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28 Apr

Comcast To Launch Its xFi Home Wi-Fi Platform In May

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Wi-Fi management platform

Comcast Corporation, the major internet providers in the country will unveil its cloud-powered WiFi service called “xFi” in the month of May. xFi is a Wi-Fi management platform that will provide support to many of the currently installed broadband gateways across different regions. Besides, the telecom company also declared that its home security and automation service, Xfinity Home has attained a wider reach with almost one million subscribers currently. Ahead of the commercial launch of the service in May, Comcast is conducting several testing and trials of their newly developed xFi service.

xFi has already become available in Comcast’s X1 set-top boxes via apps in the Android and iOS platforms as well as in an xFi Web portal. Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman, and CEO stated that the service would get officially launched next month although the exact dates of the release are not made public. He said, “We think this [xFi] will be a game-changer for WiFi, enabling people to easily improve, personalize and manage and control their home network and the devices connected to it.”

The xFi service will bring forth numerous features that are accessible to the subscribers, like the ability to view their Wi-Fi names and passwords, troubleshooting network connection issues and the status of the network activity. The xFi systems major advantage is that it allows the users to pause Wi-Fi access across the entire home network. Moreover, it allows the users to personalize their profiles, and helps in efficiently organizing and adjusting the devices that are connected to the home network.

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Xfinity Home system

Dave Watson, Comcast Cable’s new president, and CEO said, “Our goal is to do with broadband what we did with video with X1 – create a better experience with WiFi. It lets you define the user experience throughout the household…There’s more to come on that, but I think it’s a premium position for us and evidence that we’ll keep on growing the broadband category, not just on speed, but coverage.”

xFi service will be accessible to the 10 million Comcast customers after the commercial release of the service. It is rumored that the service will get support from many of the MSO’s deployed gateways along with the newly released models. Moreover, the addition of one million subscribers to the Xfinity Home system will offer an excellent opportunity to Comcast in terms of packaging and profit, and will pose a huge threat to the other popular internet providers.

27 Apr

The Expected Death Of Net Neutrality Rules Makes ISPs Happy

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Death Of Net Neutrality

Most of the leading mobile broadband and internet providers in the country claim that they are big fans of net neutrality. However, it seems that plenty of the ISPs are very happy with the recent FCC (Federal Communications Commission) announcement that they will be dismantling the net neutrality rules shortly.

In a statement, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, “We continue to strongly support a free and open Internet and the preservation of modern, strong, and legally enforceable net neutrality protections. We don’t block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content delivered over the Internet, and we are committed to continuing to manage our business and network with the goal of providing the best consumer experience.”

The blocking of BitTorrent traffic by Comcast Corporation in the year 2007 resulted in a decade-long debate on how net neutrality should be enforced by the FCC. However, the net neutrality rules issued by the FCC in 2010 were shut down by a federal appeals court after Verizon filed a lawsuit.

The federal court stated that the FCC will not be enforcing their net neutrality rules against paid prioritization, throttling or blocking without reclassifying the internet providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. However, FCC made a decision to reinstate their net neutrality rules by reclassifying the internet service providers under Communications Act’s Title II. Most ISPs in the country currently supports the rules of net neutrality but they are completely against the use of the legal authority that allows the FCC to enforce these net neutrality rules.

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Net Neutrality Policy

Roberts added, “We fully support reversal of Title II classification, a 1930s statute that is outdated and harms consumers by creating a cloud over broadband investment decisions and innovation.” He added that he needs “a fresh constructive dialogue,” but he did not give any idea on how the rules of net neutrality should be enforced.

The Deputy General Counsel of Verizon, Kathy Grillo also praised FCC’s decision to eliminate the Title II net neutrality rules. Grillo said, “Verizon supports net neutrality policies that protect an open Internet without discouraging competition and slowing job-generating investments. We continue to believe that the right answer is for Congress to move forward on legislation that once and for all adopts clear, enforceable, and strong net neutrality protections.”

25 Apr

AT&T Launches New Ad Campaign

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New Ad Campaign

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T recently launched a new ad campaign that featured one of the famous faces from Hollywood, Mark Wahlberg. The officials from the telecom company hope that the new ad campaign, which pulls together the various exciting offers of AT&T, will help them win more customers.

