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13 Oct

Magic Leap Campus to Get 5G Network Access by Early 2019

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The telecommunications company AT&T®, which provides cheap internet and DIRECTV NOW®, will launch a 5G trial zone next year at the Magic Leap campus in Plantation, Florida. As per an AT&T® news release, having the 5G connectivity at the campus of Magic Leap in Plantation city “will give developers and creators the ability to test devices and applications where the work is being done.”

AT&T® Communications’ Chief Executive Officer, John Donovan, said, “New and immersive experiences from Magic Leap’s developers eventually riding on the AT&T® mobile 5G network will redefine entertainment and productivity.”

The best internet provider AT&T® announced the news during the first Magic Leap conference held in LA recently. It is the exclusive wireless distributor of Magic Leap One to subscribers in the US. Magic Leap One is a “mixed reality headset”, a product designed for content creators like artists and developers.

The L.E.A.P. Conference featured many speakers, comprising the CEO of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz, and science fiction author cum the company’s Chief Futurist, Neal Stephenson. Abovitz said that the company selected LA as the location of its conference for accesses to West Coast developers, and commented that, “Holding our first conference on the West Coast helps us to start new conversations and relationships.”

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Magic Leap is now one of the most-watched tech companies in South Florida, having attracted big investments from other businesses comprising Alibaba, Google, and Saudi Arabia’s investment arm named Public Investment Fund.

The Telco giant also made another important announcement during the conference. In addition to the 5G mobile pilot network, it will launch the DIRECTV NOW® application’s beta version to the mixed reality headset Magic Leap One next year. AT&T® says that the beta app “will give you a new level of control in how and where you watch.” With the app, users of Magic leap One will be able to place a maximum of four live streams simultaneously, and they will be a cooking show, a previous film, news and the game of football.

The cheap internet provider plans to offer the content of WarnerMedia, through demonstrations in select shops, comprising scenes or characters from Warner Bros. movies reimagined for the mixed reality headset. Alongside Magic Leap, AT&T® will also host in San Francisco a Spatial Computing Hackathon from November 09 to 11, 2018.

05 Oct

Business Phone Options: Landlines vs. VoIP

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Business Phone Services

Every homeowner might have experienced setting up a phone service at their residence at least once, usually after having chosen from among the best phone deals they could find at the time. Doing this does not take nearly as much effort as it used to in the past days. Now, you only need to find out which phone companies service your neighborhood, research and compare the best phone deals, and call up the provider you decide to go with. Here, it is essential to first be clear on what your family’s phone needs are, as well as have a rough idea of the usage and budget that would work best for you. The best phone deals balance all aspects so that you get the finest service for your buck.

Business Phones

For small companies, especially startups, availing a business telephone service is about as easy as the procedure described above, except that it would cost more. For larger companies, however, the issue does not stop at the markup itself; the same holds true for organizations with clear goals of rapid growth. For such parties, it becomes imperative to figure out many things: the number of likely phone users, what calling features they would require, how many international and long-distance minutes would be used, etc. The most direct approach would be researching phone service providers and the best phone deals they offer. These days, there is also the option of getting a VoIP system instead. Following are the things to consider when getting a new business phone line.

  • Cost: Business lines typically cost more than residential ones – often by over 75 percent – but the markup does bring a number of extra calling features. The monthly cost on a business telephone system can vary based on the system type, the provider, and the plan. You could get something on the low end, like a KSU-less system; an all-out PBX system, or another option in between. The best phone deals usually land somewhere in the middle. Degree of sophistication is what mainly drives pricing, and after that comes the number of users the system is intended for.
  • Usage: Business telephone lines generally carry much higher traffic than residential ones, because there is a limit to how much the average homeowner would talk to people on a landline. The most use they would get out of it on a regular basis, is staying in touch with relatives and friends, ordering pizza, setting up doctor’s appointments, etc. Businesses, on the other hand, rely heavily on their phone systems to communicate with clients and customers, as well as collaborate with near and far-flung associates. International and long-distance calls are nigh-inevitable, and the need for these two needs to be considered carefully before syringing up with a service.
  • Equipment: Telephones used in business offices are more refined than what home phone users are likely to avail for themselves. While the latter might carry an answering machine, caller-ID, and speakerphone, a business phone system needs to be equipped to handle several lines at the same time, as well as conference these if the need arises. A VoIP service provider would require you to pay for digital IP phones as part of their best phone deals, allowing you to exploit the total extent of the services being offered. Based on your needs, the service provider would advise you on the equipment model you should probably buy.
  • Call features: While homeowners generally only need one or two lines with limited calling features, modern offices typically require access to a superior slew of features and options. You may be fully satisfied with call-waiting and voicemail on a home phone, and the same could even suffice for a home-based business. In contrast, a company looking to grow is almost sure to need multiple lines, automated call handling, call forwarding, conference calling, extension dialing, fax, dial-by-name directory, etc. To zone in on the best phone deals in this regard, you first need to have an idea of how many calls you would probably be handling at specific times of day. If multiple simultaneous calls are a given, then the setup should be able to accommodate that as well as other things.
  • Phone numbers: Residential lines get dedicated phone numbers assigned to them, and the same goes for business lines, unless the company buys a toll-free number. These can be assigned randomly, but specific vanity numbers too are buyable for an extra charge. Businesses generally set up separate numbers on which customers and clients can get in touch, while being treated to the level of professionalism they expect and desire. Toll-free numbers can be bought from phone companies, or even from providers listed online.
  • Tax deductions: For home-based businesses and individuals that work from home, the IRS allows tax deductions for those calls made for the business, which are placed from inside the residence. This could cover either itemized calls on the regular home line, or the entirety of calls connected from the second business line, assuming the latter are all business related.

Choosing Between VoIP and Landline

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Type Of Phone Systems

The modern business environment holds precious few similarities with what was common a couple of decades ago, mainly owing to technological advancements that allow for the best phone deals in the market. Companies these days can focus heavily on boosting productivity and efficiency, thanks to myriad useful introductions such as VoIP phone systems. The internet has made over how telephony is done – you no longer need a landline or a cellular service to be able to talk to people at a distance. Before choosing from the best phone deals for your business (VoIP vs. landline), you need to understand that this choice would majorly impact intra-office communications, costs, and the options available to employees and customers.

What are Landlines?

The commonly used term “landline” refers mostly to telephone using twisted pair wires made of copper which plug into a wall jack. This technology has remained pretty much the same since its invention in the 19th century. Landline phones use analog technology to send signals through switchboxes, and the latter connect the phones at each end of the conversation. The main downside to this is that new features are limited, and generally only include voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and call blocking. Wiring is another source of concern, in that it is costly to maintain, and always takes up a lot of space. The redeeming quality of landlines is that they are highly reliable due to the use of physical wires, which are much more immune to shutdowns and interruptions.

What Is VoIP?

VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is a technology that facilitates calling people over the internet. These systems do not use copper wires; instead, phones are connected through the internet, which means the only setup you need is fast broadband. Calls get converted into digital signals right inside the phone, eliminating the need for physical exchanges, as well as the chaos that comes with wires.

Everything is digital, in that it all runs through the internet. Because of this, VoIP service providers can provide a plethora of useful features which allow businesses to ramp up productivity through efficient communication. In terms of reliability, VoIP works without a hitch as long as your internet connection stays uninterrupted and sufficiently fast. This is why your existing broadband weighs so heavily into the suitability of a VoIP phone system for your phone.

VoIP vs. Landline

The four main factors to compare the two by, are as follows.

  • Features: Landline phones bring only the basics under features. VoIP phones, in contrast, carry the whole spectrum of options ever devised and included in telephones: voicemail-to-email, virtual receptionist, three digit dialing, automatic call forwarding, and lots more. Advanced features that can be accessed at several office locations are always a plus, especially when they integrate well with the cloud. In current times, VoIP phones are uniquely capable of making these available to you, as well as plenty more if you choose among the best phone deals.
  • Technology: Landline phone systems work through copper wire infrastructure that is already in place in most parts of the country, and they will continue to be in use for some time. At the end of the day though, they are a legacy system which are a hassle to upgrade. Digital communication setups are quickly replacing them as the standard, and the infrastructure for these are being rapidly laid.
  • Reliability: This is one area where VoIP phones lose out to landlines, at least at present. High-speed internet can bridge most of that gap. If you are particular about this aspect of a VoIP service you are considering signing up for, talk to your ISP and find out what ways there are to ensure better connection stability.
  • Cost: One of the main reasons VoIP phones appeal so much to businesses is that they cost a lot less – to the tune of 40-80% – than traditional landline services. Having more than one of the latter set up in the office can run up costs considerably, and would further require a private branch exchange or PBX. This is hardware that needs to be maintained on-premises, which of itself can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. VoIP not only bumps off that initial outlay, but also does away with the need for expensive maintenance and service. VoIP phones are a no-brainer, especially For SMBs and startups.
  • In with the new: This just clumps the above four points, but adopting new technology into the daily operations of your business brings many benefits, much the same way as the move from cassettes and CDs to iPods did. Since digitization is inevitable, shrewd business owners may as well make us of the best that VoIP offers in relation to traditional landlines. The technology is bound to improve with time, and early transitions can often net the best advantages.

