AT&T expands speedy GigaPower fiber network in 38 new markets

NEW YORK—Would you like to download 25 songs in less than a second, a TV show in three seconds or fewer and a high-definition movie in under 36 seconds?AT&T claims such blazing speeds for its GigaPower service. And on Monday, the company announced that it is expanding the availability of this broadband 1-gigabit per second all-fiber Internet service into 38 new metropolitan-area markets, including the parts of Los Angeles and West Palm Beach, Fla., that are launching today.The remainder of the new markets will launch in 2016, and come on top of the 18 GigaPower markets that have already gone live, AT&T says. According to the company, GigaPower is now available in 20 of the nation’s largest metro areas, with service reaching more than one million locations around the country.AT&T launched GigaPower in Austin, Texas about two years ago. The rival Google Fiber service started up in the Kansas City area in 2012. GOOGLE FIBER RIVALRY“Google captured the early attention,” says analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research. “But to this point AT&T is doing it much faster.”  Dawson says Google doesn’t have the infrastructure, history or “incumbent” status that AT&T has in many markets.Google Fiber currently operates in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, Utah, with markets such as San Antonio, Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Raleigh-Durham on Google's roadmap. Comcast also has ambitions in the super-speedy Internet race.AT&T hasn’t spelled out how GigaPower will be priced in its own new markets just yet, which includes Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis, Oklahoma City, St. Louis and Wichita. Brad Bentley, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for AT&T Entertainment Group, says that rates will differ by market. “We need to be competitive and drive share,” he says. The service will be available to AT&T U-verse subscribers and Continue Reading

Narrow networks: 2 women travel different paths

Two women in Middle Tennessee started 2015 enrolled in narrow network insurance plans, and their experiences underscore both the advantages and problems associated with increasingly common narrow networks.A narrow network is a health insurance plan that offers access to, typically, one hospital system and associated physicians in a region. The plans are among the least-expensive options on the federally run insurance exchange and are increasingly an option offered by employers.Kathleen Lent, 54, and Shonda Finney, 42, had different experiences with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's network E, and only one remains enrolled.Lent enrolled in the plan while living in Williamson County, without checking whether her existing providers were covered. They weren’t.Williamson County is widely considered a part of the greater Nashville area, but for Lent the distance was too far.She dropped her insurance plan, instead opting to take the self-pay route for the rest of the year."For me (a monthly premium of) $360 is a lot of money. Most were in Nashville. I didn't want to travel," said Lent, who now lives in Clarksville.The primary advantage of a narrow network for an employer or an insurer is cost control, said Austin Madison, vice president at The Crichton Group.There is likely to be more narrow networks on the exchange as insurers grapple with how to handle costs of medical claims. Insurers can't control who buys plans, but a narrow network allows them a way to understand fixed costs, which is what they pay to providers."I think that's what these carriers are going to move toward," Madison said. "What I hear from the carriers is there is not a lot of things for them to control. One of the things they can control is networks."The cost controlling aspect of a narrow network is appealing to employers, too.Employers that offer several plans will often offer a narrow network for employees who want a lower premium. Networks narrow, prevalence Continue Reading

Indianapolis cellular networks rank best in U.S.

Indianapolis scored top overall honors on Root Metrics newly released rankings of mobile network performance in U.S. cities.Among the 125 most populated cities in the U.S., Indianapolis ranked highest in overall cellular network performance. This is a move up from Indy's second place finish last year. The 32nd most populous Indy metro area also finished third in speed and data performance. Cities were ranked in six categories - overall performance, network reliability, network speed, data performance, cell performance and text performance. Things could get even faster soon: Indianapolis is a test market for AT&T's new 5G network iPhone updates: What's new after Apple's latest iOS update Root Metrics' rankings are based on an average of all networks in a given metropolitan area. The report does state that Verizon did have "especially stellar median download speeds" in Indianapolis.Indianapolis finished ahead of tech mecca San Francisco (No. 86), Los Angeles (No. 49) and New York City (No. 66).Here's where nearby cities finished in overall ranking:Cleveland - No. 3Columbus, Ohio - No. 4Chicago - No. 8Nashville - No. 17Louisville - No. 29Cincinnati - No. 33 Free up space: A simple trick in the iTunes Store can free up tons of space. Follow IndyStar Social Media Platforms Editor @JoeTamborello on Twitter and Instagram. Continue Reading

