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24 Jul

AT&T® Plans To Acquire The Balance Of Otter Media

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AT&T® Joint Venture Plans

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® is currently in talks with Peter Chernin to acquire the remaining part of Otter Media, the three-year-old joint venture between the two parties. Reports indicate that the latest move from AT&T® is a part of their wider effort to clean up a number of their joint ventures before they acquire Time Warner®.

Some of the joint ventures of the telecom giant, AT&T® include stakes in the NHL Network, the MLB Network, and the Game Show Network, but a few of AT&T’s joint ventures belong to their DirecTV® unit. Reports from several reliable sources claim that AT&T® might be buying out the stake of Chernin Group, but Peter Chernin will remain close to the telecom company.

It was earlier reported that Chernin has been discussing a closer relation with the telecom company and he might be even joining AT&T® in a corporate role. However, a spokeswoman who represented categorically denied such claims. “AT&T® is not pursuing Peter Chernin for a role, and there are zero discussions about such a relationship,” she said in a press release.

Reports also claim that the joint venture between the two parties, Otter Media, which has invested in a wide range of over-the-top ventures, might be approximately $1 billion worth. Otter Media owns a piece of Asian video hub Crunchyroll and how-to site Creativebu. Additionally, they also have a majority stake in the online media company named Fullscreen.

Some of the most recent project of Otter Media is a venture with Van Toffler, who is a former Viacom music executive for creating Gunpowder & Sky. Otter Media had also announced a joint venture with Reese Witherspoon, known as Hello Sunshine. The Hollywood actor had stated that the new venture would primarily focus on female driven projects.

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Time Warner® Accusation

In addition to that, Chernin Group is also the owner of Chernin Entertainment that houses a film and TV production unit. Chernin Entertainment, which is partially owned by Providence Equity, also backs a number of digital ventures such as Barstool Sports. However, reports indicate that AT&T® is not currently eyeing the production house.

Although one of the best internet service providers in the country, AT&T® is in the midst of acquiring Time Warner® to strengthen its grip in the video arena. However, they have been encountering strong opposition from a number of Senators and customers. Justice department officials are checking the contacts for the proposed merger at the moment.

21 Jul

Comcast® Declares Its Commitment To Core Principles Of Net Neutrality

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Commitment To Net Neutrality

The Day of Action demonstration organized last week witnessed numerous organizations and companies standing up for net neutrality. This comes in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plans to override several of the protective regulations that surround the net neutrality concept.

Internet providers like Comcast® adopted a clearer stand on the issue, declaring their support for the proposed deregulation efforts by the FCC such as the Title II classifications. However, Comcast® has also declared that it will still offer support and respect for the very idea of net neutrality and the open internet that it proposes.

The FCC’s proposed rollback of the regulations has support from Comcast®. As per the telecom provider, “Such regulation is entirely unnecessary, outdated, and imposes substantial costs that undermine investment and innovation and undercut efforts to bridge the digital divide and deploy broadband to all Americans. While some seem to want to create hysteria that the Internet as we know it will disappear if their preferred regulatory scheme isn’t in place, that’s just not reality.”

In the arena of innovation, Comcast® has stated that the existence of the Title II classifications has become a hindrance. It claims that its release of Stream TV was held up over the course of an FCC investigation, which affected many of the customers. However, Comcast® has maintained its stance about net neutrality starting that they will always remain to the committed to the central aspects of a free and open internet.

The company stated, “We’ve repeatedly pledged from the highest levels of our company — from Comcast Corporation® Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, Comcast® Cable President, and CEO David Watson, and from me – that we do not and will not block, slow down, or discriminate against lawful content.”

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Title II Classifications

Previously, the company has run into several allegations stating the throttling down of connectivity speeds for certain customers. Even a 2009 lawsuit accused the company of slowing down the upload speeds of Bit Torrent users.