Things That Signal the Need for a New Phone System for your Business

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You may have a phone system in your office that was top-of-the-line when you bought it a decade back, and which has since served you well in streamlining operations within the organization. Now, however, with VoIP reigning as the preferred choice among more and more companies, you may want to switch over if the following things are already happening.

  • The business phone guy is hard to get hold of: The company that installed and maintained your phone system has become hard to contact when you need them, and is also impossible to replace. This narrows your options as long as you still use a landline.
  • Compatible phones and cards are harder to find: The phone models you use are no longer being serviced, and compatible expansion cards are no longer easily available.
  • The voice mail card has crashed, and you are unable to find another one to replace it with: There were actually companies which were rendered incapable of taking voice mail from customers and clients, all because the dedicated component in their phone system would no longer work properly. In such an instance, it is a gamble to try and repair it by yourself, because there is no telling that stored messages will not get deleted.
  • Your telephone numbers are too costly: First generation landlines coming in may cause confusion where business numbers are concerned. Many straggling businesses even end up overpaying telephone companies for this service because they cannot keep track.
  • It is not possible to install business extensions at other locations: In today’s business environment, you simply cannot do without the option to call up employees at other offices using simple three-digit Without this, you could not even tell whether an employee outside the building was on the phone.
  • You are moving office to a building, which precludes voice cabling: Traditional telephone cables used to be the norm, or at least the option to lay them did. Some places pose exceptions in that only data cabling is available. This means getting a new VoIP system installed would cost a lot less than getting infrastructure for your existing landline. Moreover, doing the latter does not guarantee the old system would power up and function correctly afterwards.
  • Your salespeople require their business line forwarded to their mobile phones: The pros of this usually far outweigh the cons, making it much more sensible to get a system installed that allows call forwarding. This way, you can rest assured that your sales team would not miss customer calls if they were off-premises.
  • The phone system needs to be programmed with a dial pad: Making widespread programming changes on a traditional phone’s keypad is tedium incarnate, so the sooner you switch to a digital option, the more quickly this side of things becomes remarkably easier to handle.
29 Sep

beIN SPORTS Sign a Long-Term Renewal Agreement with Dish Network®

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The executives from beIN SPORTS, a global network of sports channels, recently announced that they have signed a new long-term content distribution renewal agreement with Sling TV® and Dish Network®. This means that the sports channels of beIN SPORTS will be available in all Sling® and Dish Network® packages.

Dish Network® is one of the leading TV providers in the United States and they have been partnering with different networks and channels to offer more content to their customers. In addition to that, most of the Dish Network® packages offer customers access to a wide variety of channels with excellent TV shows, blockbuster movies, news updates, sports events, and more.

According to this new deal, customers of both Dish Network® and Sling TV® will be able to continue accessing the programs offered by beIN SPORTS. The sports channels under this global network broadcasts live football club matches from both Ligue 1 and La Liga. In addition to that, Sling TV® and Dish Network® subscribers will be able to watch races from MotoAmerica championship series and MotoGP.

The sports networks under beIN SPORTS also offer the coverage of tennis tournaments that feature some of the top players from the Women’s Tennis Association. Apart from that, game analysis, player stats, and expert opinion on different sports events will also be available to customers through the amazing sports channels of beIN SPORTS.

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The Deputy Managing Director for the US and Canada division of beIN SPORTS, Antonio Briceño, said, “This renewal, which allows beIN SPORTS’ availability across the U.S. via both satellite and over-the-top streaming, could not come at a more exciting time given the new soccer season and the kick-off of the Conference USA football season. These popular sporting events have proven to be fan favorites, and we’re thrilled that both our existing Dish® and Sling TV® viewers will be able to catch all of the action this fall.”

Commenting on the reports, the Vice President of Sling® and DishLATINO, Alfredo Rodriguez Diaz-Marta, said, “Our goal is to deliver great content at a great value, connecting our viewers to the news, sports and entertainment they want in both Spanish and English. We are pleased to continue our relationship with beIN SPORTS, delivering fans the season’s must-see soccer matches and coverage.”

Customers who are planning to subscribe to the TV service of Dish Network® to enjoy the contents of beIN SPORTS should check whether the sports channels are available in all Dish Network® packages or not before making a buying decision.

24 Sep

How to Catch the Best Cable Deals in the Market

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Online Streaming Services

The launch of online streaming services such as DIRECTV NOW®, Hulu, and Netflix has encouraged several customers to ditch their traditional TV service and enter into a partnership with these streaming service providers. It is true that subscribing to a streaming service will enable you to catch your favorite TV shows, blockbuster movies, sports events, and more. However, the catch is that you will need access to a high-speed internet connection to enjoy a fine streaming experience. Customers who do not enjoy such a luxury should continue to stick with the best satellite and cable TV providers in their area.

Even though they have access to a high-speed internet connection, several customers in the country prefer to subscribe to cable TV providers due to the attractive packages and deals offered by the providers. It is significant to note that most of the cable and satellite TV providers in the country do offer a number of hidden perks and other attractive deals to new TV customers.

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that the immense popularity of streaming services has affected traditional TV services. This is because some of the leading TV providers in the United States have lost thousands of customers. Due to this, most of the TV service providers in the country are trying to lure in more customers towards their offerings by offering the best cable deals in the market.

How to Choose the Best Cable TV Provider

Selecting a cable TV service provider used to be a simple task until a few years ago but that is not the case anymore. This is because there are plenty of cable TV providers out there in the market and most of them offer a wide variety of plans and packages to customers. So, customers who wish to catch the best cable deals in the market will have to thoroughly compare all the plans offered by the TV providers who are operating in their area. In addition to that, they must definitely consider these following factors too, as it will help them to make an informed buying decision.

Availability

The first and most important thing you need to do is to do your research and find out the best cable TV service providers who are offering their services in your region. In most parts of the country, two or more cable TV options are available to customers. If that is the case, then make sure to get in touch with respective companies to learn more about their plans, packages, policies, and more. You should also try to reach out to the existing subscribers of the TV providers because it will help you to know whether they offer reliable and good quality service to customers or not.

Another important thing you need to note is that regional and local TV service providers like Cincinnati Bell and WOW offer impressive service at cheap and affordable prices. However, the issue is that the service offered by these providers is available only in 10 states of the country. If any of these providers are operating in your area, then you should consider subscribing to their service, as it will help you capture the best cable deals in the market.

Plans and Pricing

It is significant to note that the number of channels, pricing patterns, bundling options, and contract agreements of one TV service provider will significantly vary when compared to another. So, you should initially decide what kind of TV channels you need access to and how many channels do you really need. In addition to that, you must ensure that the channels that you want are included in the chosen package before making a final decision.

A recent survey conducted by experts in the field of telecommunications revealed that the most customers usually watch 20-30 channels. In fact, even the customers who have subscribed to a TV plan with 250 plus channels just watch only twenty to thirty of these channels. So, check whether the channels you want are included in the basic package. If not, get in touch with your preferred TV service provider and ask him whether you will be able to add additional channels to the basic package. However, you could also look for a new plan with more channels. Either way, you must ensure that you and your family will be able to catch the programs from your favorite TV channels.

Customer Service

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Choosing Best Providers

Customer service is another important factor that you will need to consider before subscribing to a certain TV service provider. If you are experiencing regular outages and other related issues with your existing TV service, then you surely need to switch to a new TV provider who offers reliable service and the best cable deals in the market. If you have already found a new TV provider, then you need to ask whether you will experience any sort of issues with the service or not. Even if you experience any such issues, technicians from your TV service provider must be there to help you at all time. So, go online and check the reviews of your preferred TV provider, as it will help you to determine whether they offer high quality and reliable service.

In addition to that, you should also get in touch with the customer service representatives of the TV service provider and ask them whether you are eligible for any deals or promotional offers. This will help you to save hundreds of dollars and acquire the best cable TV deals in the market with utmost ease.

Some of the cable TV providers in the country might ask you to sign a two or three-year agreement with them. If you are not ready to enter into a long-term partnership with any cable TV providers, then it is best to look for a TV provider who does not ask you to sign long-term agreements. The issue with long-term agreements is that customers who cancel the service before the contract period ends might be forced to pay a hidden fee.

