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03 Feb

AT&T® Plans to Launch a Streaming Device by the End of 2018

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Launching Streaming Device

AT&T® recently said that the company would launch a streaming device that will enable customers to sign into DirecTV Now®, Netflix®, or other streaming services and stream their preferred shows on TV. The Telco giant said that it is growing their DirecTV Now® customer base, that it added 329,000 phone customers in 2017 fourth quarter, and that it also reaped benefit from the corporate tax reform.

AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said in a recent earnings call that the streaming device would be available to the subscribers by this year’s end. He also said that AT&T® would launch a new version of DirecTV Now® streaming device this spring. Once launched, it will enable AT&T® subscribers to record shows on cloud digital video recorder and stream shows on three devices simultaneously.

In the earnings call, Stephenson also said that closing AT&T’s Time Warner® deal this year is of top priority for the Telco giant. The deal comes with ‘a total transaction value’ of $108.7bn, which includes the net debt of Time Warner®. The U.S. Department of Justice has blocked the merger, but the AT&T® CEO said that they are preparing to present its case in court and finalize the Time Warner® acquisition.

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The US corporate tax rate reduction is proving to be a windfall for AT&T®, something that reflects on their 2017 Q4 earnings report. The free cash flow of the Telco is set to increase by $3.4bn to around $21bn due to the tax reform last year during the deregulation of 2015’s net neutrality. Following the reform, many of the internet service providers including AT&T® have announced employee bonus of $1000 each for most of the staff. Besides employee bonus, Stephenson has also pledged to use the benefits for an extra $1bn in capital investments.

On the recent earnings meeting, AT&T® executives also said the company would use saved funds in order to decrease debt by paying them off in small amounts just as AT&T® prepares to buy Time Warner® and expand fiber powered internet network nationwide. Stephenson said that AT&T® Fiber has reached 7mn locations and that he expects the figure to double over the course of the next 18 months. On the other hand, DirecTV Now® customer base has also grown since its debut.

29 Jan

Charter® Runs Fixed Wireless 5G Trials in 6 Cities and Plans Expansions

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Fixed Wireless 5G Trials

Charter® makes a claim to become the best wireless internet provider having announced the launch of Fixed Wireless 5G trials in six US cities. The company is trialing the gen-next wireless broadband in Orlando in Florida, Bakersfield in California, Columbus in Ohio, Reno in Nevada, Clarksville in Tennessee, and Grand Rapids in Michigan. Charter® also says that they will upgrade broadband especially in rural communities. Charter® is the second biggest cable provider as of now in the US, and delivers Charter Spectrum® to 25 million customers across 41 states.

Charter® outlines plans to deploy broadband across customers in their footprint besides the trialing locations, and outlines that they are expecting to “rely increasingly on next-generation wireless technologies like 5G, and significantly improve and expand the reach of our wired broadband network.”

“Whether it’s testing 5G technologies, investing in broadband infrastructure or expanding the reach of our wired network, we are committed to doing more to deliver better and faster broadband to more communities – large and small, urban and suburban. Smart, technology-neutral policies, coupled with appropriate streamlining measures, will advance these efforts and we look forward to working with policymakers to get it right,” said Charter’s representatives in a recent statement given to the press.

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Charter® also hints at seeking “regulatory parity” in order to avoid competing wireless carriers from gaining benefits over wired cable segment. “It is important that the policies and regulations adopted don’t favor one technology over another. Regulatory parity is also important to maintain and advance competition in the broadband marketplace. Policies or regulations that place more costs and burdens on one side or the other undermine competition, which ultimately harms consumers, innovation and investment,” the officials said.

The announcement of 5G trials in six cities signals Charter’s plans to equip suburbs, rural areas, and main cities with high-speed broadband. Unsurprisingly, the announcement suggest that a solution to close the broadband connectivity gap from Charter® won’t be all wireless technology, but will be inclusive of upgrades to wired infrastructure too.

Access to 5G will be a struggle to citizens suggests the Stamford-based Company, since rural America is replete with plenty of trees with leafage, and hence may encounter certain issues since the population is on the lower side. Most notable of the build outs is Charter’s tests in the 3.5 GHz bandwidth, why may not be easy to implement in rural locations nationwide compared to lower bandwidth broadband.

22 Jan

AT&T® Expands Fixed Wireless Internet Service in Select Locations of Kentucky

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Fixed Wireless Internet Service

AT&T® upgrades their Fixed Wireless Internet in rural and underserved areas of Kentucky. AT&T® Fixed Wireless Internet was debuted in Kentucky earlier last year. The recent build out is done by the Telco giant as part of their FCC Connect American Fund commitment. AT&T® Fixed Wireless Internet comes from a cellular tower to fixed antennae placed on the subscribers’ homes or business premises. The wireless internet service without satellite from AT&T® is now accessible in select locations of up to 51 counties of Kentucky State, including Anderson, Cladwell, Henry, Owen, and Washington County.

“Access to reliable broadband internet service is critical in today’s increasingly digital economy, so I’m pleased to see this sort of investment from the private sector,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne. “By expanding ultra-fast fiber connections in Louisville and Central Kentucky and closing the access gap in our rural communities, we are able to compete for the best jobs and grow economic opportunity for all Kentuckians,” said AT&T® in a recent press release.

