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18 Jun

The Repeal of Net Neutrality Invites Skeptics and Open Possibilities

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Net Neutrality Ruling

The Net Neutrality, a ruling that was set by the US government in the past, had required major internet service providers to treat web traffic without giving preferential treatment to a particular website. In other words, internet providers should not block a website or throttle speeds to make surfing a different website much easier.

The Net Neutrality ruling is now repealed, following a campaign favoring the deregulation from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I think ultimately it’s going to mean better, faster, cheaper internet access and more competition among the carriers,” Pai said.

Those favoring Net Neutrality and disagreeing with Pai include Congress members, officials of certain states, tech firms, and some advocacy groups. They will challenge the Net Neutrality repeal in federal court, while many US states plan to implement their own set of laws, which may further muddle the situation.

The Net Neutrality ruling of 2015 prevented internet providers from slowing down web connections, charging content providers for quicker streaming of videos over the web, and blocking accesses to specific websites. Starting this month, such practices will not be prohibited.

For now, internet service providers have to inform how they are managing their own networks. If any of the ISPs violate promises, or show practices that threaten consumers or competition, they fall under FTC’s jurisdiction. When FCC adopted the repeal back in December, Ajit Pai and his allies from the Republican Party argued that Net Neutrality would free the heavy regulations that restricted Telco giants from investing toward expansion of broadband.

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However, Democrats charged that the Chairman of FCC had ignored millions of comments that flooded from all quarters, especially the internet. Many of those comments had urged FCC to keep the previous ruling on Net Neutrality, which had treated internet providers similar to public utilities.

Aji Pai commented that people who reverted to online vitriol were misinformed, and that “some of the politicians who’ve been grandstanding on this issue have been misinforming the public.” In particular, the FCC Chairman said that the politicians were Senate Democrats, or social media influencers with millions of followers, who tweeted that repealing Net Neutrality would immobilize web speeds.

Reports say that a few ISPs have acknowledged that they would not block websites or throttle speeds or charge for quicker delivery of content over the web, although they might take advantage of the Net Neutrality repeal.

27 Apr

Comcast® Shifts Focus to Internet Following Q1 Results on Cable Subs

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Stream Online Channels

Comcast Cable® officials recently reported that they experienced a significant loss in the number of video subscribers as of this year’s first quarter. As per reports, this decline in Comcast® video subs is 96,000 as of Q1 of 2018. However, being one of the best internet providers in the US, Comcast® has also achieved more than 350,000 high-speed internet subscribers during the same period.

This only goes to indicate the Philadelphia-based Telco giant’s role in nationwide markets of being an internet service provider that bundles cable TV packages and best internet plans. Slowly but surely, Comcast® treats internet as the core competency of their overall service portfolio to stay competitive in a market that is shifting toward streaming services. In other words, more and more customers are choosing internet to stream online channels on Comcast Xfinity® TV. Besides, their home security and Xfinity Mobile® offerings also serve as adds to their product portfolio.

To retain customers and drive sales, Comcast® sales reps are now pitching broadband packages first, and then, the company’s other offerings such as cable TV. “Our focus is very much centered on broadband,” said Dave Watson, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable®.

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This focus of Comcast® on internet offerings may seem surprising even at a time when the company has made a billion dollar bid, which is $31bn as per reports, to acquire Pay-TV broadcaster Sky plc. Comcast Corporation®, the parent company of Comcast Cable®, is surely trying everything it can to improve byline profits through broadband offerings even as their actions may seem to the contrary.

Trade analysts say that selling broadband would seem much profitable to Comcast® than selling cable TV packages, for which profit margins are thinner in comparison owing to programming costs. No wonder Comcast® is looking to acquire what is often billed as the largest satellite broadcaster in the UK namely Sky plc. In fact, Comcast® is not alone in bidding for the broadcaster – even Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox Inc. join them in the bidding process. The board members of Sky plc welcomed the Comcast® bid and withdrew a suggestion that shareholders have accepted an earlier proposal from 21st Century Fox.

Despite trying to cement their status of being one of the top internet providers, Comcast® also sees an opportunity in the form of wireless subscriber growth. It has added 196,000 subscriber lines to Xfinity Mobile® service in Q4, bringing its aggregate to 577,000 lines.

