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17 Nov

The Debate over Net Neutrality Continues in the Broadband Segment

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Debate On Net Neutrality

Some of the fastest internet providers in the US are vying to ensure that once FCC uses the veto power to deregulate the broadband segment, the states won’t be able to override the FCC regulations on broadband. In fact, Comcast® and Verizon® have queried the Telco regulators to state that Federal Communications Commission’s new stand on Net Neutrality would preempt the state and regional regulations which may be different.

The FCC should “include a clear, affirmative ruling that expressly confirms the primacy of federal law with respect to [broadband] as an interstate information service,” said Comcast® in a recent regulatory filing with the Commission. Verizon® also vied for the preemption, citing the moves by around 30 states, including Washington DC, to fall back to a congressional measure revoking the FCC’s Net Neutrality in a white paper.

At stake is privacy protection for the consumers, a 2015 ruling that prevents the internet providers from blocking, throttling internet speeds, or giving priority to certain websites at the expense of other websites. When the ruling on Net Neutrality came then, many groups supported net neutrality as important for the consumers while the broadband companies opposed the regulations imposed on them.

John Bergmayer, who is a senior counsel at Public Knowledge, said that while the commission has certain veto power, “the FCC has no power to pre-empt state consumer- protection laws. There are questions about what counts as ‘consumer protection’ that would have to be answered.”

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State Consumer- Protection Laws

In fact, the reason for the protest is the Commission’s decision to categorize them as “common carriers”, the same as the one applicable to the cellular providers. In fact, under Donald Trump’s Republican governance, the FCC now plans to reclassify broadband companies under “information services”.

The FCC would be putting forth a vote on renewals with regards to Net Neutrality in the next month. Consequently, the broadband segment is skeptic fearing that if the Commission succeeds in deregulating broadband segment, the states may take steps that countermand their decision.

“Allowing every state and locality to chart its own course for regulating broadband is a recipe for disaster,” Verizon® said. “It would impose localized and likely inconsistent burdens on an inherently interstate service.”

16 Nov

Netflix is Now Available on Cox® Contour

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Popular TV Shows

One of the most popular online streaming services, Netflix and Cox Communications® jointly issued an official statement a few days ago. In the statement, both the parties confirmed that Netflix would now be available on Cox® Contour all over the nation. This means that customers who are currently under the Contour video service plan of Cox® will be easily able to access Netflix shows and movies with ease.

In addition to that, reports from several reliable sources also indicate that customers of Cox Communications® who currently have a Netflix subscription will be able to not only access the contents of Netflix, instead they could also enjoy live TV, On Demand content, and DVR feature of Cox®, all within the Cox® Contour TV guide.

The Southwest Region General Manager and Senior Vice President of Cox Communications®, John Wolfe said, “Cox® has supported Netflix subscribers for years with our high-speed internet service, and now we’re improving the experience by adding the Netflix service to the Contour TV guide. Customers want to easily access the content they care about –anytime, anywhere; we’ll continue to look for more ways to improve their television viewing experience.”

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Cox® Contour Platform

Full integration throughout the Cox® Contour platform to customers means that watching and finding past and current episodes of popular TV shows and watching blockbuster movies is a lot more easier than ever. Customers can use their Contour remote and access the contents of Netflix through these three following ways.

  • Use the Contour voice remote to search for your favorite movies and TV shows.
  • Go to the Contour Apps category, and then simply say Netflix into the voice remote or just select the Netflix icon on the screen to open up the Netflix app on the TV screen.
  • Explore the Cox® On Demand menu to discover select Netflix titles.

Even though Netflix has been fully integrated with Cox® Contour, subscribers will still need to subscribe to Netflix to access the contents of the both the sources. The vice president of business development, Netflix, Paul Perryman said, “Cox® Contour customers can now watch TV series, movies, comedy specials, and documentaries from Netflix as easily as they watch live TV. Through Contour’s voice remote, they can access all of their favorite Netflix or live TV shows all in one place, without juggling remotes or cords.”

13 Nov

AT&T® Will not Sell any Assets to Close the Time Warner® Merger

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AT&T® -Time Warner® Merger

Randall Stephenson, the CEO of one of the best internet service providers in the country, AT&T® recently released an official statement, in which he confirmed that the telecom company would sell neither CNN nor its key assets to satisfy the demand of the Justice Department to close $85 billion their merger with Time Warner®.

AT&T® and the Justice Department are currently engaged in a war of words on whether the Trump Administration would approve the merger or not. The Trump Administration has been reviewing merger between both the parties for about a year now.

