Phone, Internet, TV, Wireless…Comparing Bundled Services

This article will allow consumers to educate themselves on the best deals possible for bundled services. In the ever changing and ultra competitive world of telecom many consumers can be confused with the many different bundled plans and services most phone companies now offer. With the implementation of bundled services consumers can now have most all telecom products (phone, tv, internet, wireless) and services provided by the same company at a lower rate than having multiple service providers. This article will categorically break down plans provided by most major telecom service providers available in th US. Each provider will be rated based on blanket availability, services offered, and cost effectiveness. These are comprehensive reviews based on research and not personal experience. Phone Companies Beware this article is designed to educate consumers and provide the best possible options for telecom services.

First up AT&T The monopolizing entity of the Big 3 phone companies few can compete with the blanket availability of AT&T’s products and services worldwide. Being one of only three telecom companies that also offer wireless phone service as a part of its residential bundle which also includes its unlimited calling plan phone service, satellite TV Through Dish Network and of course the world famous ATT Yahoo DSL. Few companies can compete, but there are cheaper bundled service plans out there especially for the consumer that is not interested in cellular phone service. Here is an example of the services offered and billing for the AT&T Residential bundled services plan.

Phone Service- Order AT&T All Distance Online Select(SM) online and get unlimited local and domestic direct-dialed long distance plus great calling features.

TV Service- AT&T | DISH Network entertainment package with over 60 of America’s favorite channels. Includes local channels Plus Free DVR.

High Speed Internet- Yahoo DSL ATT,Plus, order Express online and receive 1 month FREE! (New residential DSL customers only. Bill credit applied after three months paid service. See offer details.)

Wireless Cell Phone- Cingular Nation 450 anytime minutes Cingular Wireless® plan with Rollover® Minutes, unlimited Mobile to Mobile minutes, and more. Plus get a $5/mo. discount

with qualifying AT&T services.

Bundled Plan Total Cost $130.94/mo or less!

Well Old Ma Bell Does Have A Cost Effective Money Saving Bundle With The Most Availability!

4.5/5 Stars

Next we have Qwest Communications One of the Big 3 Telecom service providers its coverage area is limited to the Western half of the states mainly the Pacific Northwest but as far as price and overall services this company by far has the best bundled package including wireless cell phone service on the market. One Negative though No free DVR here but more channels with Direct TV as opposed to ATT Dish Network, Here are the details.

Phone Service- Digital Voice: Unlimited local and long-distance calls from your home phone to anywhere in the U.S. and now Canada, anytime. PLUS, choose up to three of your favorite calling features.

TV Service- The DIRECTV® package offers 185+ channels in 100% digital quality.

High Speed Internet- Qwest Choice DSL Deluxe with MSN. Unlimited Internet access that’s up to 25 times faster than 56Kbps dial-up.

Wireless Cell Phone- 500-minute plan, free UT Starcom 7025 phone (after $10 credit on 2nd or 3rd bill, with a two-year agreement), free headset and charger, free shipping, free activation and free Unlimited Nights and Weekends Starting at 9 p.m. WHOO HOOO a FREE PHONE!

Bundled Plan Total Cost 125.96/mo

Unbeatable 5/5 stars if its available in your are choose Qwest!

Well here it is last of the Big 3 Phone companies Verizon. I’m wondering which of these companies will be around for the next 20 years with AT&T having a strangle hold on our national market. Verizon Phone company does provide some pretty stiff competition for Old Ma Bell though, Here are the details.

Phone- Verizon’s Freedom Essentials provides unlimited calls to the US and Canada as well as the main basic calling features with voicemail being FREE 1 up on AT&T.

TV Service- Same Plan as Qwest with Direct TV more channels for the money as opposed to AT&T.

High Speed Internet- DSL the cable companies sure have 1 up on DSL consumers with faster speed available but in a bundle Verizon has a pretty good plan, Connection speeds up to 3.0 Mbps, More than 80 times faster than dial-up, Three installation steps

here is the one negative with their DSL service in the bundle One-year commitment required.

Wireless- Well We’ve all heard of the network on TV and the such and Verizon Phone Company does offer wireless services as part of its bundle with 450 anytime minutes and a standard wireless plan.

Bundled Plan Total Cost 134.99-144.99/mo depending on your area.

I would have to rate them #2 amongst the Big 3 as far as services and pricing but they do have the edge on Qwest based up blanket availability.

4.5/5.0 stars

Now we go on to the cable companies that have also submitted their bids for your telephone service as well first up we have Comcast Cable Company. Well if you are truly dedicated to cable TV and internet if available in your area Comcast Cable Company is the way to go all necessary equipment is Free after mail in rebates and services are exceptional based on consumer reviews online. Here are the details.

