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21 Apr

What Does Extending Content Partnership Means for Comcast® and Netflix

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Extending Content Partnership

As avenues to watch TV continues to grow, cable operators are doing everything they can to retain subscribers who give up a pay-TV subscription for an alternative internet-based service. Such kinds of customers are called cord cutters. In order to retain them, one of the best internet providers has been giving customers accesses to Netflix on Xfinity® X1 platform since 2016.

Now, Comcast® has extended content partnership with the streaming service. In addition to that, the cable giant has announced that starting this month, it would bundle Netflix into some of their bundled TV packages given to both existing and potential customers. Comcast® is yet to reveal which TV package would have the streaming service subscription, but has said that accessibility to Netflix would differ as per the market.

If you subscribe to Comcast Xfinity® TV bundle and have a Netflix subscription, the monthly payment for the streaming service would show up on the cable invoice. So, going forward, you would only have to keep track of one invoice less each month.

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Pay-TV Subscription

For Comcast®, to add Netflix to their TV bundles means to retain nationwide subscribers within the realm of the pay-TV subscription universe by keeping them from cord cutting. The cable provider has said that it has ended last year with 21.3m residential “video” customers, which was declined by 186,000 customers from 2016.

Netflix reported recently that it has around 55m customers in the US, but slow customer growth has oftentimes raised concerns regarding expansions of the streaming service’s customer base. “This is a big win for Netflix, which could use the Comcast® platform to boost its subscriber growth in the US market,” said the Senior Analyst at Investing.com, Haris Anwar. “This is an especially timely move as domestic subscriptions have shown some signs of peaking, making some investors nervous.”

In fact, even if some customers look for cable TV alternatives to stream their favorite shows, it is an irrefutable fact that millions of Netflix customers also have a Comcast® subscription. So, giving cord cutters enough reasons to stay on a mutual subscriber might do wonders to the customer growth of cable TV business of Comcast®. This is why most of the trade analysts and experts say that the prospect of the cable cum internet provider including Netflix in their TV bundles is actually twofold.

19 Apr

Cox Business® to Launch Managed Wi-Fi in Nationwide Footprint of Cox®

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Launching Managed Wi-Fi

Cox Business® has announced that Managed Wi-Fi, their turnkey solution offered to business customers, is made available now to all subscribers in Northeast and areas in Southeast regions. Cox Business® Managed Wi-Fi would be rolled out across the nationwide footprint of one of the best internet providers, Cox Communications®.

Cox Business® started trialing Managed Wi-Fi service last year in select business locations. It enhances the productivity of Cox Business® customers, while also enriches the user experience with regards to fast and secure wireless internet connectivity.

“A smart business is a connected business,” said the Executive VP of Sales at Cox Business®, Steve Rowley. “Employees and customers expect superior connectivity while working, shopping or in some situations waiting. Cox Business® Managed Wi-Fi delivers superior network management, with the security and agile functionality that businesses demand.”

“Our business requires that customers wait for their food, and with Cox Business® Managed Wi-Fi, they no longer mind the extra minutes when we are busy,” said the COO of restaurant chain Piezonis, Victor Martinez. “We are in the restaurant business and don’t have the time to waste on slow WiFi providers. Managed Wi-Fi from Cox Business® is the solution we desperately needed!”

The wireless internet service of Cox Business® delivers 1 Gbps speeds to private and public Wi-Fi networks and offers guests the option to select bandwidth speed. Cox Business’s flexible technologies can deliver Wi-Fi coverage to indoor work areas that span up to 36000 sq. ft., which can be split as 24000 sq. ft. indoors and 12000 sq. ft. outdoors. The signal of long-range backhaul wireless network options with up to 1 gigabit per second speed has the capacity to deliver internet for a maximum of two hundred and fifty guests and employees.

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“Our Wi-Fi network is easier to access, more secure, and more manageable since partnering with Cox Business®,” said Brianna Howes, Journey Church. “We needed to provide a worry-free Wi-Fi experience to accommodate our church members, guests, and staff. With the new service, we’re happy we’ve been able to provide the connectivity our guests expect.”

Cox Business® offers round the clock monitoring of Wi-Fi network to help business customers focus on growing their net revenue. Its wireless internet management features, comprising secure connections, firewall protection, etc., also make sure that incoming guests to a business won’t be able to affect other guest users’ Wi-Fi experience.

