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23 Jun

Comcast® Enhances Speed Of Its “Performance 25” Xfinity® Internet Tier In Washington

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Performance 25” Xfinity® Internet

Comcast Corporation®, which offers the best internet service in the country, has improved speeds of its “Performance 25” Xfinity® Internet tier at no additional cost for its existing customers in Washington. The doubling up of speeds in this major Internet tier will enable improved value and connectivity speeds in multiple devices for browsing the web. For the customers, this new addition to speeds on the “Performance Plus” tier will offer faster download speeds of about 55 Mbps, which will be accessible without any delay.

For accessing this renewed internet speed offering from Comcast®, customers only request to reset their modems. This can be done by unplugging the device from the outlet and switching it on again. Moreover, Comcast® will issue notifications to any of the customers that require upgrading their existing equipment. The company does not charge customers that currently have a modem for upgrading the equipment. Customers that have their own modem must either acquire a new one or rent it from Comcast® for accessing the improved internet speeds.

Amy Lynch, Regional Senior Vice President of Comcast® in Washington said, “We’re always looking for more ways to add value for our customers in Seattle and everyone else we serve in Washington. Today’s news, combined with our recent xFi launch, give our customers more speed, coverage, and control than ever before and really delivers a great overall internet experience in their homes.” Previously, Comcast® has made efforts in increasing the Internet speeds in Washington region.

Comcast® is one of the major internet providers in the Washington region, and they have made numerous efforts in enhancing the network operating in the area. This includes investment billions of dollars of investment in the Washington region for improving and upgrading the network to meet the ever-growing needs of the customers. Up until now, Comcast® has made about $1 billion investment in the Washington state for upgrading its existing networks as well as in installing new gigabit internet services for residential and business customers.

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Improved Internet Speeds

Moreover, the company has also launched its renewed WiFi experience dubbed the Xfinity® xFi in this month. This has been a boon to the customers as it enables them to personalize their home network by customizing its key parameters as well as in troubleshooting any issues in the connection.

The other key feature of Xfinity® Internet is that it provides the customer’s access to its 17 million Wi-Fi hotspots distributed nationwide. Combined with the latest increase in speeds, Comcast® is radically altering the internet connectivity experience for its customers in the Washington region.

23 Jun

City Councilman Is Not Happy With Charter® Practicing The Use Of Out-Of-State Workers

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Out-Of-State Workers

A member of the City Council recently joined the striking works of Spectrum® on the picket line for denouncing the use of out-of-state workers by the telecom company during the labor dispute. Approximately 1,800 cable techs for Spectrum® resigned their job on March 28 over health care and pension issues during the contract negotiations with the telecom giant.

The employees of the telecom company responded to this issue by conducting a strike at Spectrum® centers in New Jersey and other parts of the City. Several individuals, including Mayor De Blasio, tried to negotiate the dispute between the two parties, but all of the attempts failed miserably.

The union that represents employees of the company, IBEW Local 3, recently claimed that Charter Communications® has been seeking the help of out-of-state workers for filling the gaps that were caused by the worker’s strike. Reports indicate that this move from Charter® can be considered as a violation of the franchise agreement that the company had earlier signed with the City Hall.

Councilman Rory Lancman asked Charter Communications® to discontinue the practice of importing employees from other states of the country for doing the work of IBEW Local 3 members. He also mentioned article 14.5 of Charter’s franchise agreement with the City, which indicates that the telecom company must use city workers to the feasible extent.

Lancman added that he has spotted Charter® contractors with license plates from all over the country such as California, Illinois, Texas, and even New England, since the beginning of the labor dispute. He said, “Charter Communications’ decision to use out-of-state contractors not only goes against its franchise agreement with the City but also the values we hold as New Yorkers.”

“We believe that work in New York City should be performed by New York City workers, like Local 3, who have the training and expertise to get the job done right,” he added. Several members from the IBEW Local 3 also spoke about the use of out-of-state contractors by Charter®.

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On the other hand, a spokesman from Charter Communications ® argued that the telecom company is meeting their franchise obligations with the city. He added, “The contractors serving our customers during the strike are overwhelmingly from New York City,” the representative said. “However, the franchise clearly allows the company to use contractors from elsewhere, which we are doing.”

