Verizon Strike Impact Millions of Customers

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In just about any industry or business, it is the employee who drives market growth and penetration in the end. The business owner may think they can do everything themselves, but in reality, a solid workforce is needed in order to realize any type of expansion.

verizon strikeThis is true even in the telecom industry. Given the sheer size of it, there is no doubt that even a strike or boycott by a few employees will be felt.

Such is the case with Verizon. It was announced late last week that a strike had begun. Even though it was just two days old, Verizon customers were already starting to feel its impact. Especially in the areas of its FiOS internet and television subscribers.

The strike originated because union workers and upper management at Verizon could not reach a consensus on issues which matter most to the employees. This includes items such as healthcare, pensions, and sick leave.

According to Tami Erwin, a group president at Verizon “We do have a bit of a delay . . . We’re working hard with customers to prioritize repair above activations and provisioning because we owe that to our existing customers.” (http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-wireline-workforce-labor-strike-causing-installation-delays/2016-04-15).

On average, Verizon conducts about 30,000-35,000 installations in a week. However, because of the strike, this statistic has eroded by 30%. Although the strike affects all customers involved, the harshest of the effects of the boycott are being felt in the states of New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

Although Verizon claims it has plenty of back up personnel to counter the effects of the strike, other news reports have revealed that it had to deploy well over 20,000 non-union workers. The last major strike that Verizon faced was back in 2011, and resulted in a subscription backlog of over 100,000 based FiOS orders.

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

 

Announcing a New Kind of GIS Analysis Tool

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In the world of GIS, there is one thing that’s certain: There is a ton of geospatial information and data being stored in databases and in the Cloud all over the world.

To the trained scientist, extracting and analyzing all of this is second nature. But, to the GIS professional, who is more a business person even an end user, it will take a lot more effort to understand and make use of all of these different datasets.

gis analyst toolFor example, datasets are very often not interlinked with one another, thus making analyses of them very difficult to the untrained eye.

In order to make this possible, a leading GIS firm known as Esri and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it has launched a new product line called the “Engagement Portfolio.”

This new product includes all sorts and types of global maps and mobile apps which gives everyone free and easy access to U.S. forestry based data. Free analysis tools are also provided. The key differentiating factor of this product from the many other GIS products is that all of the datasets are interactive with others.

So, for instance, if multiple datasets are being examined, many “what if” scenarios can be planned, with the effect being that the manipulation of one dataset immediately is transmitted to the other datasets. According to John Steffenson, Director of Global Business Development of Natural Resources at Esri, “Interactive access to data helps everyone make better decisions about our fragile ecosystem . . . the Forest Service’s new Engagement Portfolio transforms the agency’s wealth of data into information products that anyone can relate to and that powerfully convey the value of the nation’s forests.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/esri-and-usda-forest-service-introduce-interactive-trove-of-maps/465693).

With this new product comes a new database as well, which is known as the “Forestry Inventory and Analysis.”

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

Your Right to Privacy is Being Violated!!!

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In both our daily and professional lives, the one thing we cherish is the right to privacy.  This particular freedom is guaranteed to us by the United States Constitution.  Given how everything is now mobile based, this particular freedom is becoming even more challenged, especially in the telecom industry.

privacyAs was discussed in a previous blog posting, the FCC, last year, released some new privacy rules/regulations that telecom vendors must now follow.  But, even this is coming under fire.  According to a press release last week, it was announced that the FCC has been unfairly targeting the larger telecom vendors with regards to privacy rights.

This legislation, from which these new rules/regulations stem, is known as the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).  The basic premise is that consumers should be allowed to make “informed choices” by gaining access to how their personal information is being used when they sign up for various services.

However, even this is receiving harsh criticism from even some of the industry leaders.  For instance, according to Bob Quinn, a Senior Vice President at AT&T, “Asymmetric regulation, which favors some competitors and disfavors others, with no rational justification in law or policy distorts the marketplace and ultimately harms consumers.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/fcc-privacy-proposal-draws-fire-telcos-industry-groups/2016-03-11).

In order to help combat this criticism, the FCC has now proposed that the sharing of consumer information and data should be broken down into three distinct categories:

1)      Information collected from social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

2)      Information collected from “other services” provided by the telecom vendors

3)      Any covert government surveillance which has been imposed upon a telecom vendor (for instance, spying on a potential terror suspect).

Only time will tell how all of this will unfold. But, in the meantime, enjoy your fundamental right to privacy.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

 

VC Activity Is Alive and Kicking in GIS

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Despite market ups and downs that are transpiring in worldwide financial markets, investors seem to be hot on the trail of explosive growth in the GIS sector. The latest beneficiary is eeGeo, a 3D mapping and landmark visualization company, based out of the United Kingdom.

eegeoThis business entity just recently raised $5 million in funding from Netsol Technologies, an information technology based financing firm.