11 Apr

AT&T® Raises Concerns to FCC about Census Tract Licensing in CBRS Bandwidth

Best Internet Service

Baseline License Size

AT&T® officials recently paid a visit to FCC headquarters and expressed their concerns about census tracts. AT&T® told the commission that it should permit license for 3.5 GHz CBRS in larger geographic areas. As per an FCC filing, executives of the best internet service provider met the independent agency’s officials to share cost constraints and concerns of laying out Radio Access Network with census tracts serving as “baseline license size”.

The present FCC rules necessitate census tracts but the commission is thinking about changing the issuing of licenses to relatively small geographic areas. AT&T® said that they entrusted CommScope to analyze practical impacts of FCC’s CBRS rules concerning interference protection given the geographic sizes. CommScope is into infrastructure solutions for telecommunications networks. Their findings indicate that in order to cover bordering areas of census tracts, license holders or major carriers should limit power and roll out Citizens Broadband Service Devices than what may be required in actual.

As per AT&T®, the size of small census tracts in urban geographic areas can cause network deployment concerns given the requirement to tweak power in order to protect nearby licensees. As a result of that, ISPs will not be able to roll out networks that operate at 47 dBm/10 MHz power but would have to deploy very compact networks instead. AT&T® responded that license sizes that are larger than existing census tracts, like those based on PEAs, would allow network deployments at higher power than said requirement for coverage and thereby may restrict the impact of adjacent areas.

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Partial Economic Areas license size is what Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association has been favoring. Yet again, a census tract is exactly what minor carriers, as well as companies in utility/electric industry, require. Some of such companies including General Electric told FCC that with the census tract licensing in CBRS bandwidth, they expect to bit strongly at auctions to get FCC-reserved spectrum access that falls in line with their own geographically targeted network deployment plans.

That is because with their interference protected 3.5 GHz spectrum industry players can self-provision IIoT connectivity over TDD-LTE networks that are geographically targeted. Essentially, such companies will be capable of designing network deployment systems that fall in line with their railroad systems, grids and so forth.

Utility industry players explained to FCC that if it adopts PEA licensing, it would not be economically rational for them to try to outbid wireless providers to get licenses covering areas beyond their geographically targeted, regionalized facilities. Instead, they argue that using self-provisioned license spectrum is comparatively a viable option instead of trying to obtain services from telecom carriers or MNVOs.

21 Mar

Global Eagle to Use Hughes® JUPITER Aero System for Enhancing Its Network

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JUPITER Aero System

Hughes Network Systems® and Global Eagle Entertainment have proclaimed that they have released two important enhancements to the global connectivity network owned by Eagle. This new addition will significantly enhance the speeds and capacity of the network provided to airlines and its passengers globally. As a part of the new enhancements, the deployment of the JUPITER aeronautical system offered by Hughes® will help in extending the capabilities of the airline connectivity provided by Global Eagle. Besides, this system is also being leveraged for further extending the network into the country.

The use of Hughes® JUPITER Aero system will help Global Eagle and their airlines and passengers to enjoy accessing high speeds in the network. This will also help improve the operational economics and efficiency. One of the key features of the JUPITER Aero system is that it provides super fast network speeds along with the consistency of a satellite network. The deployment of these new enhancements will help in giving a renewed user experience to the customers of Global Eagle.

Hughes Network Systems®, which is one of the best internet providers by offering its JUPITER Aero system, will provide support to all major international airline routes. Currently, the two companies Hughes Network Systems® and Global Eagle have been focusing more on maximizing network bandwidth and performance offered to the passengers on several major airlines operating in the country. The use of Hughes® JUPITER Aero system will help Global Eagle to virtually increase the network capacity that it provides to the airlines.

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Such enhancements will certainly contribute to the ever-increasing demands of the passengers by giving them access to high speed and efficient networks. This will positively benefit all the applications that the passengers use while using an airline. As a part of this, it will rely on extra ground-based gateway terminals and infrastructure along with increasing the capacity of the satellites allotted for use in this service.

Per Norén, SVP Aviation, Global Eagle said, “We are pleased that through our work with Hughes®, passengers aboard a North American airline and many other airlines worldwide will have improved speeds and network performance. Together, these moves highlight our focus on connectivity-driven content. We appreciate the relationship with Hughes® since our company was founded.”