Comcast® has stressed more on the importance of eliminating the Title II classification. Moreover, the company has declared that it will comply faithfully with the regulations that ensure “no blocking, no throttling, no anticompetitive paid prioritization, and full transparency.” However, the Title II classifications will provide the FCC full authority in enforcing the net neutrality rules. Comcast® officials believe that Title II regulations can hamper any innovation, but accept its importance in enabling an open and free internet as well.

21 Jul

Five Towns Opt For Charter® Broadband Service

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Closing Broadband Gap

The once stalled effort from one of the best internet service providers in the country, Charter Communications®, to deliver high-speed broadband internet service to several rural communities in Massachusetts, finally saw some promising progress. In a recent announcement, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute announced that about five towns in Worcester and Berkshire country have signed a deal with Charter®.

Reports indicate that the telecom giant will be building cable networks in Tyringham, Princeton, Peru, Hancock, and Egremont shortly. Charter® will be using a $4,420,000 state grant for building the proposed networks, which means that local taxes will not be raised from the residents.

The officials from Charter Communications® hinted that the new network will reach approximately 3,600 businesses and homes. They also added that the broadband internet speeds would begin at a base level of 60 megabits per second. Charter® has also agreed to complete the proposed project within one year but they asserted they will need the issuance of all essential authorizations and permits including the pole attachment rights.

The State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru said, “As the only legislator in the state who currently lives in a home without access to high-speed internet, I couldn’t be more excited for my hometown of Peru to be on the verge of full connectivity.” He also added that access to a high-speed internet service from one of the fastest internet providers in U.S. would result in a significant improvement in the quality of life and economy in the rural areas of Western Massachusetts.

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High-Speed Broadband Internet Service

This is actually the second grant given to Charter Communications® under the Last Mile program of the state. The telecom company had earlier received an MBI’s award for supporting the construction of cable networks in West Stockbridge, Lanesborough, and Hinsdale. This award was made under the Private Sector Request for Proposals of MI, which is actually a part of the effort of Baker-Polito administration for bridging the digital divide in 9 partially served towns and 44 unserved towns.

In a Press release, the MBI stated that 46 out of the total 53 communities “have either completed a Last Mile project; have received a Last Mile grant for an approved project; or are considering a viable option to close the broadband gap.” It seems that Charter® is determined to bring broadband services to several rural areas shortly.

18 Jul

DirecTV Now® Is Now Equipped With A Cloud DVR

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4K HDR support

DirecTV Now®, the latest streaming service from one of the leading internet providers in the United States, AT&T® will be finally introducing a number of exciting features including a cloud DVR. The officials from AT&T® added that the addition is actually a part of a bigger platform upgrade for the TV applications of AT&T®, which includes the app for current DirecTV® pay TV customers and the streaming service itself.

The newly added cloud DVR is one of the most anticipated addition and DirecTV Now® customers have been eagerly waiting for the addition since the launch of the streaming service. Most of the competitor online streaming services of DirecTV Now® such as Hulu Live TV, PlayStation VU, and YouTube TV already have a cloud DVR option that allows users to save movies and TV shows for later viewing.

The streaming service from AT&T® was however introduced without this key feature, but the officials promised that the cloud DVR feature will be arriving to DirecTV Now® sometime “next year”. Even though it has taken AT&T® quite a time to bring this key feature into their streaming service, the telecom company is hopeful that the introduction of the cloud DVR will lure in more cord cutters to DirecTV Now®.

DirecTV Now®, which was unveiled by the end of 2016 initially, offered a variety of plans to their customers. The basic package offered by the streaming service that allowed customers access to more than 60 popular channels was priced at just $35 a month. Currently, the service offers a wide selection of live channels in HD and 4K quality. In addition to that, DirecTV Now® users can also access 30,000 on-demand contents.

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Introducing Cloud DVR Feature

A short while after the launch of the streaming service, customers from several parts of their country expressed their frustration, as the new service often encountered technical glitches. AT&T® quickly responded to the issue and assured users that technical issues are quite common during the launches of streaming services. Consequently, AT&T® fixed all the errors in a short span of time and DirecTV Now® added over 200,000 subscribers in the first month itself.