Part of this deal also includes access to Netsol’s highly coveted software engineering team. eeGeo already has millions of end users and subscribers, worldwide.

With eeGeo’s GIS technological expertise, any business can very easily visualize, manipulate, and comprehend complex data sets in a 3D mobile experience. Leading customers include both Cisco and DoCoMo.

This new funding will be used by eeGeo in a variety of different ways, including the following:

  • Developing its next-generation interior mapping capabilities.
  • Scaling up to meet increased customer demand to have the ability to create a 3D image representation of any space.
  • Creating and deploying end user implementations at a much quicker rate of delivery, thus greatly reducing the current lag experienced in the time to market ratio.
  • Giving the customer the ability to personalize the software services offered to fit their own specific requirements and needs.

According to Ian Hetherington, CEO and Founder of eeGeo, “Following the official company launch in 2015, we have seen an increase in customers and partners wanting to implement our mapping technology as part of their business offerings, in order to better engage with their end-users, maximize efficiency and create additional revenue streams . . . This strategic funding will put us in a position to serve a much larger market, whilst delivering new features and making our solution widely available.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/eegeo-announces-strategic-funding-to-fuel-global-growth/465209).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

Broadband Services Coming to Low Income Families

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While there is no doubt the financial makes in the United States are gaining momentum, once again (as opposed to back in January, when the equity markets declined as much as nine percent), and the overall unemployment remains relatively low, the American middle class is still feeling the squeeze.

broadband cardsToday, the term “disposable income” is totally unheard of, and many families have had to cut out all extra expenses, which often includes their broadband and internet connectivity subscriptions.

In an effort to make these services available to all middle class families, AT&T recently announced a new program called “Access from AT&T” which provides ultra-low-cost subscription plans.

This program will be made available to people, who also participate in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in a 21 state region. The pricing structure is as follows:

  • 10 Mbps for $10 per month
  • 5 Mbps for $10 per month
  • 3 Mbps for $5 per month

In addition to this, AT&T is also offering to its customers its Wi-Fi modem technology, and free Hot Spot services at cafes and restaurants all over.  According to Cheryl Choy, Vice President of Wired Voice and Broadband Products at AT&T, “We’re making it easier for more people to connect to friends, family, their communities, and the possibilities of the Internet . . . access from AT&T is an affordable Internet option available to millions of Americans with limited budgets.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/access-att-launches-low-income-americans-across-21-states-offers-3-mbps-5mo/2016-04-22).

However, despite the fact that this program is very appealing, it does have its “catches,” as well.  For example, there is a cap on the level of Internet usage, which ranges from 150Gb to 250Gb, and if this quota is exceeded, there will be an extra $10 charge for every 50Gb overage.

Other broadband carriers jumping onto this low cost bandwagon, including Comcast and Google Fiber.

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

The Benefits of the Comcast/AWS Partnership

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While consumers across the United States have a choice of a broadband vendor, here in the Chicago marketplace, there is no choice. Comcast is the only broadband carrier available. There are, of course, those consumers who love them and others who just don’t like Comcast at all.

concast businessThe praise and criticism ranges all the way from superior services to poor customer service to unfair monopolistic practices.

Even so, no matter how the company is viewed, Comcast is always looking for the newest ways in which to expand its product and service offerings. Just recently, it was announced that they intend to form a loose partnership with the Amazon Web Services (also known as ‘AWS’). This partnership will give potential new customers network connectivity to over one million ethernet-enabled buildings.

The specific target market for this is the enterprise level business. Those entities that sign up for AWS services will also receive up to 10Gbps of dedicated Ethernet services. It is anticipated that large scale medical practices and financial institutions will primarily benefit from this partnership.

Customers will also gain access to other AWS based services, such as the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Solution (Amazon S3), and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). Through this partnership, Comcast is hoping to also expand its data center offerings as well as to large sized business.

This will give Comcast the ability to leverage itself against such competitors as AT&T, Level 3 Communications, and Zayo. The cloud is also becoming very important to broadband customers, especially the ability to “Configure Your Own Cloud.” This simply means that, after you sign up for services through the Comcast/AWS partnership, you can get cloud based features a la carte.

All of this is good news to the business division of Comcast, which has generated over $1.3 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

 

Introducing the Driving Direction Suite of the Future

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The world of GIS does not just include mapping the terrain of the earth or the famous landmarks on it. As we have seen, the principles of GIS can be used to deploy in all sorts of applications, ranging from helping first responders get to a disaster site as quickly as possible, to helping clean up the unexploded landmines in the most remote regions in Africa.