In the ad, Mark Wahlberg stated that “the entertainment-loving people of America” must be able to access and watch their favorite TV shows and other programs whenever they want. The new ad campaign is called as “Terms & Conditions,” and it pitches AT&T’s wireless service, internet service, and DirecTV. The ad campaign further describes how subscribers will be able to stream TV shows and watch live TV by subscribing to the best internet service of AT&T.

In an ad, Wahlberg said, “We don’t want just some of our television on [the phone], we want all of it — all our favorite shows and live channels. Even C-SPAN.” He added, “A valuable and underappreciated public service.” The exec VP-marketing at AT&T Entertainment Group, Brad Bentley claimed that this is the first time the telecom company has brought all of their product lines collectively in a single ad campaign with the same message.

An analyst, Walter Piecyk stated that AT&T is currently focusing on an integrated strategy in order to “stem its customer losses.” He also added that the post-paid phone churn rate of the telecom company has seen significant improvement in the last few months while the post-paid phone churn rate of Verizon has worsened. Post-paid phone churn rate actually refers to the rate of subscribers leaving from a telecom company. He added, “Something must be working with bundling.”

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“Terms & Conditions”

AT&T’s latest ad campaign also features sports broadcaster Jay Glazer, actor James Marsden as his character in the fan favorite sci-fi thriller “Westworld” and actor and comedian Tracy Morgan. Reports indicate that these ads along with a parallel Spanish-language version, which features “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez will be running across print, TV and digital.

An analyst, Brian Wieser said, “I think they are trying to present themselves as friendly/helpful to consumers with their existing business portfolio. I think they may be mindful that this could help make them more appealing or less unappealing to regulators, but I don’t think it’s the only goal.”

22 Apr

Sling TV Will Be Available On LG’s Smart TV’s

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Sling TV In LG Smart TV’s

In a recent announcement, the officials from Dish Network’s online streaming platform, Sling TV claimed that their service is the first virtual MVPD that has become available on LG Electronics’ connected TVs. They also added that Sling TV service is currently available on most 2016 webOS 3.0 models. Reports indicate that Sling TV will be available on the 2017 webOS 3.0 models in a few weeks.

The LG models that are currently compatible with Dish Network’s Sling TV are UH5500, UH6090, UH6100, UH6150, UH6300, 70UH6350, UH6500, UH6550, 75UH6550, UH7500, UH7700, UH8500, UH9500, OLED B6, OLED C6, OLED E6, and OLED G6. Customers who use these television sets will be also able to use the Sling TV app.

The chief product officer of Sling TV Ben Weinberger said in a recent announcement, “Even with today’s ‘always on-the-go’ lifestyle, we know watching TV from the living room is still as important to our customers as ever. Offering Sling TV on LG’s award-winning, top-of-the-line smart TVs gives viewers more control over how they watch Sling TV, so they can view their favorite programs without the need for additional devices or unnecessary input switching.”

Matt Durgin, LG Electronics USA director of content innovation said, “Joining forces with Sling TV to include their robust slate of live TV and on-demand content further expands the offerings in our webOS 3.5 and 3.0 Smart TVs. The addition of Sling TV to our strong lineup of premium content apps on our webOS platform gives consumers an incredibly wide range of content options to enjoy on our critically acclaimed LG Smart TVs led by LG OLED and LG Super UHD.”

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Online Streaming Platform

If you have a supported LG smart TV at your home, then you will be able to see Sling TV in the LG Launcher Bar of your device when you turn it on. If you are unable to see Sling TV in the Launcher bar, go to LG Content Store and search for “Sling.” Customers who have not yet subscribed to Sling TV have the option to sign up for the service from their TV.

The parent company of Sling TV, Dish Network is one of the leading internet providers in the country. This telecom giant has also been offering some of the best internet deals to their customers over the past few years.

