something like this now…We’re seeing a broadening in our demographic.”

One of the notable aspects of this announcement is that Sling TV is offering these regional sports networks for users in its core platforms and not confining it to the add-on tiers. Sling has also not raised the prices in process of its RSN additions, which is yet another noteworthy feature.

03 Mar

Turning Off The Stream Saver Feature Of AT&T Internet

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Stream Saver Feature

AT&T knows that the competition is growing fast in the wireless industry and they have introduced unlimited data plans to attract more and more customers to their best internet offerings. Recently, they have announced a lower price tier and many improvements and promotions for their unlimited mobile data plans that were offered to all the users last week.

As per the latest updates, the unlimited plan will cost 90 dollars for the first line with a 10 dollars price cut. Note that Verizon also introduced their unlimited plan recently, under pressure from the smaller internet providers like T-Mobile and Sprint, who are offering cheap internet plans. Wireless users hate the monthly data allowances, as it forces them to guess in advance the amount of used data. When these users go over the monthly data allowances, they will have to face extra charges and fines.

Interestingly, it was AT&T who started to offer unlimited data plans. This was over an year ago, much before T-Mobile and Sprint, but their offering was limited to their DirecTV and U-Verse cable subscribers only. Statistics shows that 8 million customers signed up for the offer, and now, AT&T has opened the plan to all wireless users.

None of the unlimited plans, from AT&T or any other carriers is truly unlimited though. For instance, in case of AT&T, if a subscriber uses more than 22 GB of internet in a month, the speed can decrease. Verizon and Sprint also threaten to de-prioritize after 22 GB and 23 GB data use respectively. Still, the slow downs are preferable than the overage fees.

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Streaming Video

Another catch in the unlimited data plan from AT&T is the Stream Saver feature. This feature is meant to save the data plan of the users. The feature limits most of the video streams using the unlimited offering from AT&T network to 480 pixels or almost DVD quality. However, none of the users may wish to watch DVD quality video with the unlimited data plan. The Stream Saver feature is turned on by default, but AT&T offers an easy way to turn off the feature. The steps are discussed below.

  • Log into your AT&T account by visiting the company website;
  • In Account Overview area, click on Manage Stream Saver;
  • Then click on the buttons provided next to each feature that you need to disable.

If you are logged in from the mobile app,

  • Sign into the app and choose Usage from the menu;
  • Scroll down to bottom of page to select Manage My Usage; and
  • Select the button next to every option that you need to disable.
01 Mar

AT&T, Ericsson, And Qualcomm Successfully Demonstrate Volte For IoT

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Volte For IoT

AT&T, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies Inc. have successfully concluded the demonstration of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call for Internet of Things on existing mobile network infrastructure. This is the first successful trial of the technology, and will open up a new vista of possibilities in the connectivity domain.

The demonstration utilized one of Qualcomm Technologies MDM9206 LTE modem and Ericsson’s LTE Radio Access Network along with its other core networking infrastructure and new software. The successful conclusion of this new communication technology shows its readiness to be deployed in commercial operator networks and in many fastest internet provider services.

Chris Penrose, President of IoT solution at AT&T said, “AT&T is proud to participate alongside Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to advance VoLTE support over Cat-M1/LTE-M. The ability to support voice services is an important feature to many verticals within our IoT portfolio, including our customers in the alarm and security industry, automotive, wearable’s and connected health markets.”

The new technology will be instrumental in extending mobile voice service capabilities to IoT devices. This opens up new opportunities in expanding to many areas and serve potential applications like wearable’s, security alarm panels, remote first aid kits, digital locks, disposable security garments, and other IoT applications and services. This can have numerous advantages for enterprises by allowing them to make voice calls while also extending the operator’s mobile network capabilities through the IoT system.

There are many other advantages of these CAT-M1/LTE-M enabled IoT devices as well, lower power consumption and costs, excellent coverage, and good connection dependability being some of them. Due to the existing leading LTE coverage and voice communication capabilities by internet providers, operators can deploy it in a range of applications in smart cities, logistics, medicine, transport, etc.

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AT&T Internet Plans

Anders Olin, Head of Network Applications, Business Unit IT and Cloud Products at Ericsson said, “With this successful demonstration of Cat-M1/LTE-M also supporting VoLTE voice calls in IoT devices, we are providing more value to operators and users. The benefit of basic human communication blends perfectly into the IoT environment. Supported by our radio and core portfolios, it will now be feasible to globally deploy voice services for IoT cost-effectively for all kinds of industries and different use cases.”