Driving direction suiteBut, there is one type of application in which GIS is still in popular demand and, in fact, continues to grow at an exponential rate. That is helping the average, everyday driver to find the best, most efficient, and hassle free way to commute from Point A to Point B, and vice versa.

With the advent of Smartphone technologies, gone are the days when we have to log into MapQuest or even Google Maps in order to get the directions we need. Today, all we have to do is speak the address of our destination, and our iPhone, Samsung device, Android device, or even Windows mobile device will guide us.

Now, however, this is not enough. We want to use something much more interactive, with more details. In other words, having something like a “directions dashboard.” Yes. This is now on the way. It was recently announced that two GIS companies, HERE and Telogis, Inc., have formed a partnership in order to make this “driving dashboard” a reality.

This new technology is called the “Telogis Navigation and Route Planning Suite.” Some of the features of this new solution include the following:

  • Historical data/real-time estimated time of arrival (ETA) updates
  • Efficient route planning
  • A comprehensive picture of current road conditions
  • Route planning optimization, taking into consideration how traffic flows, historically, on the selected roadway at a given point in the day

According to Krishna Vanka, Vice President of Product Management at Telogis, “The accuracy and immediacy of HERE’s technologies enables Telogis to produce an industry leading navigation, route optimization and response management results . . . combining historic traffic with specific truck attributes allow our customers to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction and employee retention.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/here-traffic-improves-eta-in-latest-telogis-navigation-and-telogis-route-pl/467562).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

Tough Times in Penetrating the Rural Sector

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Given the market conditions and the volatility in the financial markets here in the United States, just about every type of industry is feeling some sort of meltdown, whether it is from laying off employees or experiencing budget cuts. Right now, even the telecom industry is prone to this.

centuryLinkFor example, while the largest telecom vendors have penetrated most of the lucrative markets, the smaller vendors have been left to penetrate the lesser lucrative markets, which include rural areas. Even though many of these smaller vendors have hoped that market dominance here would pick up, it simply has not.

This is best exemplified by CenturyLink, with its recent acquisition of Qwest. It was hoped that, with this buyout, the penetration rate into the rural sector would be quick and easy. But, this has not happened, yet. Only 20% of the potential customers have actually signed onto CenturyLink’s services, and there is quite a long way to go, especially in getting speeds of 40Mbps or more.

However, the market penetration into the rural sector is slow due to the other reasons, as well, not just consumer demand. For example, according to the FCC, “A small percentage of these households in some areas may not be able to obtain CenturyLink broadband services on demand, due to capacity constraints in the network.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/centurylinks-40-mbps-broadband-former-qwest-markets-reaches-only-20-rural-c/2016-03-04).

In order to overcome this obstacle, CenturyLink is planning to greatly enhance its higher speed copper based services. Despite this, there seems to be an overall decline in the level of customer demand for broadband services, in general. This trend started in the 4th Quarter of 2015.

Another factor, which has led to this decline, is that CenturyLink has also tightened its credit policies as well. For example, as this new policy was being implemented back in the summer of 2015, subscribership declined as much as 22%.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172.

 

How GIS Can Help Improve Your Golf Swing

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Well, as we get into the month of March, you’ll notice the weather is getting warmer and the days are actually getting longer.  With this change in the environment comes more outdoor activities, family outings, picnics, etc.  

golfBut, there is one venue that will receive a lot of attendance:  the golf course.  Yes, everybody is trying to improve their game, as well as their chipping and putting capabilities.

Believe it or not, the concepts of GIS can be used to help you to improve your swing.  A well-known vendor—Bluesky—has created an innovative software package which makes use of both high resolution aerial photography and 3D terrain maps, in order for you to get a better feel for the golf course. 

These maps and images are then available for download by another vendor, known as Creative Golf Design. 

The information and data that is provided by Bluesky is also used to illustrate changes in the golf terrain, as well as the location of existing features, such as boundaries, vegetation, and woodland areas.

According to Ken Moodie, Managing Director of Creative Golf Design, “The Bluesky aerial photographs provide a map-accurate base for our proposals and a real world context for our drawings . . . this not only improves our understanding of the site, informing the design, but also helps us communicate our design ideas to our clients. Using CAD software to manipulate LiDAR data, we are also able to produce a detailed 3D model and contouring of a development site, or existing golf course, on which we can overlay our design proposals.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/blueskys-aerial-laser-maps-drive-creative-golf-course-design/464862).

It should be noted that, at this time, this service is only available in the United Kingdom.  However, there are plans to extend this offering to the United States market very soon.  Until then, happy golfing!!!