21 Apr

Comcast Business Is Offering Direct Links To IBM Cloud

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Comcast Business Offering

Comcast Business, a subsidiary of Comcast Cable that is one of the major internet providers in the country, is now offering direct and dedicated connections to IBM Cloud data centers. This move will allow Comcast in offering additional flexibility and increased connections choices to enable cloud for enterprise customers. With this deal, customers can avail connection speeds up to 10 Gbps in private network connectivity to the IBM cloud data centers for a range of domains like a public, private, or hybrid cloud. Other major data center providers and cloud exchanges like Digital Reality, Equinix, and CyrusOne are also directly linked to the company.

Jeff Lewis, Vice President of data services at Comcast Business said, “By working with IBM Cloud, Comcast Business gives enterprises more choices for connectivity so they can store data, optimize their workloads, and execute mission-critical applications in the cloud, whether it be on-premises, off-premise or a combination of the two. Through dedicated, reliable, secure access with multi-Gigabit performance and low latency, organizations can connect to a cloud system that best fits their needs with the ability to easily scale up in the future as requirements change.”

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IBM Cloud Direct Links

For businesses, this direct connectivity to the cloud will result in better performance and security. Furthermore, the Direct Link will provide clients of Comcast Business access to the increasing global footprint of IBM Cloud. Currently, IBM Cloud has over 50 data centers with their presence in about 19 countries and 6 continents. Embedded in the data centers are advanced networking systems both hardware and software that facilitates high bandwidth and connectivity, which offers exceptional performance and dependability.

Steve Canepa, IBM’s general manager in global telecommunications, media and entertainment industry said, “Cloud platforms are fundamentally changing how the world’s data is processed, stored and delivered while delivering better agility for enterprises to help reduce costs, improve consumer experiences and create new revenue opportunities. Today’s announcement represents a continued collaboration with Comcast to deliver robust technologies that drive innovation — integrating the power of cloud across private cloud solutions, hybrid deployments, and public cloud offerings.”

This deal will assist Comcast in doubling its customer base across the country alongside benefits to IBM in expanding its enterprise services. Furthermore, Comcast is also providing Service Level Agreement (SLA) along with the deal. Nearly 500 data centers and cloud exchanges are connected to Comcast Business network for access to multiple cloud internet providers.

19 Apr

Fox Channels Will Go Dark On Charter Spectrum Customers

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Fox Channels Unavailable

Charter Spectrum cable TV subscribers might not be able to access some Fox channels due to a new dispute between Charter Communications and Fox Networks Group over retransmission fees. In a recent statement, the officials from Fox Networks indicated that National Geographic, FX, and more than a few regional sports channels would go dark in markets outside of New York.

A website that was created by Fox Networks stated that the blackout would happen on April 11. However, the website had earlier declared that the stations would go dark on April 10, 2017, although it didn’t happen, fortunately.

Charter Communications, which is the parent company of Charter Spectrum, stated that, “Fox is trying to gouge our customers using the increasingly common tactic of threats and removal of programming. They are attempting to extort Charter for hundreds of millions of dollars. We will continue to work towards a fair agreement.”

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that the stations, which carry Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, or Fox, are not currently involved in the dispute between both the parties. In addition to that, reports also claimed that both the parties are continuing negotiations in order to prevent the blackout of the stations.

Fox launched a website a few weeks ago with the main purpose of informing Charter Spectrum cable TV customers that popular TV shows such as the “Fargo”, “The Americans”, and many more will not be broadcasted in the Rochester area. The season premiere of the highly critically acclaimed show, “Fargo” will air on Fox on April 19, but Rochester subscribers will not be able to view the channel.

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Charter Spectrum Customers

Fox said, “Fox and Charter have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore. Charter’s tactics could result in its subscribers missing our popular programming. We’re disappointed that despite our best efforts to reach a resolution, Charter Spectrum subscribers could lose access to multiple Fox sports and entertainment networks on April 11.”

Disputes between stations and cable service providers have become a quite common scenario in the TV landscape these days. For instance, Hearst Television stations were removed from Dish Network a few weeks ago, where many other are renegotiating their terms now. However, customers will still be able to watch their favorite programs if they have the best internet connection at their home, as many of the major players offer their TV programming on streaming platforms as well.