Reports indicate that other additions like live TV pausing, parental control, 4K HDR support, and a “download and go” feature will soon arrive to DirecTV®. If you have access to the best internet service, make the most of it by subscribing to DirecTV Now®.

17 Jul

CenturyLink® Expands Broadband Service In Rural Colorado Communities

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High-Speed Internet Service

CenturyLink® has declared that it has extended its high-speed internet service to numerous rural households and businesses in rural Colorado communities. The telecom provider has extended its best internet services as a part of the government supported initiative in enhancing broadband connectivity among the regions. Under this new expansion initiative, about 28,000 houses and businesses are now offered with internet connectivity with speeds ranging from 10 to 80 megabits per second. This is available across cities such as West Cortez, Durango, and Pagosa Springs.

According to CenturyLink®, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has marked approximately 14,000 of the houses and businesses based in these areas as high cost. Moreover, this initiative is also qualified under the Connect America Fund of the FCC.

Previously, the company had announced that as a part of the Connect America Fund, it had annually accepted about $26.5 million for a period of six years. Due to this, CenturyLink® is entitled to provide broadband internet to about 50,000 households and businesses in rural areas with speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads.

As a part of this program, CenturyLink® has carried out numerous upgrades to about 150 of its networking infrastructure located in the rural areas for expanding the broadband service. Brandon Yergey, spokesperson for CenturyLink® said, “Through the construction of new fiber cable and upgrading additional existing facilities to rural wire centers across the state, more than 13,000 additional customer locations benefited from improved speeds, some reaching 80 Mbps. Speeds vary based on distance limitations.”

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Upgrading Additional Existing Facilities

Numerous households and businesses operating in these rural areas will immensely benefit from this broadband upgrade. Colorado is the only state for which CenturyLink® received public funding for extending the broadband to rural areas. Anthony Neal-Graves, executive director of the Colorado Broadband Office said, “Improving broadband access in rural areas is a critical goal in Colorado. We need to ensure that federal funds that have made this investment possible, along with private investment, make the biggest impact in our state.”

According to Guy Gunther, the vice president of operations for CenturyLink® in Colorado, the company is dedicated to improving internet connectivity to the people like other internet providers. He stated, “Our promise is to continue our investment in our Colorado network, providing fast and affordable high-speed internet to customers across the state and helping to close the urban-rural divide.”

13 Jul

Comcast® Partners With Assurant® In Offering Mobile Device Protection Plans

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Mobile Device Protection Plans

Comcast® has entered into a new collaboration with Assurant®, a risk management solutions provider, for providing mobile device protection plan for its customers. This latest Xfinity® Mobile Protection Plan will offer the customers with repair and replacement of the devices in case of data loss or theft, accidental damage and other hardware issues.

With this new offering, Comcast® is seriously considering the upgrade of its mobile networks for better service and security. The company had begun its wireless offering Xfinity® Mobile lately with plans included a $65 unlimited package and a $12 per gigabyte option.

Numerous other internet providers and Telcos such as T-Mobile®, AT&T®, Verizon®, and Sprint® have already collaborated with Assurant® for providing device protection plans to their customers. Assurant’s mobile device protection plans offer complete assistance in case of any issue with the device while also providing a quick and comprehensive solution for resolving the problem.

The new device protection plan with Comcast® will consist of unlimited customer support, specialists’ guidance for solving various technical issues. This solution is not only limited to mobile phones though, but would be extended to a range of other devices as well such as TV’s, laptops, routers/modems, as well as home automation systems like thermostats, lights, and alarms.

Besides that, Comcast® customers are also made available access to the Assurant® app Pocket Geek that offers several self-diagnostic tools, security aspects, alerts, and troubleshooting advice. Moreover, customers can also access the Personal TechPro customer support specialists.

