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11 Apr

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

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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.”

07 Mar

Comcast® Launches Gigabit Internet across Houston

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Gigabit Internet Access

Comcast® announced the internet service with 1 Gbps speed last year in select parts of Houston, which comprises of Cypress, Spring, Rosenberg, and Katy. However, the best internet provider has now rolled out gigabit internet throughout Houston thereby expanding the broadband portfolio for both new and existing customers in the region.

The high-speed internet service from Comcast® needs a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem for internet deployment. Most of the cable modems of Comcast® in Houston use DOCSIS 3.0 standard and provide internet at 300 Mbps maximum. If you are using an older model cable modem in Comcast Xfinity®, you will have to upgrade the modem to one that supports DOCSIS 3.1 standard to get internet service with faster speeds.

Xfinity® customers and Comcast Business® subscribers in Houston can now get high-speed internet data over communications line that already exists in the respective premises. The gigabit internet service from the cable giant offers customers 35 megabits per second upstream speed.

In contrast to that, Comcast’s residential internet services usually have upstream speed in the range of 5 and 10 megabits per second. If you subscribe to Comcast’s gigabit internet service with DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem at a monthly rent of $10, you can get better internet plans in Houston.

The gigabit internet service enables the users to download a 5 GB HD movie within forty seconds or play a 15 GB video within 120 seconds. The best internet service has a 1 TB data cap just like some of the other speed tiers of Comcast®.

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High-Speed Internet Service

The gigabit internet service from Comcast® is set to compete with AT&T® Internet 1000 and is going to be available in “600,000 homes, apartments and small businesses,” in Houston, the company announced in a recent statement.

Apart from Xfinity® subscribers, Comcast® also offers a variant of the internet service to the business customers. The prices of the internet service of Comcast® with 1 gigabit per second speed will vary as per the location, the number of business locations that would have access to the speed, and the other services of Comcast® a business customer may subscribe to prior to subscribing to the service.

If you are a residential customer, wanting to subscribe to Comcast’s gigabit internet service at a promotional monthly price you will have to sign up for a 12 months contract. For existing customers in Houston region, who already have signed up for a contract, the prices for the internet service would vary.

22 Jan

Charter Communications® Upgrades NYC Network and Plans for More in Future

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Spectrum Internet Service

Charter Communications® has unveiled that the company has expanded their network in NYC recently to around five hundred underserved and unserved areas in Rome, Kirkland, and Utica. The expansion has been continuing since FCC and New York Public Service Commission granted the Time Warner Cable® and Charter Communications® merger last year. Charter® offers to customers in Central New York region internet, cable TV, and voice services.

The recent build out from the Telco will serve select locations of Oneida County in NYC, but some residents still need accesses to best internet service from an ISP. Reports indicate that a Deerfield resident named Graham Espe attempted to contact Charter Spectrum® to get internet for his home. Charter Communications® told Graham Espe regarding a grant program, which the Telco told him they would not partake in, and that it will be his choice to file for. The resident living in Roberts Road understands that the grant program is not open to all people.

“The way it was explained to me when I emailed the New York State Broadband Program Office back in early 2017 was that providing service to rural areas of Oneida County was a specific requirement to allow the merger of Time Warner®/Charter®/Spectrum® via the grant program,” said Graham Espe. “My take on it is that they lobbied to have the wording such that it seemed like a requirement to the public to get around anti-monopoly laws to get the merger approved, but in reality it was still a choice whether they opted to take advantage of the grants. So there was never any legal obligation on Spectrum’s part to actually follow through with providing new service to underserved areas.”

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Charter® has informed New York Public Service Commission that the network in over 42000 unserved areas has upgraded following last year’s merger with Time Warner Cable®. The expansion met the interim target of the Commission from the Telco, which was to expand the network in over 36000 underserved areas of NYC by December 2017. By May 2020, Charter Communications® will have to build out the network in up to 145000 locations in the state.

“We are on track to extend our advanced broadband network to 145,000 unserved and underserved homes and businesses across New York, including to additional locations in Oneida County by May 2020,” said Andrew Russell, the director of communications at Charter Communications® for the Northeast area.

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.”

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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.

22 Dec

Comcast®, AT&T®, and Dish Network® to Increase Rates by January

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Increasing Rates For Services

Comcast® recently said their customers in the Houston area that they will be increasing rates for most of their cheap internet and cable TV products. The increased rates will be reflected in the January 2018 bill. Details of the increase in rates appeared in a notice that was provided with the last bill.

The monthly price increases by 4.50 dollars for the Digital Premier Service by Comcast®. The old price was 139.99 dollars and the new price will be 144.49 dollars. The price for two premium channels has increased by four dollars and has reached 24 dollars from 19.99 dollars. In addition, the rates of most standalone internet services have increased by two dollars.

It is also reported that the rate to rent cable modem is increasing from ten dollars to eleven dollars and the late fee will increase from 9.50 dollars to 10 dollars. Comcast® spokesperson Michael Bybee said that the increase in rates would not apply to users who have applied promotional rates or to those users who have negotiated the rates as per a contract. However, the rates will go up once the contract or promotional period expires.

On the notice provided with the December bills, Ralph Martinez, who is the Regional Senior Vice President of Comcast®, said that the prices are increasing as “the cost of doing business rises.”

“You may also be aware that we pay increasing programming fees to offer the best in entertainment, news and sports and they are among our largest costs,” the note says. Bybee also said that increase was originally planned for October 1, 2017. However, it was delayed due to the Hurricane Harvey.

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“We postponed the original timing of the price change so we could all focus on recovery efforts from the devastating effects this city endured from Hurricane Harvey,” he said.

It is not just Comcast® raising the cable rates. AT&T® is also increasing prices for their DirecTV® services in January and the announcement about the same was made recently. AT&T® has increased range from 20 cents per month for some of the regional sports channels to eight dollars per month for the Ultimate Premier package of DirecTV®. AT&T® has not yet announced any hike in their internet rates.

Dish Network® is also planning to increase rates for their television services. It is reported that most of their channel bundles will go up by 5 dollars a month and the rate of their complete America’s Everything package will increase by 15 dollars.

13 Dec

AT&T® Introduces Real Time Text (RTT) to Discontinue its Old TTY Technology

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Modernizing Telephony Networks

In its relentless push for modernizing its existing telephony networks, AT&T® has introduced a new service known as real-time text (RTT). The launch of this new service will replace the TTY technology that it had relied for about 50 years. The newly introduced real-time text (RTT) is actually a text-based service that will remove many of the limitations of the older TTY service. As the best internet service, AT&T® has incorporated several new technologies into the RRT.

Real-time transmission of each of the RRT text character is one feature. It provides a more conversational flow of communication along with voice. The older TTY technology requires that the users send messages in turn, which lacked efficiency and speed. AT&T® has designed the RTT to work seamlessly across both Android and iOS smartphones that have updated operating system. Moreover, accessing this service does not require the use of specialized equipment.

With this new service, customers are provided the option to establish communication with RTT and TTY users. Besides, it will also help them connect to 911 centers and relay services operating around the region. The origins of the TTY service go back to the 1960’s, as it was introduced as a reliable means for the deaf, hearing impaired or speech-disabled customers to communicate with each other directly or indirectly via a telecom relay service provider. However, AT&T® has assured that this feature will remain intact in the new RTT service.

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Support Non-Voice Conversations

Users with such disabilities will still be able to communicate with other through the TTY or text messaging service. TTY systems broadcasted the tones from a keyboard stroke by the user over a phone line to the other end and support non-voice conversations. AT&T® has urged the FCC to consider RTT as a reliable service to serve as an alternative for customers with any hearing or speech disabilities.

Moreover, the Telco has mentioned that the calls made with the RTT will be billed as voice calls. Linda Vandeloop, Assistant Vice President of Federal Regulatory, AT&T® has said, “This launch on AT&T’s network is the first step in making RTT as widely available as possible. Initially, AT&T® RTT users will be able to communicate with other users on AT&T’s network. By the end of the year, more carriers will deploy the service, enabling communication between networks.”

“By 2021, most if not all carriers will be offering RTT,” She further stated. “So, half a century after TTY was first introduced, AT&T® is excited to be leading the charge and offering this new service making communications even more accessible for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have a speech disability.”

11 Dec

Special Committee Probe of CenturyLink® Finds No Customer Service Fraud Evidence

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Customer Service Fraud

CenturyLink® recently said that their special committee of independent board members concluded that there was no evidence to prove that the provider charged their users for services that the users did not order, as alleged by an old employee of CenturyLink®. This practice is known as cramming in the world of technology.

In the last six months, the special committee of CenturyLink® together with the independent counsel from O’Melveny & Myers LLP and forensic data analysts collected and analyzed more than 9.7 million documents together with 4.3 terabytes of billing data that consists of more than 32 billion billing records. The group also interviewed many current and former employees to know about the practices followed by CenturyLink® in sales and billing.

The committee found that management of CenturyLink® did not encourage cramming and the evidences did not prove that cramming was used. However, CenturyLink® admitted that their “investment in consumer sales monitoring was not sufficiently effective in proactively detecting and quantifying potential cramming.” The Telco maintains specific procedures and policies that are designed to prevent and prohibit cramming.

CenturyLink® executives said that one of the most important issues that might have led to the way users were handled could be the complex structure of their products, promotions, and pricing, which may have resulted in confusion. Due to this, bills may not meet the expectations of customers. They added that the limitations in their ordering and billing software made it made it hard to offer users with estimates of their bills and letters confirming services that offered details of all taxes, prorated charges, discounts, and fees.

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Price For Life Guarantee

Human errors resulted in some users not getting an offered point of sale discount. CenturyLink® did not address this in a timely manner. “The investigation confirmed my long-held belief that there was no fraud or wrongdoing at the Company and that cramming was neither widespread nor condoned,” said Glen Post, who is the CEO and chairman of CenturyLink®. “However, we know there have been times when we haven’t provided our customers the experience they deserve. We have identified a number of areas where we can improve the customer experience and have already made significant progress in addressing those areas.”

CenturyLink® started a “Price for Life” guarantee for users of three of their commonly offered best internet service speed tiers to rectify future issues. The “Price for Life” guarantee was initially introduced in Nevada, which was then expanded to their complete network footprint.

04 Dec

AT&T® and Amazon Web Services Develops LTE-M Button for its IoT Platform

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Internet Of Things Platform

AT&T® and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have made several new improvements to the internet of things platform such as the LTE-M based button. With this button, users are offered the option to submit service requests or place supplies for office supplies using a single click. This new button will be included in the IoT network launched by AT&T® this year. The launch of the button is to take place in the first quarter of next year. It is available to the customers for a promotional price of $30 for each LTE button in the first 5000 sold.

According to Mike Troiano, vice president of Internet of Things solutions for AT&T®, the price for the LTE-M button will settle between $30 after the end of the promotional period. The main target of this LTE-M button is in the enterprise market and will have a life expectancy of three years. Included along with this price is the data usage through the product lifespan. AT&T®, one of the best internet services in the country has been a long time collaborator with Amazon Web Services.

As a part of the collaboration, the new LTE-M button will also bore the services of AWS such as its 1-click service. This new initiative put forward by AWS aids customers having a minimal configuration to use their services. The price tag of AT&T’s button is a bit high when compared to Amazon’s Dish, which is consumer-targeted gadget priced for $20. However, this increase in the price is supplanted with ease of cellular connectivity provided to the business customers of AT&T®.

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Amazon Web Services

This will help them reduce the costs involved in hiring IT repairpersons for resolving problems with the connectivity. Using cellular connections allows in establishing coverage across remoter areas such as agricultural or oil fields where there is the unavailability of any Wi-Fi networks.

This enables the customers to utilize the LTE-M button straight out of the box without having the need to carry out any kind of provisioning. AT&T® has made a clear position to its newly introduced LTE-M button as a much simpler and reliable alternative over Wi-Fi connected devices.

The Telco has also stated that there will be a decline in the prices of the devices from the expected growth and evolution of the LPWA technologies. In addition, AT&T® has made several plans for extending its cellular business into the Wi-Fi dominated segments and devices.

29 Nov

CenturyLink® Connects AWS Re:Invent 2017 With its Dedicated Network Services

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Dedicated Network Services

CenturyLink® has become the primary provider of network services to the AWS re:Invent 2017 currently taking place in Las Vegas. As one of the best internet service in the country, this new position as a provider for such an event will surely help it to extend its network and services. Besides, the Telco is also looking forward to gaining new footholds by providing its network connectivity and technologies for the event. For the last four consecutive years, CenturyLink® has provided dedicated network connectivity to the AWS event.

It began in 2012, and after that, the event has grown, with a large capacity of both onsite and live streaming viewers. Chris McReynolds, VP of cloud and data product management for CenturyLink® said, “We began supporting this event in 2012 and it was all at the Sands and now it’s grown to five different venues and there’s over 40,000 attendees. The demands of what they have requested for us have grown in parallel with that.”

CenturyLink® has combined its connection onto the hub site located at the Sands. The Telco provides internet access and dedicated network connectivity to the attendees for the event as well as for powering the Wi-Fi access offered by Amazon. For the event, CenturyLink® has set up different routes in the network connectivity for its hubs located in different places.

McReynolds further stated, “We go to a Northern cloud onramp for the East region and a Southern onramp with a diverse path on our long-haul network. Also, we do the same for AWS West. AWS has a couple of big needs: internet access to the 40,000 attendees, but they also have their boot camps, hackathons, and live streaming events that they’re managing through AWS Compute.”

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Live Streaming Viewers

CenturyLink® not only offers network services to the attendees but to the complementary events of AWS as well. However, CenturyLink® has already made plans for gaining major footholds in the Las Vegas region. It has decided that it will leave the network circuits intact after the commencement of the event, in order to cater the needs of any future events.

“Las Vegas has so many different conventions at the Sands and other venues and it’s such diverse and powerful internet connectivity we have built,” McReynolds said. “Even with those internet connections, we connect all of those facilities and take it out with diverse directions to two different internet points of presence and that’s something that should be of value to other conferences.”

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