16 Mar

Comcast Business® Introduces One Click Conferencing App to its VoiceEdge™ Service

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One Click Conferencing App

Comcast Business® has announced that it had added a new VoiceEdge™ Conferencing app to its cloud phone service. The addition of this new app will radically improve the service by making it easier to carry out and manage conference calls.

With the VoiceEdge™ Conferencing app, a single click can help in initiating a conference call and resolve any of the issues for a smoother calling experience. Available to all Comcast Business® VoiceEdge™ subscribers, this new facility can add up to 50 participants for a conference call and initiate the call using the “click to start conference” feature.

John Guillaume, the Vice President for Product Management at Comcast Business® said, “With an increasingly distributed and mobile workforce, conference calls are an important tool for keeping teams connected, but this can become challenging from a user standpoint when different people are trying to access a conference call while traveling, in remote locations, from a different office.”

“We’re continually innovating and evolving our voice platform with a focus on improving the end-user experience and overall business impact,” he further added. “With Comcast Business® VoiceEdge™ Conferencing, the days of remembering long phone numbers and PINs or asking ‘who joined the call,’ are now a thing of the past – saving our customers both time and resources.”

The Conference app for VoiceEdge™ will also make it easier for users to join a conference call by simply clicking on the “join conference” link. The app comes with several management tools and options that allow those who host the conference calls to view and identify the users who are connected to the call.

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The VoiceEdge™ Conference app is an award-winning feature developed by Comcast Business® that was conferred the 2018 Internet Telephony Product of the Year by TMCNet. Comcast® being one of the best internet service has made a new development by introducing this feature as it allows business services to become more advanced and user-friendly. Besides, the VoiceEdge™ Conference app is also available for many of the standard tools and software used for business, such as Microsoft OWA, Skype for Business, and Google Chrome.

The VoiceEdge™ Conference allows the addition of 50 participants along with a moderator for making the conference call. It essentially takes away the elaborate processes of making a conference call by providing a one-click access feature. This makes it much easier and fast to make and manage conference calls with multiple users.

It also provides improved security with the feature of PIN-protected conferencing, which is crucial for business communications. The VoiceEdge™ Conference app is compatible with various PC and mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.

23 Feb

Comcast® Files an Application with FCC to Trial Services in 3.5 GHz Band

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Wireless And Mobile Services

Comcast® hopes to trial fixed wireless and mobile services over 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum band and has filed an application with Federal Communications Commission. “Comcast® will conduct outdoor and indoor fixed and mobile testing in a small targeted portion of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, market within its service territory. Specifically, testing will be conducted within a 7 km radius,” the company’s FCC filing stated.

“The field test will evaluate coverage, throughput, and mobility of equipment and facilities operating in the CBRS band to obtain data and advance Comcast’s understanding of the full potential of the technology and equipment utilized in these experimental operations. The field testing will also evaluate the performance of pre-commercial equipment in the CBRS band.”

The best internet provider also suggested that its interests firmly lie in phones that support CBRS band. “Through the use of mobile test devices and commercial handsets (i.e. ‘End User Equipment’), Comcast® will evaluate propagation characteristics for model verification, data throughput performance, inter-cell interference, and advanced Spectrum Access System (‘SAS’) functionality.”

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Deploy Wireless Services

Comcast® is one of the members of CBRS alliance, which includes some major internet providers and equipment vendors. In August last year, Comcast® seemed to have contacted Nokia® to conduct small cell trials and half a dozen mobile units operating in CBRS band in Philly. Comcast’s application with FCC to self-test CBRS band in their headquarters may suggest an even deeper interest to deploy wireless services. Comcast® is not the only company to show interests in CBRS band; even Charter® has urged FCC to regulate 3.5 GHz band in the previous month using geographic currency no more than counties.

Charter® has also suggested that their fixed wireless trials in rural locations on 3.5 GHz have shown it can provide speeds at 25 megabytes per second at ‘significant distances’. Charter® has conducted mobile and fixed wireless trials in the said band but is yet to disclose details on results of the trials.