Top Cable TV Providers in the United States

Customers who are new to the world of cable TV providers and plans will find it very hard to identify the best TV provider who meets all their needs. Three of the leading cable TV service providers who offer their services in most parts of the country are Frontier Communications®, Comcast XFINITY®, and Cox Communications®. So, if any of these TV providers are operating in your area, then you should definitely consider choosing them. However, if all three TV providers are active in your area, then you will need to compare their plans and pricing pattern to catch the best cable deals in the market.

Comcast XFINITY®

Most of the leading cable TV providers in the country will offer just a single non-bundled option or they provide bundled options where you can bundle your internet and TV service under a single bill. This is what makes XFINITY® different from other TV service providers. Customers who are signing up for the XFINITY® TV service can choose any one of their five TV packages without subscribing to the internet.

Another interesting thing to note is that almost all TV packages of XFINITY® give you access to a wide variety of popular channels. In fact, you will be able to watch the coverage of approximately 200 plus channels by choosing XFINITY® over other TV service providers. For instance, the starter plan of the provider contains 40 percent of most of the popular channels in the country including Hallmark Channel and ESPN. However, specialty sports channels and premium networks like MLB Network and Starz will not be included with the basic plan.

The cable TV service offered by Comcast XFINITY® is currently available in 39 states and around 8,444 zip codes, which implies that Comcast® is one of the widely available cable TV providers in the United States. Even though this leading cable TV provider earned a bad reputation for their unreliable customer service a few years ago, they have been put in extra efforts to dramatically improve their customer service to please subscribers.

Cox Communications®

If you are a person who prefers to troubleshoot and install modems and other devices on your own, then Cox® should be on top of your list. This is because this cable TV provider has an exceptional online resource library with how-to-do video guides that enable customers to set-up and troubleshoot their services with ease. If you encounter any issues with Cox® TV service, then all you need to do is to choose the issue in the search tool, which will automatically redirect you to the accurate instructional manual.

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The best TV plan offered by Cox Communications® is the Contour TV plan. Customers who choose this TV plan will be able to gain access to more than 140 popular channels, including some of the favorite channels of average TV watchers. However, specialty sports and premium channels will not be included in the Contour TV plan. Cox® customers could also opt for the Contour Flex or starter plan to watch the programs in The CW, ABC, and PBS.

In addition, customers who are opting for the cable TV service of Cox® will be able to choose supplement TV packages and add their favorite sports, movie, or other genre-specific channels. You will only have to pay an additional amount of 10 dollars a month to add a new channel to your existing Cox® TV plan. Finally, Cox® also allows you to self-install the service, which means that you will be able to save hundreds of dollars on installation fees.

Frontier Communications®

If Frontier Communications® is offering their services near you, then you do enjoy the luxury of selecting either Vantage TV or FiOS TV. The most popular option among the two is certainly FiOS TV. The FiOS TV service of Frontier® uses fiber optic cables instead of traditional methods. Customers who bundle the internet and FiOS TV service of Frontier Communications® will be able to enjoy access to a high-speed internet connection and watch more than 100 popular channels.

Several users have recently started to subscribe to the FiOS TV service of Frontier® due to tempting promotional deals and offers the telecom company is offering. For instance, new subscribers of Frontier® will receive a router for free and the installation of the equipment will also be free. In addition to that, customers might also get access to Amazon Prime for 12 months after signing up for FIOS TV.

Customers who are on a tight budget and the ones who wish to bundle their TV service with a high-speed internet connection should definitely choose Frontier Communications® over Cox Communications® and Comcast XFINITY®. This will enable you to get access to the best cable deals in the market. However, the major downfall of Frontier® is that their customer service is just average.

Conclusion

If you are planning to choose cable TV service over satellite, then you need to realize the fact that cable TV providers are not currently operating in all parts of the country. As a result, most customers will have one or fewer than three cable TV options because installing the necessary infrastructure of cable TV service is quite costly and requires time. Still, cable TV providers are trying to expand their TV service to remaining parts of the country, which means that cable TV service will be available in more states in a short span of time.

Finally, customers who are shopping for cable TV services should also note that most of the leading telecom companies in the United States encourage customers to bundle either two or three of their telecommunication services. It is true that bundling TV and internet or TV, internet, and home phone services will help you to save money and gain access to a number of features. However, if you are a person who does not rely on home phone or internet services, then bundling might not be a good choice for you.

20 Sep

AT&T® to Follow the Market for 5G Rollout

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Recently, the best internet provider AT&T® announced that it plans to roll out the 5G service in a dozen cities by 2018 and named seven cities the company plans to connect to the 5G network early 2019. The Dallas-based carrier is rolling out the required equipment to support the fresh wireless standard across the US. However, the fastest internet provider plans to allow the market to guide where and when it turns on 5G, said AT&T® Labs President cum Chief Technology Officer, Andre Fuetsch.

“Over time we’ll just have see how much [5G] device penetration happens over time,” Fuetsch said. “That will determine, really, the pace of how 5G gets built.” He also added that it is compliant with the wireless standards body 3GPP’s specification. That means phones on the 5G network of the company will be able to switch over to 4G radios seamlessly when required, and the Telco will not have to upgrade equipment or subscribers’ phones to make them compatible with the wireless standard.

With the correct radios, 5G promises superfast speeds. Unlike with those previous technologies, the throughput subscribers will receive with 5G could either match or better those of residential internet connections. In some cases, subs could see 1 Gbps speeds or more, which is around what fiber optic internet broadband services like Verizon Fios® offer.

The CTO of AT&T® Labs is helping guide the 5G effort of the fastest internet provider. However, the actual 5G speeds customers get could differ from one place to the other. That is because to deliver the quickest service, telecommunication companies will have to use radio towers that can transmit data at mmWave frequency bands in the rage of 24 GHz and more.

Signals sent in the said bands do not go through walls or do not tend to travel extremely far. Therefore, to cover the exact area that low-frequency bands were able to, they will have to use more radio towers. This will make deployment pricier.

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Carriers can make use of lower-frequency bands in order to deliver the 5G service, but only at a moderately quicker speed than what 4G can deliver, said Fuetsch. He also said that top speeds might reach about 1 Gbps, but average speeds will probably be in the hundreds Mbps. Besides quicker speeds, 5G promises lower latency.

“If you’re in one of our millimeter-wave zones … you can expect gigabit-plus speeds. Not just peak speeds but average speeds,” AT&T® Labs CTO said. “In other areas, you certainly will get some speed advantages, you will also get reduced latency, but you won’t get as much speed as you would with a millimeter wave connection.”

17 Sep

How to Find the Best Internet Providers near you

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The internet speed requirements of both resident and business customers have considerably increased over the last few years. This is because most of us have become too reliant on the internet these days. We use the internet connection at our home to access social media platforms, browse the web, play online multiplayer games, stream video contents, and a lot more.

Likewise, business owners and employee also depend on the internet connection at their office to video conference with clients, hold online meetings, and to complete their monthly and daily work targets. So, if your internet connection is slow or unstable, then you will find it very difficult to carry out the above-mentioned basic internet related activities.

Such internet issues can be very irritating and frustrating and if unresolved, they might put your entire business operations at greater risk. If you wish to avoid such hassles, then you need to ask yourself who are the best internet providers near me. Subscribing to the fastest internet provider who offers you access to a high-speed internet connection with zero lags or interruptions will help you to enjoy an internet using experience at your home and office.

Things to Consider before Choosing a Certain Internet Provider

There is a wide variety of internet connectivity options, internet providers, internet plans, and other options available to customers who are shopping for internet services. The abundant number of choices available to you might make you feel a little bit overwhelmed and confused. If you are stuck in such a difficult scenario, then Google ‘best internet providers near me’, as this will help you to find reliable internet providers in your area. However, it is significant to note that the internet requirements of users may considerably vary from one another. So, the first and most important thing you need to do is to determine how much speed is required for your business related or personal tasks. Once you have figured that out, take a look at the results of your previous ‘best internet providers near me’ Google search.

You will now need to thoroughly go through the different internet plans of each one of the providers. This will help you to identify an internet plan that suits your requirements with ease. However, some of the terms used by internet providers might seem new to you, so it is best to learn what these terms mean before subscribing to a certain fastest internet provider.

Basic Internet Terminologies

Shopping for internet services used to be a straightforward and simple task until a decade ago. However, that’s not the case these days. The innovations and advancements in the field of technology have enabled internet service providers to improve the coverage, speed, and other aspects of their internet connection.