“While we will not elaborate on our contingency planning, the use of a stringent vetting process and use of quality contractors is paramount so that we may best serve our customers. We are well aware of this franchise term and are complying fully with its mandate,” Charter® officials added.

Reports indicate that the strike has not yet affected the subscriber numbers of Charter®, who is one of the leading internet providers in the country. This means that your best bet at acquiring the best internet and cable deal is still Charter Communications®.

21 Jun

CenturyLink® Extends Gigabit Broadband Services To More Businesses In Minnesota

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Gigabit Broadband Services

CenturyLink® Inc., which is one the major internet providers in the country, has declared that it has made available fiber ready broadband internet connectivity to about 32,827 small and large businesses in Minnesota. The fiber-ready service is available at speeds of about 1 gigabit per second and extends to about 1,131 multi-tenant office buildings. In addition, CenturyLink® has also made available the fiber optic network coverage to 400 MTUs in Minneapolis and 350 buildings in St. Paul.

Through their new service, CenturyLink® will provide MTU-based businesses with gigabit networking services containing equal 1 Gbps download and upload speeds. In addition, the provider will also offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), managed IT, and cloud-based services in the area. The other key services offered by CenturyLink® consists of metro Ethernet, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), and Multiprotocol Label Switching Virtual Private Network (MPLS-VPN).

The new offerings by the Telco come in the wake of the Digital Economic Value Index of Accenture announced the previous year, which claims that by the year 2020, about 25 percent of the world’s economy will switch to digital. With their new plans, CenturyLink® will rapidly transform the way businesses operate with the reliance of digital technologies.

By deploying the gigabit best internet service, CenturyLink® will enable the several businesses operating in the Minnesota region with advance networking connectivity features. This high-speed fiber based broadband internet connectivity would be of immense help to businesses operating in the specified regions as it offers a host of other bundled features like voice support and cloud-based solutions that allow sharing them among several key business locations.

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Fiber Ready Broadband Internet Connectivity

Jonathan Weinhagen, president and CEO for the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce stated, “A highly robust, reliable network plays a critical role in attracting businesses of all sizes to the Twin Cities and helps Juus maintain our standing as one of the best markets for business. CenturyLink’s continued network infrastructure investments in the Twin Cities not only strengthen our connectivity, but expand economic opportunities statewide.”

Duane Ring, Midwest region president for CenturyLink® said, “By offering fiber-ready services to multi-tenant unit office buildings across the state, CenturyLink® is creating a foundation to attract new businesses and drive economic growth. Businesses can not only easily gain access to our powerful network to meet their increasing technology demands, but also utilize CenturyLink® for affordable and scalable business solutions.”

20 Jun

Charter Communications® Rolls Out Spectrum Digital Education Grant Program

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Spectrum® Digital Education Grant Program

Charter Communications®, one of the best internet service providers in the country, has commenced its Spectrum® Digital Education Grant Program, a charity initiative undertaken by the company. It is solely intended to offer support for nonprofit organizations that provides education about the benefits of broadband Internet and its uses in everyday lives.

The key aim of the Spectrum® Digital Education Grant Program is to offer digital education amongst the communities served by the company. This is served to local nonprofit organizations mainly through webinars, workshops, public service advertisements, and financial grants.

Rahman Khan, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Charter Communications® said, “In an increasingly technology-driven world, the importance of digital education and access to adequate digital resources cannot be overstated. The Spectrum® Digital Education Grant Program allows Charter® to partner with community organizations across the country to help bridge the divide and provide communities in need with the tools to grow and prosper in the digital age.”

The Spectrum® Digital Education Grant Program will confer the necessary grants to various nonprofit organizations, which operates several programs specifically focused for the families and seniors. Moreover, it is offered for communities that have low accessibility to broadband internet connectivity and digitally illiterate sections of the communities.

One of the major prerequisites for organizations to become eligible for the grant is that they must serve the communities that are situated within a Spectrum® market. In addition, the organization must be a nonprofit one that has the 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status. The number of grants that are awarded by Charter® will not involve any cap and these awards will not exceed beyond $50,000 under any absent special circumstances.