The interests in mobile wireless in CBRS band from Comcast® could coincide with Xfinity® Mobile, which runs on Verizon® network. Xfinity® Mobile is Comcast’s MNOV tie-up with Verizon®. As of now, the wireless service from Comcast® roams on to the public wireless hotspots, and the company might be looking to add more locations that can handle CBRS band and traffic from the customers. If that goes through, Comcast® would have to pay a less amount to Verizon® for network use.

30 Jan

AT&T® and T-Mobile® will Help Customers to Stay Connected Throughout the Winter Olympics

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Video Streaming Services

If you are planning to visit South Korea to catch the live action of the upcoming Winter Olympics, then you will most likely wish to share your good fortune with your friends and family members who are not able to make it to South Korea. So, you will be probably planning to keep them up-to-date with the live actions from the Olympics but you will certainly need unlimited data, calling, and text to do so.

Two of the leading internet providers in the United States, AT&T® and T-Mobile® have already introduced attractive offers for their customers so that they can stay connected to their loved ones who are back at home. In a recent announcement, the officials from T-Mobile® said that their customers who are attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea will be able to enjoy unlimited data, text, and calling throughout the event.

The best thing about T-Mobile’s new offering is that customers will not have to do anything to reap these benefits. This means that customers will not need to pay any sort of additional charges to enjoy these benefits. Yet it is crucial to note that the unlimited data and calling offering to customers across South Korea will automatically kick in from February 7 to March 20, 2018, and it will be available to all postpaid customers of T-Mobile®.

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International Day Pass

The President and CEO of T-Mobile®, John Legere said, “The Winter Games are full of unforgettable moments, and now, T-Mobile® customers in South Korea can snap, tweet, and share those big moments without worrying about bill shock when they get back home. And while the carriers gouge you and make you jump through ridiculous hoops, the Un-carrier makes it easy! Free and unlimited data and calling just happen from the moment you step foot in South Korea.”

Likewise, one of the best internet providers in the country, AT&T® has also announced that their customers who are in South Korea for the Olympics will be eligible to access the International Day Pass of the provider at zero additional charges. This implies that AT&T® customers will be able to save $10 a day on unlimited texts, calls, and data usage. However, the officials from the telecom company have not confirmed whether customers will have to call ahead to get the International Day Pass.

24 Jan

Charter Spectrum® to Offer Gigabit Internet Service Across the Capital Region

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Gigabit Internet Service

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Charter Spectrum® subscribers across the Capital Region will soon be able to enjoy the Gigabit Internet service of the telecom giant. However, the Gigabit Internet service offered by Charter Spectrum® is mostly available only to the schools and businesses in the country at the present.

Charter Communications®, who are currently operating under the brand name Spectrum®, have already started to offer their high-speed internet service in the lower Hudson Valley and New York. Customers who have subscribed to the Spectrum® internet service in these areas will be able to enjoy a maximum internet speed of 1 gigabit per second, which is approximately 10 to 40 times faster when compared to the internet service available to customers in the Capital Region.

It is significant to note that gigabit internet speeds offered by the leading internet providers in the country were usually available only to business and government entities in the Capital Region. However, Verizon recently started to offer a 1-gigabit service to the residential subscribers in their FiOS network but the drawback is that this service is available only in certain parts of Albany and Schenectady counties.

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High-Speed Internet Service

The new internet service launched by Charter Communications® will certainly allow most residents to get connected to a reliable and high-speed gigabit internet service. Even though most residents are happy and content with the current internet speeds, the availability of gigabit internet service will increase the download speed, boost the streaming quality, and customers will be able to connect more number of devices to their internet network at the very same time.

In a recent interview, a spokesman from Charter Communications® said, “We’re currently in the process of upgrading the Capital Region to all-digital, which is an important first step to enabling faster speeds, including gigabit connections for residential customers. We intend to launch gigabit connections in additional markets in 2018 but haven’t announced any plans yet.”

The official also stated that customers would be able to stick to their Time Warner Cable® package if they wish to or they could even switch to the Spectrum® plans. He added, “They can keep their legacy Time Warner Cable® package or switch to Spectrum® if they prefer. We believe they will find Spectrum® is a better value with superior products and services, like the 100 Mbps starting speed for Spectrum® internet.”