Study: Louisville area 17th deadliest for pedestrians

The Louisville area is the 17th-deadliest metropolitan area for pedestrians, according to a new study from the National Complete Streets Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based organization that examined fatal wreck data in the country's 51 largest metro areas.The coalition, which includes public interest groups like AARP, the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of City Transportation Officials, contends that American roads are "dangerous by design," with little or no engineering done to make it safe for people on foot, cyclists or those using public transportation."It's not so much that transportation planning was done to harm pedestrians, but it was done to move traffic as quickly as possible. That, in and of itself, is dangerous to pedestrians," said Charles Cash, a consultant who retired in 2010 as Louisville's director of planning and design.The study looked at the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area from 2003-2012, which includes about 1.24 million residents in Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt, Henry, Meade, Nelson, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd, Harrison and Washington counties in Indiana. WHAT DO YOU THINK?: Join the Facebook discussionPedestrians account for 14 percent of all traffic deaths in 2012, a 6 percent jump from 2011. Preliminary 2013 data shows the trend may shift downward compared to the first six months of 2012.Older adults, children and minorities are the most at risk while walking, dying in disproportionate numbers."There is no good reason why crossing a street in Louisville should turn into a near-death experience," said Jim Kimbrough, president of AARP Kentucky.Cash said studies over the past decade suggest the most valuable amenity cities could add were recreational paths. Mayor Greg Fischer's administration has continued to build the 100-mile Louisville Loop, connecting multiuse paths around the county with the city's core.Cash has recently been involved with planning to improve Continue Reading

MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’, featuring Snooki and ‘The Situation’, second most-watched show in metro area

Snooki may not hold her liquor well, but she's doing okay with hanging onto New York-area audiences.MTV's "Jersey Shore" was the second-most-watched show of any kind, on any network, in the metropolitan area last week, according to Nielsen Co. figures out yesterday.Last week's edition of the controversial reality show drew an average 776,000 viewers in the area, according to Nielsen. That's just behind the 779,000 viewers who tuned in for ESPN's telecast of the Red Sox-Yankees game Sunday night."Jersey Shore" revolves around a group of people living, working, boozing and fighting together. The second season, now airing Thursdays at 10 p.m., was shot in Miami. Last week's episode revolved heavily around a developing showdown involving cast members Jenni (JWOWW) Farley, Nicole (Snooki) Polizzi and Angelina Pivarnick.Also in the cast are Mike (The Situation) Sorrentino, Paul (DJ Pauly D) DelVecchio, Ronnie Magro, Sammi Giancola and Vinny Guadagnino.The third season is now filming in Seaside Heights, N.J., where Polizzi has been hauled down to police headquarters for being snockered on the beach.Nationally, "Jersey Shore" last week averaged 5.02 million viewers, making it the seventh-ranked show on cable last week. That's off a bit from the 5.3 million who watched the first episode of the new season."Jersey Shore's" local audience figures show that just under 16% of the total draw for the show comes from the New York marketplace, which includes parts of Connecticut and New Jersey.By comparison, the Yankees-Red Sox game only drew 3.48 million viewers nationally, meaning that more than 22% of the audience was local. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Italians, blame the ‘guidos’ on MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ – not the network

A small beach town on the Jersey Shore is embarrassed. It really wants the world to know that it's not proud, not at all, of the MTV show named for it. So on Monday, the Borough of Seaside Heights felt compelled to announce that it "did not solicit, promote or participate in the filming" of the trash-tastic reality show. It's the latest bit of silly handwringing in the name of Italian-American pride. But we Italians shouldn't be mad at MTV over "Jersey Shore." We should be grateful for the network for performing a public service. Let me explain. If you haven't seen the show, permit me a quick summary. A handful of cheesy twentysomethings eat pizza. They work out. They tan. They also get into bar fights, have sex with total strangers (or spend a lot of time trying), bob around naked in the Jacuzzi, throw up on the furniture, reveal their very private piercings and help one another hook up, often while drunk. And they do one other thing, which has gotten them in more hot water than anything in the Jacuzzi: They wear the derogatory terms "guidos" and "guidettes" like bada-bing badges of honor. Apparently for "Snooki," "Pauly D" and the rest of the cast, the long-offensive ethnic stereotype is something to embrace, not rise above. It's this part - the idea that these stupid fools are behaving collectively "as Italians" - that has ruffled all the feathers. The country's three largest Italian-American organizations have demanded the show be canceled. American Family Insurance and Domino's Pizza have pulled their commercials, as has Dell, claiming the show is "ethnic bashing." New Jersey state Sen. Joseph Vitale has even suggested that MTV is counteracting efforts to reduce bias-related crime. In the words of my Italian grandmother, "I give up." Somebody needs to explain to me how it's MTV's fault that the subjects of its reality show behave like stereotypical idiots. In fact, "Jersey Shore" is proof that some stereotypes, while not representative, are in Continue Reading