Speaking at the new venture, the Executive VP of Hughes®, Paul Gaske, said, “We have had the good fortune to serve Global Eagle since their inception and we are tremendously pleased to be able to support them with the most recent expansion of their network. We are especially pleased to have them adopt our JUPITER Aero System and view it as yet another testament to its exceptional performance and capabilities.”

28 Feb

Court Ruling Allows Data-Throttling Lawsuit against AT&T® to Proceed

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Unlimited Mobile Data Plans

AT&T®, one of the best internet providers, has been embroiled in a long-running battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This started in 2014, when the agency sued the company saying it was throttling the unlimited mobile data plans provided to customers, while not telling said customers that it would be doing so.

A few months after that, the company came out with the claim that the common carrier status it held ensured that it was not under the FTC’s jurisdiction, and then asked the court to dismiss the agency’s suit. The carrier’s claim was rejected by a judge in 2015, but then a year later in 2016, this ruling was tossed out by a three-member Ninth Circuit appeals court.

At the time, it was ruled that the common carrier status did indeed exempt AT&T® from the FTC’s regulatory jurisdiction. This had been the final verdict, until present day. The latest development is that a federal appeals court has ruled the FTC can proceed with the lawsuit, disregarding the Ninth Circuit court’s earlier decision.

The ruling from the full-panel Ninth Circuit appeals court reinforces the FTC’s original argument, which put forward that because the services in question did not fall under the AT&T’s common carrier status, the lawsuit hold valid. This was at one point a two-pronged attack, although it no longer appears to be. Back in 2015, the FCC had announced that it would be fining the company for $100 million for deceptive practices, which at the time the carrier challenged. The fine was never collected, and AT&T® seems to have dodged the bullet for good.

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When the FTC appealed the Ninth Circuit court’s decision in 2017, the FCC filed an amicus brief in support of it. In this, referring to the original decision to issue a liability notice against the company for throttling, FCC said, “A majority of the FCC’s current commissioners dissented from the decision to issue the NAL and no further action has been taken on it.”

The lawsuit FTC has brought seeks reimbursement for all customers who have had their data services throttled. FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen issued a statement saying, “I welcome the Ninth Circuit’s ruling as good news for consumers. It ensures that the FTC can and will continue to play its vital role in safeguarding consumer interests including privacy protection, as well as stopping anticompetitive market behavior.”

Commenting on that, a spokesperson for AT&T® said, “Today’s decision on jurisdiction does not address the merits of the case. We are reviewing the opinion and continue to believe we ultimately will prevail.”

06 Feb

The FCC Media Bureau Rules in Favor of DirecTV®

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On-Demand Programs

The FCC Media Bureau recently denied the retransmission good faith complaint filed by HITV against DirecTV®, which alleged that the TV service provider failed to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith for the carriage of the broadcast television station KFVE, Honolulu, Hawaii. It is crucial to note that customers who have subscribed to the TV service of DirecTV® are unable to access the Honolulu MyNetworkTV affiliated station since October 19, 2017.

The order issued by the FCC Media Bureau said, “Rather than provide a counter-offer to DirecTV’s initial proposal, HITV requested DirecTV® to provide another proposal that would be workable for HITV. We agree with DirecTV® that it is not obligated to negotiate against itself.”

The broadcast television station KFVE has been getting compensation from DirecTV® when Raycom Media negotiated on their behalf. However, the Congress recently proclaimed that such kind of joint negotiations are not allowed anymore. Still, HITV still wants compensation from the TV service provider, but DirecTV® is not willing to meet the needs of HITV, as they claim that the demand for the channel is too low. The FCC Media Bureau’s order regarding this issue asserted the fact that DirecTV® did not act in a bad faith.

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In addition to that, the FCC Media Bureau also rejected the claim made by HITV. They said, “Although it would have been more consistent with the spirit of the retransmission consent rules for DirecTV® initially to explain its decision not to provide any monetary compensation, even in the absence of a counter-offer from HITV, our rules require no such explanation, and ultimately DirecTV conveyed its reasoning to HITV.”

The officials from DirecTV® had managed to strike a deal with Rapid Broadcasting a few days ago. As a result, the NBC affiliate KNBN in Rapid City, SD had repapered on DirecTV® right before the Super Bowl kickoff. This means that the Hawaiian station is the only channel that is unavailable on the channel line-up of DirecTV® at present.