As a result, Stephenson recently stated that if there is zero progress on the ongoing negations, then the telecom giant would most likely seek the help of the court to protect their planned merger and to prevent the chances of any divestiture. In addition to that, Stephenson also expressed his frustrations over false reports that the telecom giant might be selling CNN.

He said, “I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN, period. And likewise, I have never offered to sell CNN.” A Justice Department source had insisted that AT&T® promised to trade CNN as part of the negations over the Time Warner® merger.

The sources also claimed that the Justice Department had informed AT&T® that they need to sell one of their important assets such as DirecTV® or Turner Broadcasting that includes CNN in order to get approved for the acquisition of Time Warner®.

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High Speed Internet Service

Stephenson responded to these reports and he said that the telecom company should not be expected “to sell something larger.” He added, “It’s why you did the deal, it’s where the synergies come from. Selling the key franchises makes no sense, and those are the kind of things we’d move to litigation.”

The managing director of telecommunications policy at Cowen & Co, Paul Gallant said, “I expect the DOJ is concerned that AT&T® would abuse its new power with Time Warner® content and unfairly leverage Time Warner® content against its distributor rivals.”

However, a senior litigation analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, Jennifer Rie commented that the Justice Department blocking the deal seems surprising. “From what we’re hearing, they’re at a stalemate,” she said. “The DOJ is staunchly sticking to structural remedies, and AT&T is staunchly against selling assets.”

10 Nov

Cox® Customers in James City County are not Satisfied with the Internet Speed

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Unsatisfied Internet Speed

James City County resident William Horwatt Jr. who is currently subscribed to the internet service of Cox Communications® recently claimed that the internet provider is not offering adequate speed. The same customer has earlier filed a complaint against Cox® by stating that he is paying 69.99 dollars per month for a high-speed internet connection but he isn’t getting it.

In the complaint, Horwatt Jr. said, “It never gets to that speed. They cannot consistently deliver any type of Internet connection speed but they charge for a speed that they cannot deliver.” Since early 2015, customers had registered approximately 43 complaints against Cox’s services. However, Cox®, who is one of the fastest internet providers in the country, responded to the issue by stating that their faster internet service is available to customers in the county at a premium price. The website of the county recommends Cox® subscribers to directly get in touch with Cox® for the service related issues.

The officials from James City County said that internet services are critical to both residents and business. They also added that despite all these complaints, Cox® has offered reliable service to the customers in the area. The County Administrator Bryan Hill added, “Cox® is our provider and we have made attempts to solicit others to come to James City County. Our growth and development do not provide a good business model for companies to invest in the needed infrastructure to make a profit.”

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High-Speed Internet Connection

A spokeswoman for Cox Communications®, Jessica Dawley said that the telecom company is planning to invest an amount of 10 billion dollars to improve their offerings. She also added that this new move would allow Cox® to boost the speed of their internet service to customers in the county and other areas of the country.

“We have recently expanded our internet service in your area to include our G1GABLAST service, meaning customers in Williamsburg and James City County can now enjoy one Gigabit per second download speeds,” Dawley said.

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that the premium service of Cox Communications® currently offers download speeds of 125 Megabytes per second. However, the downfall is that customers will have to pay an amount of $119.99 a month to subscribe to the premium service.

01 Nov

Cox® Contour Hits 1-Million Subscriber Mark

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Contour Platform Latest Version

One of the fastest internet providers in the country, Cox Communications® recently announced that they have more than 1 million video subscribers on the latest version of their “Contour” platform. The new “Contour” platform is underpinned by the cloud-based X1 platform of Comcast Corporation®.

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Cox Communications® currently has over 4 million video subscribers and the numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. An interesting thing to do is that approximately half of the pay-TV base of the leading TV service provider is on their new offering.

The new offering from Cox® offers a number of exciting new features to their video subscribers such a voice control remote and cloud-powered guide. In addition to that, customers who have subscribed to this service will also be able to enjoy the luxury of integrating with apps for mobile devices.

The officials from Cox® stated that the rollout of the new service was actually their fastest-ever video product launch and added that they recently celebrated the Contour milestone by hanging a banner at their headquarters. In addition that, the 1 millionth customer who signs up for the new offering from Cox Communications® was also rewarded with a free year of internet and video service plus an all-expenses-paid free trip to the Disneyland in California.

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Voice Control Remote

The officials from Cox® also shed light on some other stats related to their Contour TV service and stated that about 75 percent of their subscribers use voice remote weekly. They also added that the Contour app, which has been downloaded by over 1 million users currently, offers customers access to over 85 linear channels outside their home.