Phone- Unlimited local and long distance in the US (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada from one provider. One bill for local and long distance. Keep your current phone number (subject to some restrictions).

TV Service- Over a hundred channels, plus local channels. Digital quality picture and sound. Parental Controls and an Interactive Program Guide Movies and shows you can start on your schedule with Comcast OnDemand – many included at no cost.

High Speed Internet- Comcast Highspeed Cable Internet, Speeds up to 3Mbps and a reliable connection. Anti-virus and firewall software, spam filtering and parental controls included. Always connected, no dial-up required. Up to 10 email boxes and extra storage FREE MODEM NO LEASING FEE AFTER REBATE!

With no wireless service available as part of the bundle I still have to give the Cable edge to Comcast with So many cash back offers on signup!

Bundled Plan Total Cost 99.00/mo

Next Up Charter Communications, the reviews are in some good some bad and well some just plain indifferent. Charter Communication Cable…Cable TV’s answer to the Big 3 phone companies (AT&T, Qwest, Verizon) and satellite tv’s quest to crush cable have assembled their own bundled telecom services package as well. Though wireless cell phone services are not offered as part of the Charter Bundle. Charter does have a few advantages that may just sway a chunk of loyal wireless consumers back to the wired world. Here are the details.

Phone- Unlimited local and long distance in the US (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada from one provider. One bill for local and long distance. Keep your current phone number (subject to some restrictions).

TV Service- Over a hundred channels, plus local channels. Digital quality picture and sound. Parental Controls and an Interactive Program Guide Movies and shows you can start on your schedule with Charter OnDemand – many included at no cost.

High Speed Internet- Charter Highspeed Cable Internet, Speeds up to 3Mbps and a reliable connection. Anti-virus and firewall software, spam filtering and parental controls included. Always connected, no dial-up required. Up to 10 email boxes and extra storage

Wireless Cell Phone- NA

Bundled Plan Total Cost 99.97/mo

On Demand is Pretty Nice and no matter what DSL users say cable is faster than DSL but with no wireless service it means I still have to look at another bill month to month. Limited availability Though. 4.0/5 stars

Last but not least Time Warner Cable Company Well While Competing in huge markets such as New York, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio Time Warner has a bundled services package that seems to be the best for the loyal cable consumer. Still no wireless phone service but with high speed cable internet service through Road Runner and On Demand programming as well as a free DVR included in its digital Cable package it seems to be the service to outlast Charter and Comcast in the Cable Providers rank and file in our new telecom bundled services world.

Phone- It’s time for a better residential telephone service. It’s time for unlimited calling to anywhere in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, plus popular calling features for one low “monthly” price.

TV Service- Time Warner Cable Over 250 Channels

With features like Digital Video Recorder (DVR), you can now record anything you like and watch it later, with all the control of a VCR or a DVD. You can even pause live TV. Plus On Demand

High Speed Internet- high speed cable via Road Runner. Hey Its Cable internet always on and faster than DSL.

Wireless Cell Phone- NA

Bundled Plan Total Cost 99.97/mo

Hey I had AT&T but DSL was too unreliable I now have Charter but wish I could have Time Warner

4.0/5 stars

In closing with the market as competitive as it has become for your telecom dollars finding the best bundled services package for your home or business is just a matter of educating yourself.

Where Can I Find Forensic Clues About Internet Domain Name Registrants?

The following explains some of the terms used in Internet forensics, and suggests where relevant clues about a domain name may be hiding:

“IP Address”

Each and every computer on the Internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number or street address – which is a rather long and complicated string of numbers. It is called its “IP address” (IP stands for “Internet Protocol”). IP Addresses are hard to remember, so the Domain Name System makes using the Internet far easier for humans by allowing words in the form of a “domain name” to be used instead of the arcane, numerical IP address. So instead of typing 64.233.161.104, you can just type that IP address’ domain name, and you would then be directed to the website that you are seeking connected to that domain name.

It is possible to “geolocate” an IP address by using a variety of free services available on the Internet. Geolocation is the practice of determining the physical, real world location of a person or computer using digital information processed and collected on the Internet.

Geolocation can offer the city, ZIP code or region from which a person is or has connected to the World Wide Web by using their device’s IP Address, or that of a nearby wireless access points, such as those offered by coffeeshops or internet cafes.

Determining the country of an Internet user based on his or her IP address is relatively simple and accurate (95%-99% percent) because a country is required information when an IP range is allocated and IP registrars supply that information.

Determining the specific physical location of an IP Address down to a city or ZIP code, however, is a little more difficult and slightly less accurate because there is no official source for the information. Further, users sometimes share IP addresses and Internet service providers often base IP addresses.

Even when not accurate, though, geolocation can place users in a bordering or nearby city, which may be good enough for the investigation.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has the ultimate responsibility for Internet Protocol address space allocation, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting healthy and lawful competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policies to foster these goals.