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Broadband Internet Connectivity

Charter Communications®, which is also one of the major internet providers in the US, has initially made a commitment that amounts to about $1 million for supporting the grants. However, these grants are mostly nonrenewable awards with duration of one year. Nonprofit organizations can enroll with this new undertaking offered by Charter® through applications that will open for submission from June 30, and end on August 11, 2017.

The program is not eligible for organizations that have service area outside the Spectrum® market. Moreover, organizations that have any sort of discriminations based on gender, race, color, sexual orientation, etc., as well as those that are privately owned would be exempted from the Spectrum® Digital Education Grant Program. Charter® will announce the recipients of the grants by the month of October.

20 Jun

AT&T® Promotes Their Unlimited Plans With Hilarious Ads

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Hilarious Ads From AT&T

You might have noticed that all the internet providers are now telling the similar stories. Previously, the idea of unlimited internet seemed to have limits, but now, the various service providers have realized that subscribers prefer to work on their smartphones and iPads all the time. This has made different internet providers claim that their unlimited offering is better than the plans of other providers.

We have seen that the latest attempt from AT&T® to make this statement has gone to outlandish levels. In one of their ads named “Unlimited Romance” that promotes unlimited plans of AT&T®, we see a couple enjoying a beach romp. In the ad, children watch the couple and wonder what they are doing. As the couple roll on the sand, sand castles are squashed under them and the romp and roll continues to pedestrian crossing, under a plane, into a thick forest, and to the top of a mountain. The couple then plunge into the blue sea and end up on the sandy beach where encounter other romp and roll couples.

The message that AT&T® conveys with the ad is that with the AT&T® Unlimited plans you can have “unlimited everything”. The company has also come up with other scenarios that are imaginative to let the users understand the worth of their unlimited data offerings. There are also ads on unlimited recipes and unlimited hoops. There is also an ad on unlimited reality TV, where AT&T® shows Real Housewives styled women who argue and throw things at each other. One of them is even impaled on the forehead with a high-heeled shoe.

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Unlimited Internet Offering

These ads show that AT&T® is shifting their focus to unlimited plans to attract more and more people to their best internet services. “AT&T is more than a wireless carrier, we are an entertainment company,” an AT&T representative said. “We want to use our digital to reinforce that with our consumers and to present our brand in an entertaining way.”

“With the focus of the campaign being on unlimited entertainment options, like romance and sports, the spots will run on sites whose content matches what we are offering,” the representative said. With the ad, AT&T® plans to say that the users can watch as much as video as they like whether it is about romance, sports, food and recipes, or anything.

19 Jun

AT&T® Unveils A New Deal For DirecTV Now®

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DirecTV Now® Deal

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T®, has accepted the fact that the launch of their comparatively low-priced latest streaming service, DirecTV Now® has cannibalized subscriptions to AT&T’s DirecTV® satellite offering. However, the officials from AT&T® do not seem too worried because they have just unveiled a new deal for DirecTV Now® instead of focusing on DirecTV®.

As per reports, the telecom company will be providing a Roku Premiere Box to their new streaming subscribers. The price of the Roku Premiere Box is approximately $70 but customers will have to pre-pay AT&T® for two months of DirecTV Now® subscription. The cable-like live service, DirecTV Now® that offers customers access to over 60 popular channels for $35 per month become available to Roku users last month.

Reports indicate that AT&T® is all set to increase their promotion for DirecTV Now®. The telecom company recently launched their first national ad campaign for the streaming service and it featured Mark Wahlberg. The CFO of AT&T®, John Stephens said that the telecom company had “deliberately pulled back on marketing to give the platform time to mature and improve”. He added that customers should “expect us to be more aggressive with DirecTV Now® in the second half of the year, with additional features and content.”

It seems that the telecom company is embracing the appeal of DirecTV Now® to attract potential cord cutters to their streaming service. The officials from the telecom company had targeted young people and the ones who did not have a subscription to a traditional satellite video or cable service last year.

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Roku Premiere Box

AT&T® Entertainment Group Chief Marketing Officer, Brad Bentley added that people are “looking to cut the cable cord may not always know the best place to start. We’re making it easy by eliminating up-front cost and providing a cost effective solution to stream the content they crave from their living room couches.”

The CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson had earlier indicated that the “churn was up significantly” for DirecTV®, particularly among the ones who prefer not to buy the service as part of a bundle. He added that it included “some cannibalization” from DirecTV Now® too, but promised that they are going to “make some adjustments” to the marketing of DirecTV®. However, it seems that the telecom company has shifted their entire marketing focus to DirecTV Now®.

16 Jun

AT&T® Signs An Agreement To Build FirstNet

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LTE Emergency Service Network

The US government has finally confirmed that the telecom company, AT&T® will be operating and building FirstNet, which is a nationwide LTE emergency service network for the country. Apart from AT&T®, their vendors including Inmarsat Government, Sapient Consulting, General Dynamics, and Motorola Solutions, will receive $46.5 billion funding for the proposed 25-year contract.

The proposed LTE emergency service network will be covering all the 50 states in the country. In addition to that, it will also cover the District of Columbia and many other US territories.

The proposed network will allow paramedics, police officers, first responders, and firefighters to communicate with one another more efficiently. The need for such an emergency network was first identified after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York back in the year 2001. However, the shocking fact is that it took approximately 16 years for the government to appoint a contractor and define the criteria for the network.

During the official signing of the contract, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said, “When terrorism struck our shores the flaws in national security were exposed. We wanted to ensure such lapses did not occur again.” He added that FirstNet would be “a dedicated public sector broadband network that equips first responders with the technology.”

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® also added that they had earlier made a bid for the contract in early 2016. The two other well-known bidders were Rivada Mercury and pdvWireless. The former was excluded from the contract in March 2017 while the latter was excluded from the process by the end of 2016.

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Dedicated Public Sector Broadband Network

At the signing ceremony, the CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson stated that the FirstNet team has already “ran a detailed and transparent bidding process,” and added that, “All of us at AT&T®, we really are honored” to be awarded with “this unprecedented public-private partnership.”

The best internet service provider refused to share any details on whether they will be exclusively using the spectrum for the FirstNet network. However, they did share a few details on the partial breakdown of the costs.

As per the officials from AT&T®, “FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of high-value, telecommunications spectrum, and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network build-out. FirstNet’s funding was raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions.”

16 Jun

FTC Under Pressure To Crack Down On The Privacy Practices Of AT&T® And Comcast®

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Privacy And Data Collection Methods

The Federal Trade Commission is the top privacy regulator of the US and they are now under pressure to crack down on the privacy and data collection methods of AT&T®, Comcast®, and many other internet providers in the light of a recent court ruling, which would offer FTC the power to police all the internet providers.

Many consumer advocate groups are forcing the FTC to reopen a complaint that was filed against Comcast®, AT&T®, and Cablevision®. The complaint was filed against the alleged deceptive practices that were related to the privacy policies of these internet service providers.

As per groups like Consumer Federation of America, Public Knowledge, Center for Digital Democracy, and many others, these cable providers are violating the privacy of users, as they do not adequately notify users on the amount of data that the internet providers are collecting, compiling and using for making targeted marketing campaigns.

“Specifically, the complaint provides evidence that these cable operators failed to adequately disclose (1) the extent to which they were collecting consumer information via their non-common carrier subscription television services; (2) how they shared this information; and (3) how this information was combined with personal information collected through other means, such as information collected via the subscription video provider’s Title II internet offering to create comprehensive profiles on consumers, including data about consumers’ families, personal habits, and other characteristics,” the groups said in a letter sent to acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen.

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Targeted Marketing Campaigns

This complaint was filed before a year, a few months before the FTC lost a lawsuit against AT&T® for deceiving the users of their unlimited data plans. It was reported that the best internet provider was throttling the users once they reach a download threshold. This was questioned by FTC and when they tried to fine AT&T®, they claimed in court that the FTC is no longer capable of regulating AT&T® as they are recently classified as “common carrier.” Common carrier is a public utility designation under FCC offered to all the internet providers in 2015 as part of enforcing the net neutrality rules.

A federal court said that the claims of AT&T® are true and barred the top privacy watchdog of the government from controlling and overseeing the practices of all the businesses that are classified as common carriers including Google®, AOL®, and Yahoo®. All of them collect loads of data on their users, make sophisticated profiles, and monetize the data to have targeted advertising.