18 Apr

AT&T And Tribeca Enters Into A Multi-Tier Multi-Year Alliance

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Multi-Tier Multi-Year Alliance

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T, recently announced their plans to team up with Tribeca to launch a new film initiative named “AT&T Presents: Untold Stories”. Reports indicate that the telecom giant will be offering a funding of $1 million to a talented filmmaker in order to create a film while Tribeca will give mentorship to him/her from seasoned professionals in the industry.

In addition to that, the winning film will also be distributed by the telecom company across plenty of their own video platforms, which includes DirecTV Now. The latest film initiative between the parties is actually a multi-tier, multi-year alliance and it will begin with the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, which is scheduled to start on April 19 in New York City. Being one of the best internet service providers in the US, AT&T will be also serving as the presenting sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival for the fourth consecutive year.

Fiona Carter, AT&T Chief Brand Officer said, “AT&T Presents: Untold Stories is about pushing the boundaries of storytelling, connecting our customers to new and exclusive content and celebrating diversity. At AT&T, we’re passionate about innovation, culture and community – the same values that drive the Tribeca Film Festival. By launching this program with Tribeca, we are helping to give underrepresented filmmakers in the industry opportunities they have not had before.”

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AT&T – Tribeca Partnership

Jane Rosenthal, who is the co-founder and Executive Chair of the Tribeca Film Festival as well as the co-founder and co-chair of the Tribeca Film Institute, said that, “As a champion of supporting underrepresented filmmakers for over a decade, Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Film Institute are proud to collaborate with AT&T on AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, a significant and essential program that goes beyond the generous funding. To be able to say to a filmmaker that we are not only going to help get your important story made, but we will provide the mentoring, guidance and guaranteed distribution so it will get seen, is an incredible feeling.”

The Executive Director of Tribeca Film Institute, Amy Hobby said, “We are excited to collaborate with AT&T on this timely and critical new initiative, AT&T Presents: Untold Stories. This program fits squarely within our year-round work at TFI – to bring stories from underrepresented filmmakers to audiences around the world – and we look forward to providing guidance to all of the talented pitch participants to help fully realize these amazing projects.”

18 Apr

AT&T To Acquire Straight Path Communications For Rolling Out 5G Services

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Rolling Out 5G Services

AT&T, the best internet and wireless carrier in the country, has announced their plans for acquiring Straight Path Communications for enhancing their 5G network. The all-stock deal is inked at a sum of $1.6 billion and remains the company’s second largest 5G network related acquisition. Also included in the deal are numerous scheduled remittances and liabilities with the Federal Communications Commission.

Straight Path Communications owns a large array of wireless spectrum licenses and is a major holder of millimeter wave spectrum ranging between 28 and 39 GHz. Besides this new acquisition, AT&T has previously bought FiberTower and its spectrum licenses. The latest move by the telecom major comes ahead of their swift measure in the nationwide deployment of 5G services.

5G is the next advanced telecommunications standard that will eventually replace the already present 4G networks. It enables internet providers to give high-speed internet that is 40 times higher than was possible through a 4G network. However, this network technology is still in its infancy and AT&T’s latest acquisition could prove a major boost to the development of this networking technology.

All the major carriers in the US have begun development of 5G for deploying it nationwide with some of them carrying out numerous pre-commercial trials. AT&T has declared its proposed plans of conducting multiple trials utilizing higher band frequencies. This new trials by the carrier will begin in the coming months using its DirecTV Now streaming service for 5G video service. In addition, the company is also proposing many fixed mobile 5G trials using the new 5G Radio specification that is progressing under 3GPP.

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Straight Path Communications

The acquisition of Straight Path Communications will enable the carrier to utilize its numerous millimeter-wave spectrum, which is highly necessary for the deployment of 5G network services, because of its much higher frequencies. This allows the spectrum to carry more data over shorter distances, which was previously impossible through the lower frequency spectrum.

For leveraging its current broadband network, AT&T needs to expand its fiber connectivity for making full use of its spectrum assets. Through the acquisition of Straight Path Communications, AT&T will own more frequency spectrum than its rival company Verizon Communications. With the rolling out of 5G networks, the millimeter-wave spectrum will play a crucial role in further enhancing the internet speeds, which will open up the next generation of mobile network technology.