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“I am thankful for the leadership of our elected officials who work to ensure a pro-consumer business environment and am delighted to see so many residents benefiting from this innovative technology made possible by private investment,” said Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Adkisson.

Besides expanding wireless internet to mostly rural locations of the state, AT&T® has also upgraded their fiber network backed by AT&T® Fiber, to over 10000 areas in Central Kentucky and Louisville. Subscribers are buying AT&T® Fiber all thanks to the connection speed of up to 1 Gbps. The high-speed internet service will enable customers to download twenty five songs in a second, says AT&T®, or watch their favorite HD movies of 90 minutes running time in less than thirty four seconds.

AT&T® markets the 1000 Mbps Fiber internet connection to more than 7M areas across 67 nationwide metros as of now. Besides, AT&T® plans to reach out to 12.5M areas at the least by mid-2019. Commenting on the fiber network expansions in the U.S. State, AT&T® Kentucky President Hood Harris said, “The more than 2,700 men and women who work for AT&T® and call Kentucky home, are proud to work with our local, state and federal leadership to provide the connectivity Kentucky’s residents and businesses demand.”

16 Jan

Comcast® to Extend the Reach of its Home Automation Services

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Comcast® is planning to further improve the reach of its home automation services to its customers across the country. It has announced this expansion of home automation across its entire range of Xfinity® products such as X1, xFi, Xfinity Home® and Xfinity Mobile®. This will make available smart home controls to more than 15 million customers of Xfinity® at no additional charges. With this customer can easily control the various aspects of their home such as turning off lights, regulating thermostats, lock doors, and activate the home security system just by using simple voice commands.

Eliza Findlay, Public Relations Manager for Comcast® stated the customers will be provided with more facilities with the new expansion. She said, “For instance, say someone is sitting down watching TV and it can see who’s at their door. So, there’s an outdoor camera that shows them that and even allows them to unlock the door to let that person in from their couch. We have had home automation services available to Xfinity® home, our home security system, customers. With this announcement 15 million additional Xfinity® Internet customers are now eligible to have these home automated services.”

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Home Automated Services

Last year, Comcast® bought Stringify, a tech startup providing cloud automation services for 500 IoT products and services. The Telco is planning to integrate this soon into the range of Xfinity® products and services along with its wireless internet service. This integration can further improve the home automation service and increase its capabilities. It provides Xfinity® customers the means to use and manage the ecosystems of many prominent brands like GE, Yale, August, etc. Besides, Comcast® has also brought out a new way for builders and property developers to incorporate the Xfinity® smart home automation service for the building process.

According to Chris Satchell, EVP and CPO at Comcast®, “Xfinity® will be the home operating system that integrates every IoT device and transforms a connected home into an intelligent home. Our engineers are working to enable our customers to easily control their connected devices, making full use of our Xfinity® platforms, such as Voice Control, X1, xFi, and Xfinity Home®. We also will add value to that experience by giving customers contextual suggestions for automation that will help them take full advantage of their digital home, making it more useful, fun, and enjoyable.”

10 Jan

Comcast® Acquires the Cable Assets of Wilco

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One of the best internet providers in the United States, Comcast Corporation® recently announced that low-income families in the country who have currently subscribed to the Internet Essentials service of the provider would be able to see a discount of $10 a month in their monthly bill. Unfortunately, several poor residents in Comcast’s headquarters city will not be able to enjoy this luxury since the telecom company is not serving the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) units with their broadband internet service.

Reports from several reliable sources also claim that many of these PHA families doesn’t even have access to a reliable high speed internet service. This is because Comcast Corporation® who has been serving the public housing units with cable TV, Wilco Electronic Systems Inc. of Fort Washington, has not yet upgraded their network for the broadband service. However, it seems that Comcast’s recent acquisition of Wilco’s network might change things for the low-income PHA families.

It is reported that the telecom giant, Comcast® is planning to replace or upgrade the Wilco network by the end of 2019 to bring the PHA units into telecom parity with the remaining parts of Philadelphia. According to reliable sources, these proposed upgrades by Comcast Corporation® will extend their services to Emlen Arms in Mount Airy, West Park Apartments in West Philadelphia, Johnson Homes in North Philadelphia, Bartram Village in South Philadelphia, and many other PHA housing developments.

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Internet Essentials Program

The general counsel of the PHA, Larry Redican said, Wilco “offered some internet service through a third party, but it was not broadband. We are very excited that our residents will now have an opportunity to access Internet Essentials from Comcast®. This will go a long way in bridging the digital divide.”

In a recent statement, the president and founder of Wilco, Will Daniel stated that his company is “happy to reach an agreement with Comcast® that will now offer PHA residents the ability to be able to reap the benefits of the Internet Essentials program as well as many other advanced technologies.”

The telecom giant, Comcast Corporation® introduced the Internet Essentials program in order to acquire approval from the FCC for their NBCUniversal deal back in the year 2011. The officials from Comcast® claims that approximately 31,000 Philadelphia families have enrolled for the program until now.

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