12 Jun

AT&T’s Forced Arbitration Favored By Supreme Court Ruling

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AT&T® Overcharging Customers

AT&T® Internet and DirecTV® has included terms of service that entails customers to “agree to arbitrate all disputes and claims” against the company. In this clause, there are prohibitions on carrying out class actions and jury trials, with an exception for individual cases in smaller courts. AT&T® has also made other clauses that call for multiple customers arbitration claims not to be consolidated into a single case unless the company has put aside the need. In the terms of service of AT&T® Internet, small claims court is described as “the exclusive alternative to arbitration.”

The arbitrator fees will be taken care of by AT&T® in the case when customers bring up claims that involve sums of $25,000 or $75,000 with DirecTV®. Moreover, only a 30-day period is being provided to AT&T® and DirecTV® customers for rejecting any of the potential alterations to the arbitration provision. There is no option for opting out of the arbitration claims. It is reported that a similar method for opting out has been created by Comcast® and numerous other ISP’s.

AT&T® has issued forth a general statement concerning on its usage of arbitration. It states, “We have been widely recognized for having one of the most consumer-friendly arbitration policies in the country—one federal court said our arbitration agreement has ‘perhaps the fairest and consumer-friendly provisions this Court has ever seen. The agreement provides strong incentives for us to resolve disputes prior to arbitration, and we resolve the vast majority before arbitration begins.”

A US District Court ruling, as per a Law360 article, determined that AT&T’s class action ban is unconscionable under the laws of California. It stated, “Despite ruling it unconscionable, Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the US District Court for the Southern of California hailed the contract as having ‘perhaps the fairest and consumer-friendly provisions that court has ever seen.”

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Federal Arbitration Value

However, AT&T® has won the US Supreme Court case ruled in 2011 that the Federal Arbitration Value as “preempts California’s rule classifying most collective-arbitration waivers in consumer contracts as unconscionable.” The telecom company stated that it gives consumers with a premium of $10,000 if the arbitrator presents the consumer with more than what is offered in their final settlement.

AT&T® mostly resolves a large number of claims made by consumers before it is presented for arbitration. It said, “Arbitration is always convenient for the consumer because any hearing takes place in the county where the consumer resides and, for claims under $10,000, the consumer may choose whether the arbitration will be in person, by telephone, or by written submission.”

08 Jun

AT&T® Fully Utilizing OpenStack And CORD Platforms For Its Network Virtualization Efforts

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Network Virtualization Efforts

AT&T®, one of the major internet providers in the US, is offering complete support for using the OpenStack platform. The carrier is however presently committed to fully deploying its OpenStack-based AT&T® Integrated Cloud Zones (AIC) that it failed to achieve last year.

The AIC zones are actual physical locations utilized by the carrier for operating its virtual network functions (VNF). Previously, AT&T® has proposed plans for setting up more than hundred AIC zones, which remained incomplete with only 80 of the zones deployed.

Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T® Labs has described it as “bringing the network to the cloud.” He said, “OpenStack is still a critical component to our architecture. We’ve made a significant investment in development resources contributing to the community, either directly through us or through proxy of developers that we hire.”

Currently, AT&T® has made proposals for deploying more than a hundred AIC zones across the country by the end of the year. Created in 2010, the OpenStack project is an open source group dedicated to compiling software for usage in cloud computing systems. The project has implemented a centralized management of computing, data, storage, and networking through a dashboard.

It was initially formed a joint venture of Rackspace and NASA, and the OpenStack Foundation undertook the entire project in the previous year. Currently, more than 500 companies have collaborated with the project. The OpenStack has played a major role in the migration efforts of telecom markets into virtualized platforms.

Fuetsch said, “Certainly some have been concerned about OpenStack in terms of its scaling and complexity, but we’re far enough down the road with OpenStack that we are fully committed. We absolutely look at a very long horizon in terms of where things are going and are always evaluating alternatives and options, but for now we are all in.”

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AT&T® Integrated Cloud Zones (AIC)

In addition, AT&T® is also involved in numerous efforts behind the Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) program. It is intended mainly for the growing data centers and internet providers in establishing software control for supporting services such as 5G networks.

As per Fuetsch, “What we like about this is for mobile operators with large infrastructure in place is that it puts them into a position to — with the move to 5G — support a more cloud-like architecture with the radio and mobile packet infrastructure.”

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