Moreover, multiple numbers of internet connectivity options are also offered by most of the leading internet providers in the United States. When you are exploring your options for internet service, you will most likely come across a few internet terminologies, which may seem new to you. Some of the most common basic internet terms used by internet service providers are the following.

Bandwidth

In simple words, the term ‘bandwidth’ can be defined as the amount of internet data that your internet service provider is capable of transmitting in a given time interval.

Download Speed

Download speed, which might also be called as ‘down’ or ‘downspeed’ by internet providers, can be described as the internet speed at which you can download and stream contents from the web to your PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other internet enabled devices.

Upload Speed

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Upload speed is a term which is used to define how quickly your smartphone or computer can send data to the web. If you are a person who uploads data and other files into the cloud, then you will surely need access to an internet connection with good upload speeds.

Mbps and Gigabit

Mbps or Megabits per second is actually a unit of measurement of internet data. On the other hand, internet speed that is very close to 1000 Megabits per second is called as Gigabit.

Data Cap

Some of the internet providers restrict the amount of internet data users can use in a month. The caps or limits set on your monthly internet data by the provider is called as data cap. Internet users who exceed the monthly data cap will either have to pay additional fees or their internet speed will be significantly reduced.

Internet Speed

Speed is one of the crucial factors that you will need to consider before selecting the fastest internet provider near you. That said, some customers particularly the ones who have never subscribed to an internet provider often claim that they are unable to identify their internet speed requirements.

In most cases, a high-speed and reliable internet connection that offers an internet speed of 25 Mbps or more is ideal for most users. One to three people will be able to stream HD video contents on multiple devices if they have access to such an internet connection.

On the other hand, internet connections that are slower than 15 Mbps would not be suitable for residential customers with multiple internet users. Moreover, you won’t be able to enjoy a fine streaming experience with such an internet connection. However, an internet connection with 15 Mbps or lower speed is ideal for light internet activities such as web browsing, checking emails, and accessing social media platforms.

Light Internet Users

Users who are new to the world of internet services will probably have no clear idea on how much speed they need. However, most of these users will be using their internet connection to check emails and access social media platforms. Such users will be happy with a reliable internet connection that guarantees a maximum internet speed of 5 Mbps at all times.

Average Users

As you would probably know, Netflix, DirecTV Now®, Hulu, and several other streaming services have gained immense popularity among customers in recent years. In fact, a major percentage of internet users are using the internet to watch their favorite TV shows and movies through streaming services. Such users should look for an internet connection with 25 or more than 25 Mbps speed.

Heavy Internet Users

Some customers particularly the ones who use streaming services on a regular basis should subscribe to an internet provider who guarantees a minimum internet speed of 100 Mbps. These kinds of internet users will surely exceed their monthly data limit, which means that it is best to opt for an internet plan with no data limit restrictions.

Finally, you should also note that the pricing patterns, packages, and other deals offered by internet providers will vary from one another. So, you need to ask yourself who is the best Internet providers near me and how do I get the best deals in the market. If you are able to find answers to these two questions, then you will be surely able to get a good deal from the fastest internet provider in your area.

How to Speed Up My Internet Connection

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High Speed Internet

Customers who have subscribed to an internet connection often complain that the speed offered by the provider is not that impressive. If your internet connection is slow or unstable at times, then you should immediately get in touch with your internet service provider and ask them why you are experiencing such an issue.

The internet provider might ask you to upgrade your current plan to a new internet plan with greater speeds. However, if you don’t think that’s a good idea, then it is best to switch to a new internet provider. This will help you to catch promotional offers and deals that are exclusive for new customers.

It is best to thoroughly go through the different internet plans of your preferred fastest internet provider. This will easily enable you to identify the best internet deals in the market that are suitable for your requirements. If you wish to know more about the internet providers who are operating in your area, then Google ‘internet providers near me’ and check out the results.

However, in some rare cases, the slow internet connectivity issues that you are experiencing might be due to the problems at your end. If you are using an old and low performing PC, then your computer might be the major culprit behind the slow internet issues that you are experiencing. So, make sure to check these things before switching to the fastest internet provider.

Tips to Improve the Internet Speed and Performance

Internet users who love to stream TV shows and blockbuster movies on streaming services will certainly get irritated and frustrated when they encounter lags and interruptions. These kinds of slow internet issues will surely ruin your binge-watching experience, which is something we all wish to avoid.

However, there are a few simple yet effective solutions that might help you to improve the speed of your internet connection. Before you switch to a new internet provider, make sure to try these handy tips, as it might help you to boost the speed of your internet connection with ease.

Check your Monthly Data Caps

Several internet users often fail to realize the fact that the monthly data caps set by internet service providers are the major culprits behind slow internet speeds. Most users especially the ones who play online games and stream tons of video contents will surely cross 1 TB or 2 TB data limit in just a couple of weeks or so.

Once you have exceeded the monthly data limit, the speed of your internet service will be considerably reduced by the provider. If that’s the issue, then you can solve the issue by purchasing additional data but you will have to pay an extra fee. However, you will be able to avoid all such hassles by choosing an internet plan with no monthly data caps.

Reset your Router

Routers are one of the most critical elements of your internet connection. However, most users prefer not to reset these devices. Issues with routers may also be a reason why your internet is slow. So, make sure to reset the router at your home or office at least once every month.

However, if your internet connection is experiencing serious speed related issues, then it is best to reset the router every day. Resetting this device will stimulate the connection with your internet service provider, which may in turn boost the speed of the connection. In some cases, you might even have to replace your wireless router with a new one. If that’s the case, then it is best to get in touch with professional technicians for further assistance.

Use Ethernet Connection if Possible

A major percent of internet users uses Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) to connect their devices to the internet. There is no denying the fact that wireless connections are convenient and excellent but they are not that fast. Ethernet and other cable connections are more reliable and faster than wireless connections. This is because these cables capture signals directly instead of relying on over-the-air transmissions.

So, connecting some or the entire internet enabled devices in your home or office to the internet with an Ethernet cable might help you to get access to higher internet speeds. Desktop computers, laptops, Xbox, PlayStation, gaming consoles and TV are some of the devices that you can be connected to the Ethernet.

In addition to these three techniques, you should also consider installing a reliable anti-virus program to your laptop and using a streamlined browser. This will considerably reduce the chances of your computer getting slow.

Conclusion

The number of internet service providers in some parts of the country might be limited to three, two, or one. Even if there is only a single internet provider in your area, you will still be able to enjoy the luxury of selecting a plan from a wide variety of internet plans. This is because most internet providers near me offer a plethora of internet plans to users. So, instead of looking for the fastest internet provider in your region, you need to shift your focus to how to capture the best internet deals in the market.

11 Sep

Moving Away from Cable: The Cons and Whether you are OK with Them

Century Link TV
Cheapest Cable

Cable TV Alternatives

These days, most consumers are aware of the abundance of cable TV alternatives available in the entertainment marketplace. Many have adopted these, while others are preparing to follow suit in hopes of better programming, as well as other benefits. “Cutting the cord”, as this is now popularly called, is a raging trend tempting many TV subscribers to overlook the benefits they would be giving up if they switched sides. That said, there are still over 200 million adults in the country who remain glued to their cable plans, the majority of them harboring no intentions to make a change.

The greater part of the cord-cutter demographic are satisfied with their decision to break free of what they see as an outdated mode of TV service, citing money saved, monopolistic customer handling avoided, and a wider range of content to choose from. However, for many, there are plenty of new problems they did not count on before switching to one of the cable TV alternatives. If you were considering doing the same, you would be doing yourself a favor by considering the following things first.

Buffering Issues

This seems to be the most common problem hitting erstwhile subscribers who switch to one of the cable TV alternatives. Imagine your stream of the Super Bowl freezing repeatedly, and even for minutes at a time, while it buffers. The problem with streaming is that it is dependent on a fast and uninterrupted internet connection, lacking which it would just freeze, regardless of how engrossed you are in what you are watching. In contrast, cable TV does not require an internet connection to bring you the TV programming it does, which does not need to load the way streamed video does.

Not Getting All the Channels you Used to Have

While there are plenty of streaming options on the consumer market that carry a diverse wealth of shows and movies, this is not always the same as what the cable companies offer. If you have managed to get hooked on many different shows and channels while subscribed to cable, a move to one of the cable TV alternatives would definitely mean missing out in a big way. You could easily end up feeling you made the wrong choice, which of course is a relative thing.

A lot of people who move away from Live TV after getting used to it, miss having the same kind of programming setup in their homes. Moreover, streaming options come with dedicated live user interfaces, which you would need to figure out how to navigate, and depending on the service you choose, this could be hard. The service may deliver a lineup of channels you are not used to watching, while leaving out the ones that you actually do; many fail to cover the entirety of the major broadcast networks, as well as local channels. The worst thing though, is signing up for a steaming plan and finding out you have most of your favorite channels minus a couple, a good channel guide, and an intuitive user interface, all for an attractive price; but if you want a specific channel added to this, it would cost around an extra $15 a month.