It is significant to note that one of the best internet providers in the country, Charter® had also lost a few stations over the last couple of weeks. Due to this, channels such as CNBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA went dark to Charter® TV subscribers. Some of these channels offer exclusive coverage and live updates from the Winter Olympics. Therefore, the loss of these channels will surely hurt customers who have subscribed to the TV service of Charter®.

18 Jan

Greenwich Caps off CenturyLink’s Fiber Expansion in East Coast

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Metro Fiber Loop

CenturyLink® is the second biggest telecommunications provider in the US with a global customer base of millions. Being one of the best internet providers over the years, CenturyLink® has recently finished expanding the metro fiber loop in Connecticut’s Greenwich City. The new expansion from the Telco completes a series of network build out across the East Coast of the United States over the previous 12 months. Apart from Greenwich City, CenturyLink® also finished network expansions in Connecticut cities, namely Stamford, Norwalk and Hartford, and White Plains City in New York.

These new fiber routes would equip the enterprise level customers of CenturyLink® with their business continuity disaster recovery services, global product portfolio, and path diversity. With the completion of the build out, the Telco can now deliver best internet service for business customers with up to 100 gigabytes per second speed, alongside enterprise-level products and service that comprise of cloud services, big data analytics, SD-WAN, IT consulting, and so forth.

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The fiber loop expansion is done by CenturyLink® to extend their network and services to more business subscribers in select areas. For instance, the route expansions in Greenwich enable CenturyLink® to add around twenty ‘Class A’ buildings at business offices, which adds to the on-net portfolio of the Telco. In addition to that, the expansions strengthen the points of presence and fiber routes of CenturyLink® diversifying the carrier’s offerings further. What is going to help CenturyLink® to distance from their competitors is they are one of the few Telco’s having fiber routes in Greenwich that extends up to Long Island Sound north and south.

“As a company, we understand how important it is for businesses to have safe, secure and reliable network connections that deliver faster solutions to move their businesses forward,” said Carl Bonitz, CenturyLink’s GM for NYC, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. “Our expanded network provides businesses in Greenwich with local network infrastructure and support alongside global connectivity, creating a gateway for information exchange across the region and around the world.”

The new fiber loop build out expands the optical fiber network of CenturyLink® to over 45,000 route miles along with connections in up to five hundred main cities around the globe. It also follows up CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 Communications in 2017.

08 Jan

Comcast® Secretly Fires 500 of Its Salespeople Citing Reorganization of Employees

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High Speed Internet

New reports from several reliable source state that Comcast® has secretly fired about 500 of its salespeople before last Christmas. This is in stark contrast to the recent proclamations made by the telecom company about the creation of new jobs due to the large cuts in taxes. Comcast® primarily lobbied the tax cut, which was passed into law in late December. Yet, a whole lot of employees comprising of direct sales people, managers, and supervisors from Florida, Chicago, and other parts were fired from their jobs by December 15.

Comcast® stated to their employees that it was carrying out a large-scale reorganization of its direct sales force to extend the area of coverage. According to Comcast® spokesperson Jennifer Moyer, “The Central Division is creating a new territory-based sales model that will connect more closely with residential prospects and customers in their communities. By giving highly trained sales professionals direct responsibility for entire neighborhoods, we can provide a better experience for those who are interested in our services, during and after the sale.”

Best Internet Service

Repeal Of Net Neutrality

Comcast® recently announced that it will give $1000 special bonuses to its 100,000 employees citing the pending tax cut and the repeal of net neutrality. Moreover, Comcast® has also pitched for an investment worth $50 for infrastructural development in order to step up the competition with other internet providers. Comcast® has also made it clear that a $1000 supplemental severance payment will be handed out to all of its fired employees.

However, Comcast® refused to directly comment on the quick firing of its employees. However, one statement issued out by Comcast® said, “Periodically, we reorganize groups of employees and adjust our sales tactics and talent. This change in the Central Division is an example of this practice and occurred in the context of our adding hundreds of frontline and sales employees. All these employees were offered generous severance and an opportunity to apply for other jobs at Comcast®.”

It is crucial to note that the telecom company, Comcast® also faces growing threats from other major operators such as AT&T® in its cable TV and internet services. However, its recent statements made to firewall have made it clear that it will achieve the necessary financial targets. The recent firings demonstrate a series of contradictory actions and statements issues out by various telecom providers operating in the country. AT&T® another major internet provider is also laying off employees recently despite stating that it intends to make a one billion investment that would generate more jobs.

