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The FCC Vs. Comcast: A Lesson For Telecoms in Customer Care

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Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Not even the world’s biggest companies are invincible.

In a settlement published by the Federal Communications Commission, the agency cited several customer allegations from a recent investigation conducted by the FCC of Comcast Corporation over a two-year time span.   Common service fees, taxes, late fees and other similar charges can be normal for billing practices; However, “cramming,” a practice by some companies involving small fees being added to customers’ bills, studied by industry analysts for its relation to customer service treatment, was credited as a contributor to Comcast’s overall situation.

Following the investigation, Comcast agreed to pay a $2.3 million fine, not a huge amount of money for a company as large as Comcast but the largest civil penalty ever assessed against a cable provider, according to the FCC.

HDT prides itself on providing its clients with a genuine experience when questions, concerns or other feedback arises. Customer care is a priority not to be compromised and it is with diligence that we work to distinguish ourselves from industry competitors.  In order to have clear, accurate customer records and an honest channel of communication between company and customer, HDT bills customers only for services explicitly agreed upon and signed for, that are reflected in quotes and/or estimates provided to customers, with no hidden fees or charges other than a Federal Universal Service Fund, Regulatory Fees, TRS and Hawaii General Excise Tax.  In addition to this, HDT keeps records of customer actions made, inquiries or updates so that the company is informed about the customer’s status and, if the customer inquires, records can be referenced. All of this is done to ensure customers are not blindsided but, if they have questions, can more easily be helped.

Feel free to reach out to HDT’s Client Relations & Support Center at any time, by phone at (808) 440-8700, or by email at customerservice@hawaiidt.com.

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5G Or Not 5G? That Is The Question.

Last month, the BBC reported a Finnish firm claimed to have broken the current mobile Internet speed record by achieving a 1.9 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) speed on a test network.  This compares to an independent feat of 1 terabit-per-second (Tbps) on a 5G network. Why is this important, you ask? Everyone wants Internet; however, we’re all obsessed with always wanting better, faster-than-what-we-have Internet. Companies constantly dive headfirst into research and development to win over consumers with their newest and best inventions.

Will 5G meet needs and expectations? For now, it’s still the early stages for the technology’s development so only time will tell.

The Internet’s Newest Underwater Highway

Last month, Facebook and Google announced their newest endeavor in the Pacific: building the longest and highest capacity undersea fiber-optic fiber cable between two continents, the Pacific Light Cable Network — PLCN for short. Upon completion, the cable will run from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and stretch over 8,000 miles.  The PLCN will have an estimated capacity of 120 terabits-per-second, twice the capacity of Google’s recently launched, Oregon-to-Japan “Faster” cable.

Construction will begin this year and the cable is expected to go online in 2018.

The Simple Life: How We Lived Without the Internet

Today, you can order food delivered to your home, while in the comfort of your pajamas, Netflix exists and you can communicate with friends and family all over the world with Skype. Without the Internet, what would modern life be like? This week, we reminisce on some of what used to be, when social media, Pokémon GO and e-mail were only figments of our imagination.

The library was more important.

The Internet transformed the research/literature experience. Before it existed, you may have had to check out a library book and not rent an e-book from Amazon for school course reading, research involved competing with another library visitor for use of the World Book encyclopedias and all of this made having a library card really necessary.

FOMO (fear of missing out) wasn’t a thing. If anything, there was less of it.

We didn’t have social media to always tell us what friends and family were doing 24/7. Being content with what you were doing and the plans you had was enough to be content.

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The check

Before online payments and direct deposit were possible, checks and physical visits to the bank were needed a lot more. You actually had to interact with people a lot more and physically manage the movement of your money with tellers or by phone. Basically, it actually forced us to be more sociable.

You could totally “disconnect.”

Constantly having a digital device on you can be exhausting. Being able to enjoy trips or mini adventures with friends, without having apps, emails and phone calls, was more relaxing and allowed you to live more “in the moment.”