Another problem with streaming companies is that they regularly revamp their content libraries, which considerably cuts the chances of getting the shows you are familiar with. Many are also moving towards original content, and will soon rid themselves of quality shows from other creators. This means no matter how huge their libraries get, there is a limit to how diverse the programming there would be. For a truly wide range, you would need to sign up for multiple streaming services, which means separate bills and higher cost.

Live Sports Streaming is Often Complicated

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Video Broad Casting Services

Pay television sports channels often spend whole fortunes to acquire exclusive rights to live event programming. It is obviously not in their interest to let just any streaming subscriber get access to all that, without paying big that is. Naming no names, such companies would not stream nearly as many games as they air on cable. If you switched to one of the streaming-based cable TV alternatives, you would need to buy a separate pass for each specific event, like MLB.TV or NBA League Pass. Then too, you would not be getting every bit of programming a cable subscriber does.

You could have multiple streaming subscriptions, while also paying for a sturdily fast internet connection that makes using them possible. However, this still does not guarantee having the baseball and football packages at least one person in the family is particular about, or local channels. Cable has everything we have come to think of as “everything”, all covered under a single, simple subscription and bill. While even the cheapest cable is clearly a lot more expensive, it does not have you wasting time, energy, or money on that one channel (or group of channels) you cannot do without, the way most cable TV alternatives do. You could also watch all major events – the Super Bowl, Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, and not have to switch between receivers. Streaming services, on the other hand, pick and choose what they provide.

Internet Problems

Sadly, when it comes to internet speed, the US ranks poorly in relation to the rest of the developed world. Based on where you live, chances are you could more easily get cable than high-speed internet. If you decide one of the cable TV alternatives is more your thing, and go ahead and cord-cut, internet speed suddenly becomes a bigger deal, without which there is essentially no TV in your home. You may end up having to upgrade so that buffering is no longer an issue, which would of course drive up the bill. Even then, you need to make sure your streamed shows do not cross the usage limit. In some areas where sub-par internet is all you get, these problems simply cannot be avoided.

It is common for streaming subscribers to have their internet decelerate to a crawl because their box malfunctioned. When this happens, it not only keeps them from using high-speed internet, but also throws regular TV viewing into shambles.

Your Cable Company May Fight you about the Move

No service provider wants to give up regular monthly payments, which means the moment you let your know that you are interested in transitioning to one of the cable TV alternatives, they would likely make this very hard to do. An approach double or triple play providers could take is hiding your overage fees until they have mounted to the clouds, or outright asking you to pay more for the internet plan you have been availing for ages.

Stories abound of past customers finally cutting the cord, and in the midst of their joy at future savings, receiving emails from the old company about data overages they need to pay for. Most folks just make the change after tiring of paying so much for a channel lineup they never fully watched, but then find out that since the same company provides their internet, they now have to carefully watch the data they use, or end up paying exorbitant overage fees. Some even have their providers come out and tell them that cutting cable would raise the bills on their internet and phone services, or unreasonably cut their monthly usage limit.

Whether or Not to Switch from Cable TV

Everything mentioned above was partial towards cable, so let us change the tone a bit. As an American consumer who wants to be able to watch TV without too many hassles or a bank-breaking bill every month, you need to know which side can best cater to your needs.

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High Speed Internet

First off, let us see what the average monthly cable bill look like. A report by MoffettNathanson places it at sixty-two dollars, and that is for a midlevel package. As mentioned already, a good number of subscribers have opted to forego cable for this reason, as well as several others. The most pertinent question here is “Why now?” – Because there are so many cable TV alternatives out there, of course. Streaming services are run of the mill these days, and besides being considerably easier on the wallet, they are more widely accessible – you do not need a TV to watch a show or movie, just a computer, tablet, or even phone would serve.

For the undecided, there are four main things to consider when it comes to choosing the TV service that best suits you.

  • What you like to watch: You probably have a metal list of favorite shows, but even so, write that down somewhere. Does cable or network TV air them? The four major networks have plenty of shows lots of people would give their right arms to keep watching till the end of days, but if you do not fall in that category, then maybe an outdoor antenna, or even a basic digital antenna, will do. This is definitely not a fail-safe though; in big cities, your signal could encounter interference, while in sparsely populated areas, you would be able to get just a couple or three local affiliates. This can be established with a simple online search where you also enter your zip code. If cable shows are your lifeline, but you really think a streaming plan is better for your wallet, then you have some homework ahead of you. Find out which streaming options have the shows you like. Not all shows can be accessed on multiple outlets, so do not get your hopes up. For traditional sports fans, cable is the only option they can justify to themselves, end of story.
  • When you can watch your shows: Streaming services generally not only lack most of the breaking news you like to stay in tune with, but also the more popular shows that people tend to discuss at the office water cooler. If you want your shows at the same time everyone else gets them, then cable is the only go. Otherwise, in some instances, you would have to wait up to a year for a show to be made available online, all the while making sure no one accidentally or even willfully spoiled it for you. That last bit is never as easy as it sounds, what with so much of people’s social media dialogue being taken up by the shows and movies they are currently watching. Simply put, this could drive you mad.
  • How you want to watch TV: Switching to one of the cable TV alternatives means having a reliable internet connection. It also requires a device that can connect to the internet and process high amounts of data rapidly, such as a TV, phone, tablet, or computer. This brings in possibilities, but also the need to decide. You need to look at the devices you currently own, and try and figure out what you would probably buy next year, and the year after that. Based on these items and the way they allow you to consume content, you can arrive at the decision that best suits you. For instance, most of your show-bingeing may be done on a laptop, but you probably do not want to be confined to that single device. Then, there is also the matter of watching TV as a group in your home. You would need a web-connected TV for this if you choose a streaming plan. There are plenty of other device types to pick from as well, many of them able to stream to a living room TV.
  • How much it would cost you: When picking cable TV alternatives, you simply cannot skip the math and hope for the best. Add up all the monthly prices you would be paying on streaming services after picking the ones you like, and to that, add the cost of any shows you would buy each month. Take this total and compare it with what you are already paying the cable company. If you are on a bundled plan, then call them up and ask what your monthly fees would be if you stopped getting cable. Take this off the total amount, and you have a fairly accurate idea of what cable is costing you each month. If it turns out that one or more cable TV alternatives manages to considerably lower your monthly outlay, think on whether you can accept the lifestyle change it entails. If you are ok with that, or you think a change is due, then go for it.
07 Aug

All you Need to Know about Internet Speeds

Best Internet

Internet Speed Tips

No matter what kind of internet user you are, serious gamer, Netflix binger, or a professional who does a lot of their work online, you need good internet speeds to be able to properly meet your needs. If you are yet to get a connection set up at your place of residence or employ, simply Googling “internet providers in my area” does not cut it. Before checking out the available options, you need to get a good idea of the kind of speeds you are going to need on a regular basis. Following is a look at the things you will need to know.

Terms to Be Familiar with

  • Ping: This is a test used to figure out whether or not a server can be reached. To ping a server, a data packet gets sent to it, and you wait for it to come back. If it does, that shows the server can be reached.
  • Ping Time: This is a measure of how responsive your connection is, which equals how fast the data packet moves in both directions. The basic unit of ping time is milliseconds. If the data request does not register inside a second or two, the connections is bound to be characterized by lags, which can be off-putting if you are trying to play a game, upload a file, submit a lengthy form, etc.
  • Latency: This is basically how fast data moves from source to destination, or in other words, the delay which occurs in communication. Latency needs to be low if you want to enjoy the best the internet has to offer, and you should keep this in mind while Googling “internet providers in my area”. Gamers find this affects them a lot, especially when playing games with someone on the other side of the globe.
  • Mbps: This is a unit used to measure internet speed, and is short for “megabits per second”. It is a measure of the bandwidth of the connection, which refers to the amount of data that can possibly be transferred in a second.

Difference between Download Speeds and Upload Speeds

These are two things, which you are bound to see after you Google “internet providers in my area” and start checking out options. Download speed is the speed at which data gets transferred from server to you. This is pertinent to downloading files, loading websites while browsing the internet, and streaming video or audio. Upload speed is the opposite of this, in that it is the speed at which data flows from your computer to a server. Although often overlooked, upload speeds are important when sending emails, files, etc., and also for gaming and video chats.