In addition, the uptake of VoLTE is predicted to accelerate to 3.3 billion by the year 2022 and accounts to more than 60 percent of the total LTE subscriptions. It is estimated that there will be around 18 billion IoT devices connected worldwide by 2022.

01 Mar

Cox Raises Internet And Cable Prices

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Internet And Cable Prices

Lafayette-area residents have witnessed a significant increase in the price of their internet and cable service this year. Two of the most popular internet providers in the region, LUS Fiber and Cox Communications, recently announced a raise in the price of their cable and internet services.

In addition to that, the telecom giant, AT&T also increased the price of their Internet Basic service by $2 for a month. This situation has made it almost impossible for the Lafayette-area residents to subscribe to a cheap internet service.

In a recent announcement, Patricia Thompson, a Cox spokeswoman stated that the price of the basic cable package offered by the company to its customers will be increased by $4 a month. In addition to that, she also added that broadcast surcharges would be raised by $1, which means that the customers will now have to pay $4 per month for the service.

“Cox is required to pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually to TV networks, and those costs continue to rise,” Thompson said. “We also must pay local stations for their programming, which was previously broadcast for free. These rising wholesale costs drive up retail prices.”

She added, “The broadcast surcharge reflects a range of costs associated with the delivery of broadcast TV stations to our customers. These costs may include, but are not limited to, portions of re-transmission costs, network costs, copyright costs and others.”

Cox subscribers will also have to pay a new regional sports surcharge of $3.50. Thompson stated that these surcharges have become an industry standard that the telecom providers must pay to acquire the rights for carrying the local sports teams.

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Costs Continue To Rise

Thompson also added that the internet rates of Cox have also been increased from $2 to $5 based on the service level. However, she added that these hike in prices would not affect Cox customers who bundle their data package with other Cox services.

She also indicated that Cox Digital Telephone Essential subscribers would have to pay an extra dollar, if they want to receive their service, while the Telephone Premier customers of Cox will see a decline of $2 dollar in the pricing.

Thompson also said that Cox has invested millions for the infrastructure developments of the state and the internet provider has boosted the internet speed by 50 percent in the year 2016.

28 Feb

AT&T Announces Unlimited Data Plans To Lure More Customers

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Unlimited Internet

AT&T had launched new unlimited internet plans a few weeks ago, but with more competitive offers from internet providers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, they were forced to go back to the drawing board to come up with better offers and now they have announced improved plans.

New and existing users of AT&T will be able to choose from the two new plans named Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus. The Unlimited Plus offering from AT&T starts at 90 dollars per month for one line and offer unlimited talk, messaging, and internet at up to 4G LTE speed.

This means that the users can stream videos in HD quality, but the presence of the Stream Saver mode can reduce streaming video quality to around 480 pixels, as the mode is enabled by default. If the user needs to stream HD videos, he or she will have to turn off the feature by going to their AT&T account.

It is reported that the Unlimited Plus plan from AT&T will offer up to 10 GB of 4G LTE tethering per line, monthly. The speed will be reduced to a maximum of 128 kbps for the remaining time in bill cycle, once the allotment for high-speed internet is exceeded. Subscribers can have two smartphone lines for 145 dollars per month and they can add up to eight additional devices for twenty dollars per month for each of the additional devices.

AT&T said that this pricing includes the monthly access charges, but does not include additional fees and taxes. Additionally, the plans will need paperless billing and AutoPay. Officials also said that for a limited time, the Unlimited Plus customers can have a twenty five dollar bill credit towards DirecTV Now, DirecTV, or AT&T U-Verse subscriptions every month. This bill credit will start in the second-third billing period.

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High-Speed Internet

Meanwhile, the Unlimited Choice offering from AT&T starts at 60 dollars per month for one line and provides unlimited talk, message, and internet up to 3 Mbps speed, but does not provide tethering options. Users can stream video at maximum speed of 1.5 Mbps (480 pixels). Unlimited Choice does not offer any discount for bundling DirecTV, DirecTV Now, or AT&T U-Verse either.

Two smartphone lines on Unlimited Choice starts at 115 dollars per month and the user may add up to eight extra devices for an additional charge of 20 dollars per month for each extra device.

AT&T officials clarified that for both of the unlimited internet plans, each line that exceeds a limit of 22 GB data usage, may experience reduction of speeds on that line for the rest of the billing cycle, but only in areas with increased network congestion. This is similar to the 22 GB, 23 GB, and 28 GB data caps from providers like Verizon, Sprint, and T-mobile respectively.

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