22 Jan

Charter® to Create Original Programming for its Spectrum Customers

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Distribute Original Content

Charter Communications® is making plans to create and distribute original content. The Telco wishes to foray into programming like other major providers in the country. Because of that, Charter® had already appointed a new senior vice president to oversee its plans to produce and distribute original programming. The new senior vice president will focus on creating original content that is in tune with the interests of the viewers. Charter® has brought in Katherine Pope, the former NBC Universal and Chernin Group TV production executive, to serve as its new senior vice president.

The creation of original content is seen by Charter® as a way to offer a different experience for its Spectrum® customers. The hiring of the new executive will supervise the creation of planned original programming, such as a lineup of shows to aid on Charter®-carried channels. Charter® has a previous partnership with AMC and Viacom that involves co-production of television shows, and this new announcement will help in its quest to produce and air an array of original content.

Katherine Pope stated, “I’m excited to partner with networks, studios, and creators to build a high-quality original content experience for Charter’s wide-reaching and diverse audience. I look forward to working with David and the extraordinary team at Charter®.” This appointment of the new executive follows a previous deal between AMC and Viacom. It has reached an agreement with these companies regarding co-production and co-funding of content that will be air across the Spectrum platforms of Charter® in this year.

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Charter®-Carried Channels

Under the former agreement, Viacom and Charter® had reached an agreement regarding the co-production of original content that will be exclusively available to Charter® subscribers. David Ellen, Charter® Senior Executive VP said, “Katherine’s creativity, strategic prowess, and wealth of industry knowledge will play an instrumental role in positioning Charter® as an industry leader in the creation and distribution of high-quality, original entertainment that will further differentiate Charter’s market-leading video products in ways that create value and drive subscribership.”

Recently, many of the major cable and internet providers have also come with collaborating with various content production houses. The acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast® is one key example that demonstrates this new trend among providers. Charter’s action plan for the creation and airing of original content makes it one among the other providers who have done the same with various production houses. Moreover, this comes amidst the rise of its internet service and a decline of video subscriptions.

19 Jan

AT&T® Equips Minneapolis’s Super Bowl LII Host Stadium with 5G Evolution

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Launching 5G Evolution

One of the fastest internet providers in the US, AT&T® revealed last year that they plan to launch 5G Evolution in select areas of Minneapolis alongside Distributed Antenna System at the host stadium of Super Bowl LII. The new stadium in downtown Minneapolis is all set to host the event as planned. As per recent reports, AT&T® announce spending of more than $40 million to upgrade mobile network across the city and the stadium ahead of the Super Bowl slated in February.

It is expected that approximately 1 million NFL fans will come to the stadium for the ‘Big Game’ as AT&T® puts it forth. “We’ve been working for over a year to boost the network in Minneapolis for the Big Game. We’ve done this through a series of permanent and temporary upgrades throughout the city,” AT&T® representatives said.

The Telco has upgraded the Distributed Antenna System inside the stadium in order to provide higher percentage LTE internet accessibility. The stadium’s mobile network feature 800 antennas that will provide enhanced coverage to Minneapolis city in its entirety. Depending on how many people will turn up for the much anticipated event next month, the venue is all equipped to handle extensive mobile traffic.

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LTE Internet Accessibility

“We’ve been working closely with the city of Minneapolis to ensure its network is ready to support the technology of the future. The investments we’re making prepare us for the future of 5G and innovations like smarter cities and immersive entertainment experiences like augmented and virtual reality,” said AT&T®. “We’ve overloaded the stadium with wireless capacity and boosted LTE capacity by more than 150 percent compared to last year. With more than 800 antennas, the network inside the stadium alone could provide coverage to the entire city of Minneapolis.”

Besides, AT&T® has installed the antennas at sixteen locations across Minneapolis to give improved coverage at airports, restaurants and the like. “We’ve upgraded the DAS at the airport and installed a new DAS at the convention centre in Minneapolis. We’ve also installed a new DAS at Nomadic Live at The Armory to enhance coverage for all the fans headed to the concert venue each night,” reaffirms AT&T®.

Besides, AT&T® will roll out Cells on Wheels in order to provide temporary network and wireless internet a week prior to and during the event to add to the network capacity and internet speeds somewhere in the stadium.

12 Jan

CenturyLink® Formulates its Top Goals and Priorities for the New Year

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Level 3 Communications Acquisition

The year ahead is going to be largely fruitful for CenturyLink® as it lays down its goals and priorities for the year. The Telco has announced that it is focusing more on finalizing its interlinking with Level 3 Communications. By finalizing this merger, CenturyLink® intends to create a new digital experience that extends from quoting to payment for its entire range of customers. CenturyLink® acquired Level 3 Communications in the previous year for a sum of $34 billion. The goals and were laid by the Chief Financial Officer of CenturyLink®, Sunit Patel, during the Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of digitizing our customer experience so people don’t have to call to find out why their network is down, how long is it going to take, etc.,” Patel said. “So I think focusing on that will simultaneously improve our customer experience; it will drive a lot of change inside the enterprise in terms of automating workflows for our employees so they can support our customers better. A digital future for us inside and how we interact with our customers is going to be pretty important.”

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Internet Of Things

Being one of the top internet providers in the country, CenturyLink® is looking for new developments to compete with other major providers. He also stressed that the approach to the market and the customers are another key goal of CenturyLink®. Moreover, the Telco has made further plans in attracting more of the enterprise market share. This includes customer organization based on segments as per their needs, capital, and strategic priorities.

Patel said, “The other big thing is the scale that we now have in the United States; we are the second-largest enterprise provider in the [U.S.], larger than Verizon® and second to AT&T®. I think that scale and the network footprint that we have will allow us to improve our win-loss ratios. We should be able to win in the marketplace a lot more because our network goes to more places than any of our competitors do.”

He also stated that there is an increase in the demand for bandwidth in this year. “Looking forward, you’re going to have a lot more bandwidth demand driven by machine-to-machine bandwidth needs, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.,” Patel added. “There’s a constant need for more bandwidth, so while you might have different legacy services going down and new services going up, the backdrop is everyone needing more bandwidth.”

10 Jan

KTVN Channel 2 Blocked for AT&T U-Verse® Customers Following Negotiation Disputes

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KTVN Channel 2 Blocked

An ongoing negotiation relating to the agreement on extending the distribution has led to the KTVN Channel 2 being barred for AT&T U-Verse® TV subscribers based in Northern Nevada. AT&T® failed to come to an agreement in the negotiations regarding the extension of distribution and the amount the Telco is agreeing to pay KTVN for its content. Moreover, AT&T® denied the permission to offer the channel without the approval from its owner Sarkes Tarzian Inc.

Lawson Fox, who is the General Manager of KTVN said, “Negotiation has to do with the value of our programming for the system. So they pay us for the privilege of the content. We’ve done 10 of these in the last few months successfully. This is the one that isn’t complete. And the only one where we didn’t maintain carriage during the conversation.”

He did not stress on the price they require from AT&T® on behalf of offering their content. The fact is that the pricing has increased right from the previous contract. The negotiations are further stalled by AT&T’s reluctance to pay higher prices for obtaining the same content.

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Best Entertainment Programs

Regional spokesperson of AT&T®, Steven Ramirez, said, “We want to get KTVN back into our Reno customers’ lineups as soon as possible, but by law, KTVN’s owner Sarkes Tarzian has exclusive control over whether that station remains available on U-verse or not. Sarkes Tarzian is seeking a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over-the-air on channel 2 and, often, at cbs.com or using the CBS app.”

However, KTVN is also stating that the price increase is also not that high. Fox also stresses that other TV and internet providers have already paid the new price and it is only AT&T® that is showing reluctance regarding paying the fees. AT&T® spokesperson Ramirez has also stated that Tarzian has disconnected the service based on contract disputes several times before.

Ramirez said, “Our goal is to offer customers more choice over the content they may care about most, delivered at a value they can consider justified. We want to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably, and appreciate our Reno customers’ patience while we attempt to do just that.” However, latest reports say that the negotiations are heading in a positive direction as AT&T® has finally accepted the offer made by KTVN to extend the distribution of the channel.

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