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

GIS Techniques Being Used to Help Guide First Responders

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With all of the content we have written about the GIS industry this past year, we have seen many applications and the promise they hold for the future. Today, we bring you an even more exciting application of GIS technology. This one has a very positive impact upon the emergency response market sector in the United States.

first respondersWhen someone faces an unfortunate medical crisis and calls 911 for help, the hope is that the ambulance will arrive in just a matter of minutes. But, truth be told, even ambulance drivers get snared in traffic, especially if they have to take a patient to a hospital in a large city during rush hour.

In some cases, being stuck in traffic can be a matter of life or death for the patient. To combat this situation, a leading GIS provider known as Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure, in partnership with TomTom, will provide map and traffic data in real time to first responders to help them find the quickest and most efficient route to get to the patient and, then, to the hospital.

The specific software that will be used in this strategic partnership is the Intergraph Computer Aided Dispatch, also known as “I/CAD” for short. In fact, this particular piece of software application is not just available here in the United States, it is also available in the countries of Australia, India, and South Korea.

This software provides the most detailed driving data which includes the following:

  • Signage
  • Intersections and related congestion
  • Hard to find addresses
  • Navigating through complex street networks
  • Finding the most optimal route in the worst imaginable traffic conditions and construction scenarios

According to Mike Creevey, a manager at Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure, “We look forward to leveraging our partnership with TomTom to benefit dispatchers and first responders and drive additional value within our public safety solutions, raising both the performance and productivity of public safety and security agencies throughout the Asia-Pacific region.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/hexagon-safety-infrastructure-partners-with-tomtom-to-optimize-emergen/466762).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

 

The United States Federal Government Making a Splash in GIS

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Many of our past blog postings have dealt with GIS vendors in the private sector. A common theme has been that most of these companies we have profiled come from the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even the Pacific Rim regions. Believe it or not, however, here in America, even the federal government plays a big role in the GIS sector.

gis dataThe federal government not only awards contracts to private sector companies, but they even award grants, scholarships, funding, and endowments to the GIS sector. In its latest move, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that its Geospatial Management Office (also known as the GMO) is making important infrastructure data readily accessible and in highly usable open data formats to the public safety community.

In addition to this, the GMO is making these data sets open for feedback from the local and state public safety agencies on the quality of the GIS data sets which are being made available now. For example, according to Eric Fisher, a leader at the Fairfax (VA) County Fire and Rescue, “Using these important data sets, any time, augments my local authoritative data with regional and other data that may not currently be available. And even better, I can access and download that data in real time, so that it truly is a useful part of our agency’s planning and preparedness efforts.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/department-of-homeland-security-makes-infrastructure-data-more-readily-avai/464422).

Although there is some fear and apprehension in making these datasets publicly available, the bottom line is that it is believed it will ensure safety at all levels. “Open access to authoritative infrastructure data sets is an enormous step forward that will enable public safety officials at the federal, state, and local levels to more effectively plan for and respond to natural and manmade disasters.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/department-of-homeland-security-makes-infrastructure-data-more-readily-avai/464422).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

 

Great Plains Communications Announces New Expansion Plans

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In previous blog postings, we’ve examined many telecom vendors. Probably the ones that stand out the most are Verizon, Comcast, Windstream Communications, L3 Communications, etc. Well, there is another that you’ve probably never heard of before. This one is known as Great Plains Communications.

Great Plains CommThis particular vendor has been around for a very long time. In fact, they’ve been around for 100 years, to be exact. They are currently headquartered in Blair, Nebraska. Their primary bread and butter is that of providing telecom based services. This includes such items as long distance telephone services, as well as Voice over Internet Protocol Services (VoIP), which is currently being offered to over 77 communities in Nebraska.

Great Plains Communications offers cable television services to over 41 Nebraska communities, as well. Broadband and high speed digital technology products are also offered, primarily to the small and medium sized business communities.

In fact, Great Plains Communications is the largest provider of telecom services in Nebraska, employing people who are, overwhelming, from that state. In order to further capitalize on this trend, it was recently announced that this business entity will be buying out Pinpoint Network Solutions, as well as their business units of the regional fiber company, Pinpoint Holdings.

With this acquisition, Great Plains Communications will be able to add an extra 1,200 miles of fiber optic cabling, thus giving it a much greater reach in the Omaha metro market. This will complement the existing 6,000 miles of fiber optic cabling it currently has, which reaches Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Also, Great Plains Communications will be acquiring a Network Operations Center, as well. This will give them the ability to provide 24/7/365 customer service and technical support. In addition to this buyout activity, Great Plains Communications is also establishing plans for diversifying their 100 gb route between Nebraska and Iowa.

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

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