For Gaming

Most people normally go about finding the right connection for their gaming needs by initially Googling “internet providers in my area”, and checking out the ones that offer sufficiently high speeds. With regards to gaming, you need to remember that upload speeds are as important as download speeds, because your device needs to send information to the gaming servers. That, as well as latency and ping time, matter here. Following are the things to pay attention to.

  • Best speeds for gaming online: Normally, gaming online requires speeds of around 1-3 Mbps, but for the experience to be consistently satisfying, you might want to go with something to the tune of 10-25 Mbps. The ping time is the most important factor to consider, and while dependent on the upload and download speeds, it is more heavily impacted by internet latency.
  • Best internet for gaming: Cable and fiber-optic internet show up right off when you Google “internet providers in my area for gaming”, mainly because connection type each allows for low-latency connections that enable superb gaming experiences. Satellite internet falls behind in that department, because despite high speeds, the signals need to move a great distance between source and destination.
  • Best internet in rural areas: Assuming you have access to it, fixed wireless internet would make the best option for gaming out of a rural area. It ensures lower latency than what you can expect from satellite internet, owing to the much shorter distance that signals need to travel to and from the local tower. The best part is that fixed wireless speeds almost match those of DSL and cable.
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Video Streaming Services

  • Using satellite for gaming: This can go either way based on the type of game you choose to play online. Satellite internet does not have the rapid data-response times required by shooter or sports games, but manages to provide a satisfying experience if you choose RPG, strategy, card, or puzzle games.
  • Does using satellite internet get you blocked from online games? Satellite internet users experience a lot of lag compared to other internet consumers, allowing them to use this as an advantage of sorts when they are gaming. For this reason, many shooter and sports games refuse admittance to satellite internet users, so that the gaming experience among different participants remains fairly equal.
  • Speeding up your internet for online gaming: It is possible to make you internet at home faster by a slight degree, such as through boosting the Wi-Fi signal to reduce latency. You could also try moving the router to a position that stabilizes the signal. If your gaming device is placed a good distance from the router, consider setting up the Wi-Fi repeater, or even an extender. Google “internet providers in my area that provide repeaters”, and you will see a list of companies that help with bolstering your internet signal.

For Streaming

  • Speeds you would need for Netflix: The service generally recommends having speeds of at least 3 Mbps to load videos, but this can vary with the quality of the stream you wish to watch. For standard definition videos, you would need no lower than 3 Mbps in download speed. HD videos require 5 Mbps speed to stream, while streaming HDR or 4K would entail a connection speed of 25 Mbps.
  • Speeds you would need for Hulu: This service recommends having 3 Mbps speed for people who wish to watch on-demand programming of the best quality. Live TV viewing requires at least 8 Mbps.
  • Speeds you would need for DIRECTV NOW®: For steaming video of minimal quality on DIRECTV NOW®, the service recommends 2.5 Mbps speed, but if you wish to enjoy HD video streams on a mobile device, you would need access to speeds to the tune of 7.5 Mbps. On your computer web browser, the same would take no lower than 12 Mbps.
  • Speeds you would need for YouTube TV: When streaming standard definition videos on YouTube, your connection needs to have at least 3 Mbps download speed so that the video does not buffer. For HD videos, you would need around 7 Mbps, and if you were streaming on multiple devices, you would need access to about 13 Mbps download speed.

For Working from Home

The internet speeds you need to comfortably work from home would vary based on the kind of work that needs to get done. If it involves frequent downloads and uploads featuring large files, you would need a really fast connection with speeds of around 40 Mbps. Basic use, such as emailing and using small PC programs, would require 3-4 Mbps speed. If you have a lot of Skyping going on, no lower than 10 Mbps speed would be needed. It is wise to pick speeds that exceed the requirements of the program you use, because at-home speeds invariably fall short of what is advertised. Multiple devices can further hog the bandwidth.

  • Advisable home internet speeds: What you need in terms of internet speeds at home would depend on your internet use. 15+ Mbps would work fine for a family with multiple users who are frequently online.
  • Fastest speeds you can get: At present, the fastest internet speed offered for home use is a whopping 2 Gbps, which XFINITY® provides in select areas.
  • Figuring out the internet speed you currently have: A simple online test can show you how fast your internet connection is. It would also show the ping time and latency, as well as other details.

Benefits of High Speed Internet at a Small Business

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High Speed Internet

For many businesses, especially SMEs, it is imperative to keep operating costs as low as possible, so that profit margins stay high. Starting out as the owner of such a business, you may take the path of Googling “cheap internet providers in my area” and picking the best option you find. However, giving up speed to save on internet expense might not be the best idea, especially in the long run.

Faster internet can set the stage for increased productivity as well as other benefits. This is the main reason why most every successful business has a fast connection serving their offices, whether it has a thousand employees or fewer than twenty. Following are the top benefits you can expect if you take the same route.

  • Better productivity: Imagine your employees having to work with slow internet, and how it could delay or even stall many of the tasks, which need to get done inside the course of the day. Findings from some studies say that every year, around a full week of work can be wasted this way, and that is just for a single user at a computer station. From the productivity perspective, this can be costly for a business, and even more so if it relies on a portal or website to draw in customers or clients. One survey says that 8 out of 10 online customers tend not to return to a slow-loading website, while 2 out of 10 said they would wait a maximum of 5 seconds at each page, and leave if it did not load.
  • Lower stress: For most employees, there is stress accompanying the prospect of waiting for a site to load over a snail-paced internet connection. The reality of this issue only properly dawns when you realize that WHO has placed annual stress-related workplace costs at an estimated $300 billion. Even the tiniest bit of that is a lot, and your company would be saving as much by ushering in a relaxed work environment featuring reliable and fast internet.
  • Space for more users: Even a business with less than 10 employees could face office struggles stemming from a slow connection, because said connection needs to be shared between multiple users. Before long, it can become all but unusable. A high speed broadband connection, on the other hand, would supply the office with enough bandwidth to ensure every device and machine gets access to the speed it requires for smooth, uninterrupted work.
  • Ease in certain tasks: For businesses that require a lot of video conferencing to be done as part of their daily operations, speed is an important factor. This also holds true for cloud storage, online streaming, and cloud-based software use, which require fast internet so as to render a seamless work experience. The more you rely on these things, the higher the importance of a high-speed broadband connection.
  • Smoother downloading and uploading: Many modern business-related activities include sharing files through downloads and uploads. Each operation needs to be completed without interruptions, but a slow connection, which frequently times out can throw a wrench in the works. No one appreciates having to start over repeatedly, which is why a high-speed connection that eliminates this need is essential. Higher download and upload speeds can even make a difference in timesavings when handling small files, especially if you regularly move these to and from a shared storage space. To get set up with a connection that works well in this area, look up “fast internet providers in my area”, and then check out your options.
  • Lower costs: This makes sense when you look at things from the productivity perspective. A decently fast broadband connection can also bring savings in other ways, such as by eliminating the monthly cost of a traditional phone service because VoIP is now a reliable option.
  • Improved collaboration: You find SMEs aplenty that are ready to collaborate with far-placed partners, suppliers, and associates, because a fast internet connections eases this considerably. IT is much simpler to share files, send information, and make changes in shared platforms like Dropbox and Google Docs.
  • The chance to provide better customer service: Since the dawn of time, the customer has always been right, and that will never change. As a business, it is much easier to keep your clients and customers happy as long as you have superior tools to work with, and fast internet is definitely one of those.
26 Jul

How to Pay Less for More Cable TV

Century Link TV

Cable TV Providers

There are plenty of cable TV options available to the average consumer these days, and in many ways, that makes it hard to choose the one that works best for you. It needs to be said that there are hordes of people who want no more than a few channels at an affordable price, as opposed to the hundreds that many subscribers pay dear amounts for. Following are some ways to find the cheapest cable TV options you can get in your area, and a look at how to reduce your monthly bill after sufficient time has passed.

Research your Possible Options

There are many ways a customer can go when choosing a TV package, and you should be versed with what is within your grasp. There are plenty of things you would do well to learn, such as the basics, the bundles, and the advanced uses. Simply knowing these options well is a good way to steer your decision in the right direction. For instance, in the U.S., every cable TV provider has to give a “basic cable option” that covers local-access channels and broadcast channels, as well as the public service and government channels.

The government controls the pricing on these packages, which often come at less than $20 a month, although many cable providers understandably neglect to mention them on their websites. Go up a tier and you would find the “standard” or “expanded basic” package from each provider, which offers more channels, but for a higher price. However, the provider would normally tout this as the cheapest cable TV package they are providing.

The bottom line is that you need to know how little you can get what you pay for. Package pricing and channel lineup can also vary with region, which is why it is vital to not leave out the fine print when you read the from your are about to sign. Be aware of the basic cable provision requirements as laid out by your government-run communications agency, so that you know what any provider is legally mandated to give you.