Editorial: Rural areas need suicide lifeline

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study in March that showed suicides on the rise between 1999-2015, with 600,000 Americans taking their lives.The highest annual rate was in 2015, the last year for which data was available. The authors found suicides increased across all levels of urbanization but noted a widening gap between urban and rural areas. In other words, they saw a trend where people were more likely to commit suicide in rural areas than in urban.Preliminary numbers and the trend are similar for Tennessee. Some 1,065 Tennesseans committed suicide in 2015, up from 945 recorded in 2014, according to Scott Ridgway, executive director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network."Preliminary data shows that rural areas, some in Middle Tennessee, with rates based on per 100,000, our top ten counties are rural counties," Ridgway said.The federal researchers found that suicides increased during the study period from 11 per 100,000 population in 1999 to about 11.5 in 2015 or about 5 percent in large central metropolitan areas. In rural areas, the numbers increased from 15 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 22 per 100,000 in 2015 or about 32 percent.Researchers attribute the increase and the trend in rise of rural suicides to a number of issues.Those include limited access to mental health care, social isolation, the opioid overdose epidemic — because opioid misuse is associated with increased risk for suicide — and the economic recession.People in rural areas often have no access to mental health facilities or services. Ridgway said that not that long ago Tennessee had community health centers in every county. Now, you may have to drive two or three counties away from your home to get help because mental health professionals tend to establish practices near urban centers."Our state did not take the affordable care dollars, and we lost $5 million a year that could have gone to a safety net or hospital for Continue Reading


The progressive network Air America tonight scoops up the slings and arrows it aims at President Bush and moves them to its new home a few blocks downtown. Starting tomorrow, Air America will be heard on WWRL (1600 AM), ending a 29-month run at WLIB (1190 AM). WLIB was the network's original flagship station when it launched on March 31, 2004, but the two parties could not work out a new agreement to continue. Not all Air America programming will be picked up on WLIB, which will retain its own morning show, from 5-9, with Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams. Air America picks up with Jerry Springer, 9 a. m.-noon; Al Franken, noon-3 p. m.; Randi Rhodes, 3-7 p. m.; Sam Seder, 7-10 p. m., and Mike Malloy, 10 p. m.-midnight. Air America also has several weekend shows that may be carried on WWRL. The move to WWRL will reduce Air America's coverage in some parts of the metropolitan area, since WWRL's signal isn't quite as strong as WLIB's and there are areas where it is hard to pick up. Questions continue to circulate about the financial health of the network, which has experienced cash crises and relatively high turnover of executives. The company has consistently said it is here to stay. Part or all of its programming is heard on about 90 stations and is available on satellite and the Internet. Its ratings in most cities are modest, partly due to the fact it is often heard on smaller AM stations, rather than the giants that carry the Rush Limbaugh-level commentators. While Air America has been criticized for one-note Bush-bashing, its hosts dispute that characterization and point to the conservative radio focus on President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Supporters say that whatever its ultimate fate, the network has given liberals a voice on the previously barren radio airwaves and has helped galvanize progressive groups on the Internet and elsewhere. WLIB, meanwhile, will become a full-time black gospel station as of Continue Reading

Guide to Area Schools

St. Joseph’s College has been dedicated to providing a diverse population of students with an affordable education rooted in the liberal arts tradition. Independent and coeducational, the college provides a strong academic and value-oriented education. It aims to prepare each student for a life characterized by integrity, intellectual and spiritual values, social repsonsibility and service. For the fourth consecutive year, the 2006 ranking of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report named St. Joseph’s in the top tier of the Northern Comprehensive Colleges.With campuses located in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn and in Patchogue, L.I., the college offers degrees in over 22 majors, special course offerings and certificates and affiliated and pre-professional programs. Graduate degrees include an executive MBA, MBA in accounting, and master’s degrees in management, nursing, literacy/cognition and infant/toddler early childhood special education.St. Joseph’s progressive academic approach is combined with outstanding inter-active teaching and hands-on experiences. Professors and instructors encourage students to develop their own views and approaches as they apply them to real-life situations.St. Joseph’s newest programs — a BS in criminal justice, a BS in organizational management through the Online Degree Program (OMOP); an MS with a major in nursing; and the MA in literacy/cognition — allow graduates to step right into these growing fields.Dorm space is available for Brooklyn students. For more information, call (718) 636-6868 (Brooklyn); (631) 447-3219 (Patchogue); or log on to and flexibility are two of the most important characteristics of an Empire State College education. The school caters to working adults who choose to pursue academic goals. With work, family and other obligations, Empire students appreciate what the college offers. They study with faculty mentors who Continue Reading


SPORTSNET New York will light up metropolitan area TV screens for the first time on Thursday, March 16, featuring a Mets-Braves spring training game. SNY brass yesterday officially announced the network's launch date along with a schedule of 11 Mets Grapefruit League tilts. The schedule includes games with Anna Benson's Baltimore Orioles, the Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins. The network also will debut its "SportsNite" and "SportRise" sports reports. SNY has distribution deals with Time Warner and Comcast. The network is still negotiating carriage agreements with Cablevision and satellite providers like DirecTV and Dish Network. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading