Category Archives: AT&T

AT&T Expansion and DirecTV Merger

AT&T and Direct TV Logos

In 2014 AT&T and DirecTV announced a merger worth almost $50 billion dollars. While this proposed deal would provide a new way for AT&T to expand its footprint, the process had been stuck in the approval phase for months, although after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recommended last week that the deal move ahead, industry experts now believe that it will be approved formally within ten days. It appears that the main sticking point had been ensuring that AT&T adheres to the new FCC rules pertaining to broadband speeds. While this impasse persisted, AT&T was forced to file for two extensions to close the deal, the most recent only a few weeks ago.

When the deal does receive final approval, it will make AT&T the largest TV provider in the nation and will give DirecTV customers access to broadband services. Two recent filings to the FCC detail parts of AT&T’s plan to address the Department of Justice’s concerns that the merger may create a TV and broadband monopoly. The first filling stipulates that lower and middle income families will have access to DSL services, if available, at discounted prices. Upon further review of the filling, however, there are major limitations on this provision. In particular, the program will continue for only four years and for the more remote locations, will only provide speeds of 1.5 Mbps, which is too slow to support streaming services like Hulu Plus or Netflix. This low speed option has caused experts to speculate this is a different tactic in video slowdown and wonder if AT&T will be in full compliance with the Net Neutrality ruling if they do not improve this aspect of their proposal. Prices for this service would range from $5 to $10 per month, while a higher tier with speeds up to 5 Mbps would cost $10 to $20 per month.

The second filing to the FCC also addresses coverage issues, but deals with fiber internet customers. As part of its proposed merger, AT&T has promised that it will extend its 1 Gbps fiber footprint to almost 12 million businesses and homes within the next four years. This announcement comes on the heels of one made in April 2015 that AT&T was looking at nearly 100 cities where they might roll out fiber service, including Chicago, San Francisco, and Atlanta. As mentioned in the new FCC filing, AT&T has now added a new focus on the state of Florida, in particular the cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The company will draw on its recent successful expansion in the state of Texas, particularly around Dallas and Austin, to implement an efficiency plan to bring its GigaPower fiber service to the Sunshine State by the middle of 2016. Whether or not these efforts are enough to alleviate any lingering concerns still held by the Department of Justice should become clear by the middle of August 2015.

 

Fiber footprint increases while prices drop

A bundle of optical fibers.

 

As the review process for the proposed Charter purchase of Time Warner Cable continues to advance slowly, internet users around the United States are seeing more rapid gains in the expansion of fiber options. While Google Fiber has been one of the major leaders in this expansion, CenturyLink and AT&T have also been making gains. Throwing its hat into the ring now is Comcast, which is trying to differentiate itself from the competition.

 

While the current speed people can expect from fiber is around 1Gbps, Comcast is doubling this and offering speeds of 2 Gbps. Known as Gigabit Pro, these services will be offered to households in parts of Tennessee, Florida, California, and Georgia. Ultimately, the goal is to bring these services to around 20 million homes by the early part of 2016.

 

The latest reports indicate that Comcast is expanding its Gigabit Pro service area to include more of the Midwest and western United States. Regions of Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Washington, and Oregon will soon be able to enjoy speeds twice as fast as other service providers in the state. This latest round of expansion has industry insiders buzzing that Comcast has invested more heavily in its fiber infrastructure than previously believed. In addition to their Gigabit Pro service, Comcast plans to launch Extreme 250 by the end of the year. This service will offer speeds of 250 Mbps.

 

Although their speeds may lack what Comcast will soon offer, CenturyLink continues to offer its 1 Gbps services in certain parts of the United States. By the end of 2015, they hope to have finished connecting over one million businesses and households to their fiber service. The same is true for AT&T which is expanding its U-verse fiber footprint in Illinois and Tennessee.

 

As more of these services are being offered, prices have been dropping. Initially, AT&T had been pricing its services in the $120 range, but competition has caused them to drop prices in some areas, including in the southern United States, by up to $50 per month. Google Fiber is currently offering its services for $70 to $100 per month. Even though Comcast’s Gigabit Pro provides speeds twice as fast as its competitors, the proposed price of $299 per month may turn off many consumers. What is clear, however, is that unlike AT&T, Comcast has no plans to establish a usage cap on anyone using Gigabit Pro.

 

AT&T Backs Off From Delays To Fiber Deployment, Following FCC Investigation

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made some controversy a few weeks ago — claiming all fiber deployment had been postponed — following President Obama’s support of Title II reclassification for broadband companies.

Title II reclassification could harm AT&T’s core broadband business, by imposing regulations that would stop things like fast-lanes, price-hikes and underdevelopment.

Continue reading AT&T Backs Off From Delays To Fiber Deployment, Following FCC Investigation

AT&T and Verizon Wireless Announce Higher Data Plans

Sprint might be in the worst position out of the four major carriers, but one smart initiative drawing customers is their new Double Data deal, offering the same price package but with twice of the data per month.

This has lifted the 10GB plan to 20GB per month, the highest data plan of any of the four carriers for the price. Sprint is committed to higher amounts of data, even if it means losing some net profit.

Quick on the tail of Sprint’s newfound success, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have both announced new higher data plans – not as exciting as Sprint’s double data – but still interesting for anyone who wants more data monthly.

AT&T New Plans

AT&T is not committing to high-end data plans over 10GB, which could be their downfall in the next few years, when Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile all offers plans to customers who want lots of data.

The new updated plans offer 3GB instead of 2GB for $40 per month and 6GB instead of 4GB for $70 per month. This is not ‘double data’ but does offer more for your money.

Verizon Wireless New Plans

Verizon Wireless is offering new plans for higher-end users, updating their 6GB option to 10GB for $80 per month; the 10GB option will now offer 15GB for $100 per month.

Again, this is not as impressive as Sprint’s move from 10GB to 20GB, but Verizon Wireless does not need to push as hard for customers, since they are the number one carrier in the US.

Both of these new deals do not offer a huge amount for the customer, but then again they are not paying any more for the extra data, so it is a bonus in every way.

T-Mobile has not announced any new packages, but the carrier does have the excuse that they have the lowest current rates of any of the four providers.

AT&T using Comcast merger as leverage for DirecTV acquisition

DirecTV shareholders recently accepted the acquisition deal by AT&T, valued at $48.5 billion and it appears the public is fine with this deal.

In a statement to the FCC regarding the Comcast merger, AT&T said it would be hard for them to compete, unless they were able to acquire DirecTV for pay-TV market share and hold of the satellite market.

It is interesting about the public’s reaction to the AT&T and DirecTV acquisition, something that could be more devastating than the apparent Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, currently being debated by the FCC.

twc_comcast_map

Comcast and Time Warner Cable do have lower customer satisfaction rates, along with Comcast known as one of the worst companies in the United States for aggressive business tactics and pathetic customer support.

The merger has also shown Comcast will take control of all of Time Warner Cable’s markets. This wouldn’t be so bad if they were competing with one another, but all this does is give Comcast another 20 or so states to ruin.

In the FCC filing, Comcast said they have had overwhelming support for the merger. It feels like Comcast is living in a dream world or pushing their lies so hard, just to see how fickle the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is at saying “no” to corporations.

We will have to wait and see what the FCC says. If they say no, Comcast will undoubtably try again and again, and if FCC repeatedly deny it, they might start threatening them with worse service.

This would be great for Google Fiber, Cox Communications and other broadband providers who have decent customer service. We might also see the introduction of more municipal broadband, to curve Comcast’s reach.

Both acquisitions are bad for the industry. We would advise you write to your state representative, to try and push the government away from AT&T and Comcast gaining more control.

AT&T tries to stop municipal broadband in several states

AT&T might not be the Kings of Anti-Consumerism, that title still goes to Comcast, but in many ways AT&T has their fare share of money grabbing evil statements, which go against everything the company is meant to stand for as a leading Internet service provider.

Continue reading AT&T tries to stop municipal broadband in several states

AT&T merger with DirecTV approved by Department of Justice

AT&T has apparently gained approval from the DOJ (Department of Justice) to go ahead with their $48.5 billion merger with satellite TV company DirecTV.

The deal has been in the works for a few months. AT&T is looking to compete with the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, currently stuck in the DOJ and FCC office, awaiting approval.

Continue reading AT&T merger with DirecTV approved by Department of Justice

AT&T will be the first ISP to offer gigabyte Internet in Silicon Valley

Google’s home-town is still not on the list of places getting Google Fiber in the near future, but AT&T has declared they will offer 1GBps Internet down for an undisclosed price in Cupertino, California, home to Apple, with plans to broaden to all of Silicon Valley.

AT&T has been on the offensive with their high-speed U Verse service, allowing high-end customers the chance to experience incredibly fast Internet, the likes of which they can only find on Google Fiber.

Continue reading AT&T will be the first ISP to offer gigabyte Internet in Silicon Valley