Determine the Coverage you Need

The cheapest cable TV package would sure cost you the least, although you would definitely not get a large channel lineup in a plan titled “basic”. The good part is that you would be paying the minimum amount every month. However, if you know your family needs more than this, be specific while choosing.

You may be big on sports, or even arts, in which case it is often best to pick what the provider recommends based on your preference. It gets hard when the people in the family have conflicting entertainment needs, and you need to make sure everyone is happy. However, if you monthly budget cannot handle a plan on one of the top tiers, everyone would need to compromise.

There may be channels that cost extra which air less than a handful of shows that you want to watch. If that is the case, give serious thought to waiting for the DVD release instead, or watching these online. Again, read the fine print, and plan ahead so you do not make an ill-advised choice, like subscribing to 24 months’ worth of kid’s channels when your child is entering his or her teens.

Go by Provider

  • First off, start with finding out which providers offer the cheapest cable TV packages in your neighborhood. You may be in an area which some of the major companies do not service, so check who does. A simple search on Google with your zip code at the end should get you what you are looking for. If a provider you are interested in does not offer a deal as sweet as what you found online, roll up your sleeves and get ready to negotiate.
  • Call them up. As said, most providers would not advertise their cheapest cable TV package, for the simple reason that they are not required to. Checking their website would only show you the “standard” package, and stuff priced higher. To know about the cheapest cable TV package they are offering, you will need to call in person and ask for that specific bit of information. If you do decide to sign up and want some changes made, this too will need to be specified over the phone.
  • Make sure you ask for the “basic” package, and do not let them talk you into getting “standard” or “expanded basic”. Keep steering the conversation back to what you called to find out about, and if need be, remind them that this is something they are legally required to sell. The last card you can play is telling them this is simply all you can afford, at which point most salespeople would pick something over nothing, especially if you sound like a potential cord-cutter. Find out about channel lineup and pricing, and if some of your favorites are included or can be added to the cheapest cable TV package they are offering.

Compare Providers

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Compare Cable Plans

There is always the chance you will be unsatisfied with what the “basic” package brings. If that happens, the next thing to do is Google for the cheapest cable TV deals inside the “standard” tier. Just search for “cheap cable” followed by your zip code, and you will get enough to work with. Some sites allow you to draw up charts to visually compare pricing from different providers.

Give thought to what channels and features you will get for a given amount. On a cautionary note, be suspicious of deals that come at low monthly rates for limited periods; it is a given that the company will raise the price after you have gotten hooked on their programming, which is bound to happen, because TV is addictive.

Getting your Monthly Bill Lowered

After you have been enjoying the entertainment benefits of your TV package for a while, you may start feeling that you are paying overly for what you are getting. This is particularly likely if you did not go for one of the cheapest cable TV deals originally, but instead chose a plan with more bells and whistles. Luckily, there are ways to cut your bill while hanging on to the reality shows and sports programming you really love.

Jump to a Lower Tiered Package

Evaluate your usage monthly, and see if you need all of those premium channels. Packages with more channels would weigh down your bill, so if you see any features, which you can comfortably do without, drop them. This will not go unnoticed, and there is every chance that a company rep would call you up to ask why you are choosing to go this way.

Be blunt and tell them you do not want to pay as much as you used to, but are willing to meet them somewhere in the middle where pricing is concerned. Wait and see if these words work magic, because they almost always do.

Try Bundling Internet with TV

This is one of the best ways to save money, as long as you get both services from the same provider. Not only do you have to pay just a single bill at the end of each month, but also the individual prices usually drop substantially. If you speak to the right sales rep, you may even get further discounts. In a nutshell, any company would want to get you to buy more stuff from them.

A bundle deal essentially requires you to pay for both services even at times when you end up needing just one of them, which is good from the provider’s perspective. However, if you foresee that happening, keep getting your services separately, no matter how hard they try to get you to bundle them. Risking an ETF is definitely not a smart thing to do as an entertainment consumer.

Sign a Long Term Contract

Cable Providers

High Speed Internet

A contract or a service agreement is seen as a bad thing by most people, but you should know that the ones who agree to this are more likely to get attractive discounts from their providers. A two-year agreement, for instance, gives the company the guarantee that you will stay on for that time period, or pay an early termination fee to get out. This means they probably have distinct on- and off-contract pricing, and the former is what you want to be able to partake in.

If you are sure you will not switch providers before a contract would expire, then there is simply no good reason not to sign one. As the benefits of this rush in, you may even get more value for money than you would have signing up for the cheapest cable TV deal you could find.

Shop Around

Both your current provider and their competition offer services you should check out. They probably provide far better deals than they advertise, a lot similar to their cheapest cable TV deals. Many companies draw in new customers with tempting packages, usually featuring either cheaper prices or higher value for money. If your contract is about to expire, you can go to another provider and get something similar.

If you decide to stay on instead, and see that new customers are being treated to far better plan features for the same price you pay, call up the provider and ask them why a loyal customer like you is not getting the same perks. This should elicit the reaction you want, especially if you tell them your neighbor is getting a far more attractive price despite being a relatively new user.

Call and Demand a Discount

Sometimes this is all it takes to shave a substantial amount off your monthly bill, and you will not know unless you have tried. Every cable TV provider is willing to talk pricing at any time of day, and even more so if you are currently approaching the end of your contract. Call them up and ask what they can do for you. If you get the right service rep on the phone, be patient, and play sufficiently nice, they would probably call you back with the kind of sweetened deal you were looking for. At the end of the day, this soundly beats signing up for the cheapest cable TV deal you can find.

Negotiate

If the provider will not give you TV service for a cheaper price, start negotiating. Many providers are agreeable to haggling, and you can get them to listen if you quote the competition’s pricing, and subtly hint at a chance of you ending your contract. To know about what the competition is offering, Google their plans. If you keep trying, at the very least, they are bound to give you a slight raise in internet speed, or a couple premium channels. Something is better than nothing, and you can always try again.

Tell Them you Will Leave

Stay polite, but if the negotiations do not go your way, then tell them that you believe you can get better service elsewhere. Any representative’s first instinct is to try and keep you from doing that, and if they have to offer up an enticing deal to that end, they probably will. Better yet, when you call, say it is to complain about the pricing, or lower your plan, or even cancel. Chances are you will be treated to a “special” deal that not everyone gets.

Companies allow representatives to offer these to reel in customers who look like they will probably leave. Such a plan may even cut your monthly bill by up to $20, and that is a definite steal. This too beats signing up for the cheapest cable TV deal you can find.

Switch Providers

If you find your current provider is not giving enough for the money you pay them each month, and talking to them has not helped, then switching may be the only imperative. This is where the lack of a contract comes in handy; subscribers bound by one would have to dish out exorbitant early termination fees (ETF) for essentially breaking it.

After the end of your contract, use the tricks above to get the best deals out of the subscriber you next sign up with, and while opting for the cheapest cable TV deal may sound good, there is wisdom in seeing if you can get better value for money on a higher tiered plan. You can even call a competitor before switching, and see what offers mentioning your current provider gets you.

16 Jul

Things to Know before Choosing an Internet Provider

High Speed Internet

Best Internet Service Provider

In simple words, high-speed internet can be defined as a generic term that is used to describe an internet connection that is faster than the traditional dial-up internet. Internet service providers often call high-speed internet as broadband internet. In fact, different types of high-speed internet connectivity options are available to customers in the United States of America, and fiber, cable, and DSL are the most popular internet connectivity options that you will come across when you are shopping for broadband internet.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

Most of the DSL internet service providers in the country use the local phone in your home or office to bring high-speed internet. DSL internet connection uses different frequencies for both internet and phone, which means that customers will be able to use both of these services without any interruptions or delays.

The maximum download speed offered by the leading DSL internet providers is less than 10 Mbps. However, this internet speed is sufficient for browsing emails and accessing social media platforms, which means that DSL internet connection is the ideal choice for beginners. Yet if you are a person who loves to stream HD video contents without any delays or interruptions, you will surely need access to an internet connection that delivers at least 20 Mbps speed. So, customers who belong to that category should find the fastest internet provider in the area.

Cable Internet

Cable internet providers incorporate the use of cable wires to deliver high-speed internet to the customers’ homes. The use of cable wires instead of traditional telephone wires has enabled them to offer higher speed when compared to the speed of cable internet service.

Customers who have access to the basic plan of cable internet are able to enjoy an internet speed of 100 Mbps. This means that cable is one of the ideal choices available to heavy internet users. Another significant thing you should note is that cable internet service is far more reliable than DSL internet service. Further, a recent report published by the Federal Communications Commission indicated that most of the cable internet providers in the US deliver advertised or faster internet speeds to their users. Yet the major downfall of cable internet service is that it comes with a higher price tag.