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Quick And Comprehensive Solution

Currently, iPhones users with an Xfinity® Mobile subscription get access to AppleCare Services. In addition, the Assurant® protection is also extended by Comcast® to serve on devices such as Samsung® Galaxy and Apple® iPhone for a price of $12 per month. Besides, the protection plans will also enable the customers to carry out an upgrade of their devices every twelve months without needing any early upgrading fees.

This offering comes along with its protection on damage, breakdowns, and loss that are not covered under the manufacturer warranty. Comcast’s decision to implement device protection on their customers comes ahead of the offerings made by other internet providers to their customers. Companies like Sprint® provide entry-level Assurant® protection of two tiers for a rate of $9 per month. Included with this is automatic data backup along with repair and replacement of the device.

12 Jul

AT&T® Supports Open Internet Policy And Joins Internet Action Day

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Open Internet Policy

AT&T® recently said that they are looking to join Title II fans’ Internet Day of Action. AT&T® is calling for the Congress to step in to preserve the open internet. Many of the internet service providers have argued that the fans of Title II do not have monopoly on protecting net neutrality.

“This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T® is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free internet,” AT&T® senior executive VP Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post. “But that’s exactly the point – we all agree that an open internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world.”

“On the eve of this ‘Day of Action,’ AT&T® reaffirms our support for an open internet based on protections that are fair and equal for everyone. We hope Congress can reach agreement on these principles and make those protections permanent,” he added.

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Internet Action Day

The participation of AT&T® in the Internet Action Day includes running print and television ads showing that they also support the open internet policy, though not based on the Title II, and saying that none of the companies should discriminately throttle or block data. AT&T® shared their agreement to the view that the internet need to be a free flow of commerce and ideas and that none of the internet providers should impede that. This has made them to join the move to support the right to access data, and applications.

The words of AT&T® covers about two of the three Title II based rules, against throttling and blocking. The third rule is against paid prioritization, is a grayer area for the internet service providers, and is not mentioned in the ads by AT&T®.

The ad also says that censorship should be avoided and that there should be good transparency. Internet service providers have been pushing the Congress to clarify that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to prevent anticompetitive throttling or blocking without the need to reclassify the ISPs under the Title II registrations.

However, that is not the type of action, which the Internet Action Day organizers are planning to have. They claim that Title II is the one and only way to offer protection to the internet against potential anti-competitive conduct.

12 Jul

Cox® Plans To Introduce A New Unlimited Data Plan

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Unlimited Data Plan

One of the fastest internet providers in the United States, Cox Communications® recently unveiled their plans to provide a new unlimited data offering to their customers by the end of the year. The officials from the telecom company also added that they are trying to broaden the reach of their usage-based data policy. However, Cox® has not yet announced the pricing details of their upcoming unlimited plan.

The telecom giant currently offers an optional unlimited plan to their subscribers for an additional amount of $50 per month. Cox® officials said that they would soon begin to alert customers in Louisiana, Arizona, Las Vegas, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City that they are putting them on the data plan of the company. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Cox® subscribers in New Orleans region have already been notified about this move.

Cox® subscribers who are added to this new data plan will have to pay just $10 for additional 50 Gigabytes of data after they exceed their monthly unlimited data. The monthly data ceiling is currently set at 1 TB by Cox® for most of their high-speed internet packages. However, the monthly data limit for subscribers who are Cox’s 1 Gig “Gigablast” tier is currently 2 TB.

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Cox® Internet

Cox Communications®, who is the best internet provider in several parts of the country, has already applied their data policy to the systems that are serving Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, Iowa, Omaha, and a few more markets. However, the officials from the telecom company refused to share any details on when will they apply the data policy to their remaining markets.

Cox® had recently stated that approximately 98 percent of their high-speed internet subscribers usually do not come close to exceeding their monthly internet data limits. Customers who exceed their monthly data limit are alerted by text messages, emails, and even through browsers. In addition to that, the telecom company also sends an automated outbound call to customers when they have used 85 percent and 100 percent of their monthly internet data plan.