15 Dec

Comcast® Begins Rollout of xFi Pods in Boston and Chicago

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Whole-Home Wifi Offering

As a measure of improving its whole-home WiFi offering, Comcast® has started to offer xFi Pod devices in Boston and Chicago. This hexagonal-shaped device can be plugged directly into a power outlet for offering wireless coverage throughout the home. The xFi Pod is designed to work along with the primary gateways of MSO that includes a new gigabit gateway that utilizes DOCSIS 3.1 and 802.11ac version 2. Comcast® has developed this hexagonal shaped xFi Pods in collaboration with Plume. The xFi Pod can create an in-home mesh network that can cover all across the home.

Eric Schaefer, SVP, and GM of communications, data and mobility services at Comcast® said, “xFi Pods are easy to install and they work seamlessly with our xFi Gateways to create a whole-home, mesh WiFi network. The small, hexagon-shaped devices plug into indoor electrical outlets just like an air freshener and are easily activated using the xFi mobile app for iOS or Android. Our xFi Gateways deliver reliably fast speeds and the best Wi-Fi coverage to the vast majority of households.”

Best Internet Providers

Wifi Management Platform

It is also compatible to work alongside the xFi branded WiFi management platform introduced by Comcast® lately. Comcast®, which is one of the best internet providers in Chicago and Boston, has already started to deploy these xFi Pods. The Telco is offering these devices to the customers in the form of mesh networking kits that consists of three hexagon shaped xFi Pods. Moreover, Comcast® is also planning to further deploy these xFi pods across all the states in the country in next year.

Comcast® is selling the xFi Pods as a three Pod pack for homes having only three or four bedrooms. It is also offering six pod packs for homes that contain five or more bedrooms, L-shaped additions, and multiple stories. According to Schaefer, the xFi Pods are perfect for extending the wireless connectivity in homes that contains many WiFi challenges depending on its size, shape and construction materials. Comcast® has stated that the three-xFi Pods pack is available for $119 and the six pod pack for $199.

Eric Shaefer added, “xFi Pods won’t be necessary for everyone. Before ordering the Pods, we recommend customers try to resolve their WiFi connectivity issues by making sure their xFi Gateway is located in a central area of their home – a few feet off the floor, in an upright position, and in an open space, which is free of obstructions.”

07 Nov

Comcast® is Set to Increase Download Speeds in Select Packages in Central Division

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Increased Download Speeds

Comcast® recently told the media that the company would boost the download speeds in some of its major internet packages in the upcoming weeks across the Central Division, which covers areas Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, and other areas. The download speeds in select markets for Comcast’s Xfinity® Blast service would increase from 75 Mbps to 100 Mbps, while for Xfinity® Performance, the speeds would increase from 25 to 60 Mbps. The subscribers of the Xfinity® Performance Starter package would also get an increase in download speed from 10 to 25 Mbps.

“Comcast® already provides the nation’s fastest, most reliable internet and in-home Wi-Fi speeds,” said Doug Guthrie, who is the SVP for Big South Region, Central Division, at Comcast®. “Our goal is to keep pushing the envelope for our customers to deliver more value and provide a great online experience — whether that’s by boosting speeds, building out our Wi-Fi and fiber networks, or introducing bold innovations like xFi and Xfinity® Gigabit.”

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Comcast’s Xfinity® Blast Service

To avail the improved download speeds in the said Xfinity® packages, the subscribers may have to restart their respective modems either manually or via the Xfinity® My Account application. Comcast® said that it would inform their subscribers and give the required instructions prior to the changes apply. The new speeds are being unveiled early on in November and will continue through December mid as planned.

Comcast® estimates that the improvements in download speeds would apply to about 80 percent of the subscribers in the Central Division. It is to be noted that the company has increased internet speeds 17 times in the past 16 years.

The news follows up a number of other recent moves from Comcast®, which includes expansion of the Wi-Fi network and the launch of 2 Gbps and 1 Gbps home-based internet services. Comcast® has set up 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots in order to expand its network and rolled out Xfinity® xFi, a platform providing a digital dashboard, which lets the subscribers set up their home Wi-Fi network, find the password, find out which devices are being connected, troubleshoot the errors, set up parental controls, and even pause the Wi-Fi access at home. Other recent moves from Comcast® include the rollout of Xfinity® Mobile, which makes use of the 4G LTE network of Verizon®, which is also one of the best internet providers in the US.

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