04 Apr

Comparing The Three Charter Spectrum Subscriptions

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Enhanced 3D experience

We all know that when you sign up for the Spectrum plan of Charter Communications, you get a free modem. The initiation is part of a deal which mixes up the internet service with cable and enhanced telephony. Being a new subscriber, it is easy to get confused regarding which plan to choose from within three given choices. So let us compare each plan named progressively as Standalone, Double Play, and Triple Play from a complete neutral’s perspective.

Spectrum Standalone Pack

The standalone plan refers to the year-on-year cable TV services of Charter, available on a monthly-based subscription. You get to pay $60 a month that is at least $30 less than the other two packages, and still bring home 125 plus TV channels. To enhance your 3D experience, a Digital Video Recorder with 32-days playback is also bundled along with the Standalone pack.

Spectrum Double Play

The Double Play package mixes up 69 Mbps internet speed and a free modem alongside the former pack, which gives you access to about ten thousand television shows. Can you recall the last time you saw “Game of Thrones” and endless On-Demand movies simply being on a couch?

Jokes apart, the best internet service provider lets you access the EPIX online digital content in blazing speeds in the Double Play package. When you get tired of watching cable TV movies, you can explore further to the digital world.

Spectrum Triple Play

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On-Demand Movies

Think of the full standalone pack and the key benefits of Double Play for the same subscription fee. For just $90, you can opt for the 9 Mbps higher internet speed in the Triple Play package and call your beloved ones settled in faraway places. The free modem is still there, and so is the 10,000 plus On-Demand choices available in both Standalone and Double Play subscription packs.

Charter Communications calls their best internet packages to be “endlessly entertaining”. One would beg to disagree with them, for the unique characteristics of the best internet providers are their willingness to adapt to the changes. The only thing that is common between all the Spectrum packages as of now is the persistence with “Spectrum App” which is available in the Google Store.

01 Apr

Comcast And AT&T Support Repeal Of FCC Privacy Rules

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FCC Privacy Rules

Comcast and AT&T are among those internet providers who are defending the Republican move to remove internet privacy rules from Obama-era. They accused that the critics of the move are misinformed. Bob Quinn, AT&T’s top lobbyist, said in a blog post, “it is not surprising that some folks are ignoring the facts.”

In another post, chief privacy officer and deputy general counsel of Comcast, Gerard Lewis said that the privacy policy of the company is still stronger than what the rule calls for. Chief privacy officer of Verizon Karen Zacharia also wrote in a blog post that the company “does not sell the personal web browsing history of our customers.”

“Consumers benefit and innovations flourish when there is one consistent consumer privacy framework that applies to all internet companies and users in the internet ecosystem,” Zacharia added. “That is what Congress voted for this week.”

The rule of the Federal Communication Commission would have required the ISPs to treat the data of their consumers like browsing history, medical, and financial information as sensitive data. It is mandatory that the internet service providers get permission from the customers before sharing or using the data to make targeted ads.

Republicans voted against the rules to eliminate them under a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution before the rules become effective and it is expected that President Trump would sign the bill. However, the move has led an outrage among Democrats as well as the consumer groups.

Quinn noted that the outcry is overblown. “First and foremost, all of the rhetoric that asserts — without any factual support — that the CRA vote suddenly eliminated consumer privacy protections is just plain wrong,” he said. “The reality is that the FCC’s new broadband privacy rules had not yet even taken effect.”

“There has been a lot of misleading talk about how the congressional action this week to overturn the regulatory overreach of the prior FCC will now permit us to sell sensitive customer data without customers’ knowledge or consent,” added Lewis. “This is just not true.”

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FCC Rules Repeal

Lewis also said that Comcast is planning to revise their privacy policy to “make more clear and prominent that, contrary to the many inaccurate statements and reports, we do not sell our customers’ individual web browsing information to third parties.”

AT&T and other internet providers had grouped against the rule much before the FCC voted them on. They argued that the rules apply privacy standards unfairly to ISPs and it does not cover websites like Google and Facebook that also collect consumer data for targeted advertisements.

“If the government believes that location data is sensitive and requires more explicit consumer disclosures and permissions, then those protections should apply to all players that have access to location data, whether an ISP or edge player or search engine,” Quinn commented.

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