Reports say that Cox® is also planning to offer a grace period of 2 consecutive bill cycles in Oklahoma, Las Vegas, Louisiana, and Arizona, before they start to charge customers for using additional blocks of internet data. This means that Cox® customers in other markets who exceed their monthly data limit should be a little bit concerned.

11 Jul

AT&T® Customers In Illinois Will Continue To Receive POTS Services

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AT&T® POTS Services

In a recent statement, the officials from AT&T® indicated that they will continue their support for the traditional POTS voice lines in Illinois region regardless of the new state law. The telecom giant also added that several customers in Illinois heavily rely on POTS voice lines.

A few weeks ago, the Illinois Legislature made a voting that allowed the telecom company, AT&T® to disconnect their 1.2 million POTS voice customers statewide. Reports indicate that this happened when the lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto and accepted the telecom modernization bill. However, AT&T® will still need FCC’s acceptance if they want to alter the existing POTS network of the state.

In a statement, Paul La Schiazza, president of AT&T® Illinois, said, “It’s important for our Illinois customers to know that traditional landline phone service from AT&T® is not going away anytime soon.” In addition to that, the newly introduced Illinois law also contained a provision for increasing the 911 emergency service fees of all phone subscribers including wireless, landline, and online services.

La Schiazza said, “The new Illinois law helps plan for the eventual transition to only the technologies that customers overwhelmingly prefer today modern landline service and wireless service. While the timetable for that transition is undetermined at this time, it could take a number of years.”

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The AT&T-supported legislation in Illinois, which would get rid of a requirement for the telecom company to offer plain old telephone service or landline voice service encountered opposition from the AARP and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) back in the month of May. This in turn ignited a new debate on the legacy services transitions.

The Senate Bill 1381, which was passed with a voting of 56-2 in May, will eliminate the state requirement that AT&T® will have to provide traditional phone service to customers in the state. Even though several customers have ditched their landlines to enjoy the convenience of a wireless, a major population of old users still depend on POTS voice service.

A spokesman for the CUB, an Illinois nonprofit watchdog group, Jim Chilsen, said that, “If AT&T® succeeds in ending traditional landline phone service, we think that will hurt people particularly seniors and those with medical conditions who depend on a landline as their most reliable link to vital services.” Apparently, the move from AT&T® to extend the POTS voice service will be highly greeted by Illinois customers.

06 Jul

What’s In The Bag For AT&T® Prepaid Users

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GoPhone Prepaid Offerings

One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® is currently offering three different prepaid plans to subscribers. Users who want to use unlimited data can subscribe to the $65 a month plan, whereas customers looking for a plan with lower internet data can subscribe to the $45, which offers them access to 6 GB high-speed internet data.

Both of these packages also offer unlimited text and talk within the country and between the Canada, US, and Mexico. In addition to that, users who subscribe to any one of these plans will also receive roaming in Canada and Mexico for data, text, and talk.

The cheapest prepaid plan offered by AT&T® is available to customers for just $35 a month for 1 GB of high-speed internet data. The most attractive feature of this package is that subscribers can enjoy unlimited talk and text service in the use. Additionally, customers can also make unlimited text to more than 100 countries.

The news of the potential rebrand came just a week after the telecom company launched their cellular access in eight more states in the country. The carrier has already expanded their broadband internet service to approximately 70,000 locations in the country. Reports indicate that they are planning to launch the broadband internet service to about 400,000 locations before the end of the year.

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AT&T® Prepaid Users

Many experts in the field of telecommunications strongly believe that AT&T® will be most probably offering cheap internet plans in their new service in order to draw in more potential customers towards their offerings.

It is to be noted that Sprint® recently offered a one-year free unlimited data service recently for customers who switch to Sprint® from their current carrier. This offering from Sprint® is currently the cheapest internet plan available to customers when it comes to unlimited data. However, if you are after a more reliable and stable coverage, it is wiser to choose AT&T® over Sprint®.

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