Cox® Contour also provides over 70,000 VOD choices to customers. Reports indicate that about 80 percent of Contour customers use VOD monthly. Officials from Cox® also announced that the Net Promotor Scores for the latest service are 200% higher than their legacy offering.

The EVP and chief product and technology officer at Cox®, Kevin Hart said, “The syndication with Comcast® is going quite well. The teams are working well together. We just hit 1 million customers on our Contour 2 platform, so that’s a big milestone for us. The NPS is up, customer satisfaction is up, and call-in rates and truck-roll rates are down below our expectations.”

30 Oct

Comcast® Reports Increase in Data Service Share from DOCSIS 3.1 and Fiber Networks

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Data Service Share

Comcast® has stated that its recent rollouts of DOCSIS 3.1 and fiber networks to businesses will help them to obtain a significant portion of the ever-competing data market. Some of the major internet providers in the country currently dominate the data sector. Michael Cavanagh, CFO of Comcast® said, “The significant majority of [Comcast’s] business services revenue is centered on connectivity, and we have even more runway to increase share in our data product as we move to gigabit speeds throughout our footprint with the deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 and as we continue to push fiber deeper in our network.”

The CFO of Comcast® stated this to the investors while evaluating the third quarter earnings. It highlights that the broadband and fiber-based services such as Ethernet constitutes a major portion of the business revenues generated by the Telco. One of its key network service, the Comcast® Business Internet 1 Gbps is currently available in many the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Central regions of the country. The Telco announced that it would be available to the other parts of the country by the end of this year.

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Deployment Of DOCSIS 3.1

Comcast® is continuing with the expansion of its fiber network into more locations across the country. Besides its increasing network connectivity option, Comcast® has continued in extending its business services with the introduction of services such as SD-WAN and managed Wi-Fi. Previously, it has introduced its SD-WAN product alongside the 1 Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 broadband service intended for businesses. Focused on the Comcast® Business ActiveCore SDN platform, this SD-WAN service indicates the increasing efforts by the Telco into virtualization of its network.

Cavanagh said, “We continue to augment growth through business applications and services right on top of our core connectivity business. These include our voice, video surveillance and advanced Wi-Fi products, and additionally, as we grow into the midsized business and enterprise segments, our recently launched SD-WAN product and our managed enterprise solutions business will help unlock new opportunities to serve branch offices of larger multisite businesses.”

ActiveCore uses software to deliver the services and network changes rather than using single managed and customized hardware. The ActiveCore SDN platform has several features such as the embedded orchestration capability that can be used to deliver as well as manage multiple virtualized network functions. Meanwhile, Comcast® has attained rapid increase in its revenue in the third quarter earnings, with around 12.6 percent growth.

26 Oct

AT&T® to Use New LTE Technologies to Speed up Existing Networks

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LTE-Advanced Technologies

It is true that the internet customers in the United States will soon be able to enjoy 5G in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that the LTE, the 4G technology that we love and know, is done, at least for now. LTE-Advanced, which is the name assigned to a number of innovative new technologies by leading internet providers, can still offer a better internet using experience to subscribers.

In a recent earnings call, the CFO of AT&T®, John Stephens announced that the telecom company would be deploying LTE-Advanced technologies to approximately 20 cities in the country and all the new networks will start to run by the end of this year. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that the telecom giant is eyeing to offer a maximum internet speed of 400 Mbps to their internet customers. The average internet speed available to customers due to the implementation of these new technologies is estimated to be around 40 Mbps, which is twice as high as the current average internet speed offered by AT&T®.

Officials from the telecom company also hinted that they are planning to combine three new technologies and use them for capacity upgrades and to deliver impressive internet speed. Some of the best internet providers in the country, including AT&T®, have been using the technology of carrier aggregation for quite a few years. This innovative technology efficiently combines more than one chunk of LTE spectrum across a wide range of frequencies, thereby allowing handsets to access and download data from different LTE bands at the very same time. 2CA, which aggregates two different carriers together, has already gained popularity among Americans.

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LTE-Licensed Assisted Access

Another new technology pushed out by AT&T®, Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), combines data streams from multiple antennas in order to boost the entire bitrate available to users. In addition to that, it also partners exceptionally well with carrier aggregation.

The final piece of the puzzle, LTE-Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) is critical, as it efficiently combines unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum with the usual LTE frequencies. This enables AT&T® to deploy small cell towers, which use 5 GHz in order to communicate with multiples devices in the close vicinity. This in turn significantly reduces the load on the traditional LTE network of AT&T®.

Experts believe that these technologies will be critically important during the rollout of 5G too. Therefore, incorporating the use of these technologies in the existing networks is certainly a smart move.

25 Oct

OpenChain Project Announces Comcast® As Their Platinum Member

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OpenChain Platinum Member

Linux Foundation has grown as the organization of choice for the top companies and developers of the world to build ecosystems that aim to accelerate commercial adoption and open technology development. The foundation, together with the open source community, is solving the hardest to crack technological issues. OpenChain Project is one of the ambitious projects of the Linux Foundation and they have now made Comcast® a Platinum Member of their project. Comcast® will now be in the Governing Board of the OpenChain Project.

OpenChain has been growing with a rapid pace in the recent months and the Governing Board of the project has fourteen members now. These members inspire and support a community of about 200, and address the requirements to have open source compliance.

“The OpenChain Project is centered around a specification that outlines an approach for open source compliance in all types of organization,” said Shane Coughlan, who is the Project Director of OpenChain. “Today, as we welcome Comcast to our Governing Board, we benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience provided by a diverse group of stakeholders. Together our member companies and our broader community will collaborate to build a better, more efficient supply chain and will help to ensure that all parties benefit from effective use of open source technology.”

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Open Source Adoption

Nithya Ruff, who is the Senior Director of Open Source Practice at Comcast® Cable, said, “OpenChain provides a powerful platform to accelerate open source adoption and engagement through shared best practices in compliance. We’re excited to learn from our peers and share our experiences as we engage in this important and valuable project.”

The OpenChain Project aims to find processes to have effective open source management and build trust in open source by making the license compliance process of open source consistent and simple. The OpenChain Specification defines a set of requirements that all quality compliance programs should satisfy.

The OpenChain Curriculum offers the educational foundation for open source solutions and processes while meeting the important requirements of the OpenChain Specification. The OpenChain Conformance allows business organizations to highlight their adherence to the requirements. The result is that the license compliance to open source will become much more understandable, predicable, and efficient for all of the participants of the software supply chain. Linux Foundation has invited businesses of all sizes to review the OpenChain Project.

24 Oct

Charter® Develops its Wireless Plans and Proposes to Deploy LTE Small Cells

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Deploy LTE Small Cells

Charter® has set forth numerous prospects for the future, especially in its wireless sector. The inside-out strategy proposed by Charter® will begin in 2018 with the WiFi first MVNO through Verizon Communications®. The Telco, which is also one of the major internet providers in US, is also planning to extend and develop their services into a mobile core infrastructure through the deployment of licensed LTE small cells. By this, Charter® intends to further diversify and make its cheap internet and cellular networks more efficient.

Officials stated that, “Charter® is actively testing licensed small cell technologies which will put us on the path to providing next-generation super-fast, high capacity broadband to our customers. We will combine this 4G LTE and 5G technologies with our existing advanced high-speed network to profoundly enhance connectivity for millions of our subscribers.”

Charter® also gave full details of its plans in a recently made filing with the FCC. The filing says, “The wireless component of Charter’s network is transitioning from a nomadic Wi-Fi network to one that supports full mobility by incorporating Wi-Fi with multiple 4G and 5G access technologies to deliver a seamless connectivity experience. In navigating this transition, Charter® is emphasizing an ‘Inside-Out’ strategy, focusing first on wireless solutions inside the home and office, and then eventually expanding outdoors.”

Executives at Charter® have appeal to the FCC to release the 3.5 GHz spectrum for licensed and unlicensed usage. The rules for the band will be discussed by the agency at the open meeting scheduled by the FCC. Charter® has put pressure on the agency to release the spectrum quickly and in implementing rules to limit licenses within a geographical area of a county.

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Seamless Connectivity Experience

According to the filing, “Large license sizes would limit access of the band to the country’s largest wireless carriers and would likely result in deployment only to the most densely populated areas. Smaller license sizes will enable new entrants, like Charter®, to tailor their investment and deployment plans by leveraging existing infrastructure.”

It further states, “In particular, Charter’s existing hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network provides the backhaul, power, and location to rapidly deploy small cells for the provision of wireless broadband service. By contrast, increasing the geographic licensing size of PALs to PEAs would preclude new entrants such as Charter® from investing in the 3.5 GHz Band due to their large geographic size.”

The efforts by Charter® in advancing its wireless networks will also extend into the core network arena. Charter® is planning to use the Evolved Packet Core of Verizon®, IMS infrastructure, SIM cards, and roaming. However, Charter® is currently assessing various EPC vendors and in the process of carrying out tests in its own virtual EPC to develop its core network.

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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Streaming Application Development

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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