“Registrant”

Registrants are individuals or entities who register unique domain names through Internet Registrars. The Registrant is required to enter a registration contract with his Registrar, which sets forth the terms under which the registration is accepted and will be maintained. The Registrant’s data is ultimately recorded in a number of locations: with the Registry, the Registrar, and, if applicable, with his webhosting provider.

“Registrar”

Domain names are registered by individual Registrants through many different companies known as Internet “Registrars.” GoDaddy, for example, is a major ICANN-accredited Registrar. There are currently approximately 430 accredited Internet Registrars. A complete listing of accredited Registrars is in the ICANN Accredited Registrar Directory. A Registrar asks individuals, or “Registrants”, various contact and technical information that makes up the official registration record. The Registrar maintains detailed records of the Registrant’s contact information and submits the information to a central directory known as the “Registry.” The Registry provides other computers on the Internet the information necessary to send the Registrant e-mail or to find the Registrant’s Website on the Internet.

“Registry”

The Registry is the authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each Top Level Domain. The Registry operator keeps the master database and also generates the “Zone File” which allows computers to route Internet traffic to and from Top Level Domains (TLD’s) anywhere in the world. Internet users don’t interact directly with the Registry; users can register names in TLDs by using an ICANN-Accredited Registrar (see above). Two of the largest Registries are Verisign (with authority over.com and.net TLDs, among others), and the Public Interest Registry (“PIR”)(with authority over.org TLD’s).

Top Level Domain (TLD)

Top Level Domains (TLDs) are the names at the top of the DNS naming hierarchy. They appear in domain names as the string of letters following the last (rightmost) “.”, such as “net” in “http://www.example.net”. The administrator for a TLD controls what second-level names are recognized in that TLD. The administrators of the “root domain” or “Root Zone” control what TLDs are recognized by the DNS. Generally speaking, two types of TLDs exist: generic TLDs (such as.com,.net,.edu) and country code TLDs (such as.jp,.de, and.cn).

“Whois”Data

All domain name Registries operate a “Whois” server for the purpose of providing information about all the Internet domain names registered with them. In a Shared Registry System, where most information about a domain name is held by separate individual Registrars, the Registry’s Whois server provides a referral to the Registrars own Whois server, which provides more complete information about the domain name. The Whois service contains Registrant, administrative, billing and technical contact information provided by Registrars for domain name registrations.

By collecting and analyzing the Whois data, the Registry data, the Registrar data, and other bits and pieces of data about any websites associated with the domain name(s) you are interested in, a forensic investigator can often reconstruct a Registrant’s identity, location and other contact information (e-mail, etc.).

Internet Television: Does DISH Network Have the Upper Hand?

Will internet television take consumers by storm? It may not be this year or next year but the transition is coming. I believe DISH Network may already have their foot in the door.

When I was younger, the internet was merely a place for the government and private business networks to communicate with each other. No access was given to the commercial public and the fact was, it was slow. During the 1990’s, dramatic improvements in communications led to the standardization of the internet as we know it today. The internet is now open to the public, it’s faster, more reliable and durable than it’s ever been. In recent years, many television providers started upgrading their systems to fiber-optic networks. This should provide additional support for a more reliable faster internet and in some instances video and phone services as well. Overall, the internet industry is being overhauled. I believe the future of television will be standardized and in one way or another all data will be transmitted over the internet to some degree.

Like the internet, the television industry has evolved over the past few decades. From traditional television programming known as over-the-air that’s distributed right to your television free of charge. To the 1980’s when an alternative was introduced known as the cable company, under this service you paid for cable channels offered by your local cable provider. These companies laid a network around your neighborhood or commercial property. Several years down the road, Satellite Television provider DISH Network and DIRECTV paved the way to offer everyone the ability to have cable channels, this self-reliant satellite system receives signal anywhere in the United States as long as there’s a clear view of the southern sky. Over the past decade satellite television has dominated the competition in terms of overall growth, reliability and customer satisfaction in the paid television service industry.

I see these industries evolving everyday, so what does this mean for the television and internet industry? With the internet and television (video) consumption widening, we can only speculate that the television industry will combine or conform to the internet and form a new video platform for pay TV providers. So, who’s leading the charge towards internet television? I believe, DISH Network will play the largest role with the transition of internet television. It’s been reported that DISH has approached several media companies about paid TV service being delivered over the internet. Opportunities like this may open the door for a more a la carte selection, choosing only the channels you want and leaving behind channels you don’t want. With DISH Network recently buying some wireless spectrum, we expect the company to roll out some type of internet service of its own, that should help support its video streaming business. DISH Network already offers a variety of Internet Television with international programming. DISH Network customers currently have the ability to send their television service out over the internet directly from their High Definition Digital Video Recorder.