Fiber Optic Internet Service

If you wish to gain access to a faster internet service that guarantees internet speed above 200 Mbps, then it is best to choose fiber optic internet service. The fastest internet provider in your area will be most probably offering their service in this form. However, the bad news is that the availability of fiber optic internet is a bit limited at the moment.

Internet Service Providers In Your Area

Fiber Internet Provider

Some of the popular fiber optic internet providers in the country recently announced that they have been trying to expand the coverage of fiber optic internet service. This means that this incredibly fast and reliable internet service might be available in more parts of the country by the end of the year. So, the first and most important thing you should do is to find the fastest internet provider in your area and ask them whether fiber optic internet service is available to you or not. If not, then you will have to settle for DSL or cable internet connection.

Other Options for Internet Access

In addition to these options, customers also get to choose satellite internet service, especially in those areas where cable or DSL lines are not available. Satellite internet is one of the cheapest internet connectivity options available to customers but the catch is that the speed of this service is a lot less when compared to the speed of fiber optic and cable internet connection. However, satellite internet service is available in most parts of the country including remote and rural areas.

Dial-up is another type of internet service that uses the telephone line in your home to deliver internet. Yet dial-up internet has become a less popular option of customers due to the low speed it offers. Besides, customers who are using a dial-up internet connection will not be able to use internet and phone at the very same time because the signals are transmitted through the exact same frequency.

How Much Internet Speed Do I Need

Customers who are new to the world of high-speed internet often wonder how much internet speed they really need. It is true that figuring out the internet speed requirements of your home or office may seem like a challenging task. However, if you are ready to spare a quality amount of your time on research, you will be easily able to determine how much internet speed you really need.

The speed of your internet connection is measured based on how fast the data packets are transmitted from the web to your mobile device or home computer. Internet download and upload speeds are usually measured in Mbps or megabits per second. Most of the leading internet providers usually set bandwidth in a certain way to ensure that the maximum amount of speed is available to users for downloading and not for uploading. This may seem problematic to the internet users who heavily rely on cloud-sharing applications for storing large amounts of data. If you are such an internet user, you must look for a fastest internet provider who offers evenly balanced upload and download speed.

Recommended Speed for Common Internet Activities

Majority of the internet users in the country use the internet connection at their home to watch HD video contents and TV shows through streaming services. If you wish to enjoy a fine streaming experience, then you should certainly check out the internet plans of the fastest internet provider near you. The minimum internet speed required for using streaming services is estimated to be around 10 Mbps. However, the reality is that 10 Mbps is the lowest recommended speed. So, if you are planning to browse social media platforms while you are streaming contents, then you will have to look for a higher tier.

Fastest Internet Provider

Telecommunication Services

If you wish to do more than a single internet activity, you need to add up the recommended internet speed. For example, internet users who want to browse Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as stream video contents at the very same time should look for a fastest internet provider who delivers at least 15 to 20 Mbps speed. Moreover, if you wish to eliminate the occasional internet slowdown, make sure to a choose plan with more than 20 Mbps internet speed.

Most homes in the United States usually have more than five internet enabled devices. What is more interesting is that there will be multiple internet users in most houses. So, if there are two or more heavy internet users at your home, make sure to consider the internet requirements of each one of them before subscribing to a fastest internet provider.

You should also note that the use of streaming services on a daily basis could consume huge amount of internet data. Some internet providers have put a monthly data cap on their internet plans. This means that the speed of your internet connection will be considerably decreased once you hit the monthly data limit. If you want to avoid that, look for an unlimited internet plan with no monthly data limits.

Quick Tips

Most families in the country usually choose a basic internet plan that offers a download speed of 20 Mbps and an upload speed of 5 Mbps. Users who have subscribed to such an internet plan will be able to stream HD video contents without any delays. Moreover, they could also enjoy web surfing and other light internet activities.

One of the leading streaming service providers, Netflix, suggested that subscribers would need access to an internet connection with 5 Mbps speed to stream HD video contents. However, the internet speed required for streaming 4K Ultra HD content is estimated to be more than 25 Mbps. So customers who are planning to stream videos with 4K resolution and want to connect multiple devices to the internet should look for an internet plan with a minimum internet speed of 200 Mbps.

Finding the Fastest Internet Provider near you

When looking to subscribe to an internet connection, you should realize that the plans, pricing patterns, connection types, and deals offered by internet service providers might significantly vary from one location to another. This means that you do not need to look for the fastest internet provider in the country; instead, you should start looking for the fastest internet provider in your location.

Customers who are living in the metropolitan cities of the country do enjoy the luxury of choosing an internet provider from a wide variety of options. However, that is not the case when it comes to the remote and rural parts of the country. Only a few internet providers will be offering their services in these parts of the country.

Still, it does not matter whether you live in a rural part of the country or in a bustling city – if there are a couple of or more internet providers operating in your area, then you will need to compare their different plans, policies, and several other factors in order to make an informed buying decision. Some of the best internet providers in the country who offer customers access to high-internet speeds are as follows.

AT&T®

The fiber optic internet service of AT&T® guarantees an exceptional download speed of 1000 Mbps to customers who are living in the major cities of the country. Customers who have access to such a high-speed internet connection will be able to download more than 25 songs in a second. Even if the fiber optic internet service of AT&T® is not available in your area, you can subscribe to the DSL internet service of the fastest internet provider. The DSL broadband internet service of AT&T® is available in approximately 38% of the entire United States. In fact, more than 120 million people in the country are currently using the internet services of AT&T®.

Internet Providers

High Speed Internet

Customers who are planning to subscribe to AT&T® internet should note that some of the plans of the provider contain a monthly data cap of 1 TB. If you choose such a plan, then the amount of internet data that you can use in a month will be just 1 TB. This might not seem like an attractive option to heavy internet users who loves to stream plenty of HD video contents.

CenturyLink®

Just like AT&T®, CenturyLink® also offers both fiber optic and internet connection to internet users in the US. The best thing about CenturyLink® is that their high-speed internet service is available in several states that are not served by AT&T® and other fiber optic internet providers. In fact, CenturyLink® offers an impressive download speed of 1000 Mbps in Northeast and Southern states of the United States, which in turn made them the fastest internet provider in these areas. However, the availability of CenturyLink® fiber optic internet service is still a bit limited.

Customers who are living in areas where the fiber optic internet service of CenturyLink® is not available do enjoy the luxury of subscribing to the DSL internet service of the provider. However, the speed available to customers who have subscribed to the DSL internet service will not be that high when compared to fiber optic internet service.

Comcast XFINITY®

Comcast XFINITY® is another provider who offers both fiber-optic and cable internet service to customers. What makes XFINITY® an attractive option is that the fastest internet provider offers consistent high-speed to customers in almost all their markets. Most XFINITY® customers are able to enjoy excellent internet speeds of 50, 100, 150 Mbps and more.

The highest internet speed offered by XFINITY® is around 2000 Mbps or 2 Gbps, which is pretty impressive. Although the 2 Gbps internet speed is available only in some states, a fascinating thing about XFINITY® is that their other internet packages are available in most states. In fact, the fastest internet provider is currently offering their service to about 41 states in the United States.

XFINITY® offers a wide range of internet plans in order to ensure that the internet requirements of all their customers are met. The basic plan of XFINITY® that offers an internet speed of just 10 Mbps is ideal for users with basic internet needs. At the same time, XFINITY® also offers internet plans with 2 Gbps speed to make sure that the requirements of heavy internet users are also met without any concerns.

Promotional Deals and Bundling Options

Most customers who are shopping for high-speed internet often fail to realize the fact that internet service providers usually offers exciting new deals and promotional offers to lure in new customers to their offerings. If you ask your preferred fastest internet provider whether you are eligible for such deals or offers, then they might able to offer you a better deal. This will surely help you to save hundreds of dollars.

Customers who are on a tight budget should also consider bundling either two or three of their telecom services together. Most of the leading internet service providers in the country offer bundling options to customers. Bundling TV, internet, and home phone, or bundling any two of these services will result in great savings. In addition to saving money, you will also be able to get access to number of features and you can pay for all these services through a single bell.

Conclusion

When looking for a high-speed internet service, you should realize that some internet providers might ask you to sign a long-term agreement while signing up for their services. It is true that entering into a one or two year agreement with a fastest internet provider will save money and help you to avoid installation fees. However, the catch is that customers who opt out of the agreement before the contract period expires might have to pay additional fees. So, consult with the customer support technicians of your preferred internet service provider to clear all your doubts and concerns regarding their services and pricing policies before you sign the agreement.

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