Arguably, life may have been better without the Internet; however, it has also connected the world to each other. Communication and information is more accessible and learning more attainable. The future seems a whole lot brighter and HDT is glad to be a part of it.

Related stories: Daily Dot, Tech Insider

Facebook: The New Frontier for Hackers

Social media has rapidly evolved in the last decade. Unfortunately, so have hackers. Here are some tips for staying safe on Facebook, which hackers have started manipulating to steal users’ private information.

Recommendations:

  • Be cautious of quizzes requiring you sign in or provide personal information
  • Treat email addresses like cash
  • Don’t always trust links from friends
  • Hover over hyperlinks, before clicking on them, to make sure you recognize the URLs
  • Only participate in quizzes from reputable companies that protect data

Source: Florida Center for Cybersecurity

Stay safe friends!

Related stories: NBC News, 97.5 WCOS

The Serious Case of the Flammable Note 7

Recently, you may have heard once, twice or nearly every day on the nightly news of new cases of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phones randomly catching fire or exploding around the country.  Tests have been made and recalls issued but, as of yet, there still is not a direct known cause as to why the phones are overheating to such extreme temperatures.  In a surprise move that may save Samsung in the long run, the company has stopped all sales and shipments of the phone and the product has been pulled from circulation entirely.

In the statement Samsung issued last week, the company said “Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device.” That surely put a wrench in things for device users for whom smartphones have become an integral part of everyday life for work and personal use. The dependability of phone technology is, arguably, one of the highest priorities for consumers so, if you’ve been affected by this, we feel for you.

If you recently purchased a Note 7? Here’s some replacement phones to consider.

How To Tell One Router From The Next

How familiar are you with your router? Right here and now, would you know if it’s single- or dual-band? What your wireless protocol is? The router’s throughput?

These questions may seem overwhelming if technology is not your specialty; However, these are all considerations to be aware of when you own a router or are in the process of buying a new one.

Here are some simple factors to consider:

  1. House/room design layout – Walls and space do make a difference. If the router is installed in one room, will it be able to effectively service the rest of your living space? If not, a wi-fi extender could give it the boost it needs.
  2. Security – A busy neighborhood means more Internet/wi-fi traffic; consider a WPA2 encryption to secure your network if you’re living in an urban area.
  3. Quality of Service (QoS) – Optimizing your router’s performance can allow you to prioritize which tasks should receive more bandwidth than others (file uploading/downloading, video streaming, etc.)
  4. Ports (LAN, USB, etc.) – Ports can be important depending on how versatile you want your router to be. Being able to directly plug in other devices may be a plus.
  5. Price – Do you have a set price range you’re looking to stay in? A minimum or maximum price?

To learn more, you can also check out these articles by Consumer Report and the New York Times.

(Hacking) Battle Bots, Assemble!

Gone are the days where hacking was just for humans. A recent cyber contest, pit bots against bots, all designed by security researchers from across industry and academia.

Ultimately, fully independently operating bots are not quite here yet but they’re closer than ever.

Being hacked is a possibility for any business, including HDT, so, to combat any possible fraudulent activity specifically on our voice network, HDT works with multiple carriers and agencies to have alerts and thresholds in place for network and fraud protection. Some of the measures taken by HDT include blacklisting countries known for fraud and setting daily international call limits to certain countries. All of this we put in place to better protect our products and services and, ultimately, our customers.

Staying at least one step ahead is always the name of the game.

Until next time…

From Passwords to Fingerprints and Facial Scans: The Future of Bank Account Security

Did you know 70% of organizations report they have been compromised by successful cyber attacks in the last 12 months?

Cyber security applies to the everyday protection of data, files and other digital information business professionals and individuals have for safekeeping as thieves and hackers become more aggressive with the types of personal identification information being stolen and the means by which they steal them. Additional forms of account security are important to consider and/or implement like security codes (provided by text, phone or email) and more.

This summer, the New York Times’ “DealB%k” section gave us a look into the current times of personal banking and what lies ahead for banking professionals and institutions.  Realizing that passwords are either too cumbersome or no longer secure, banks across the nation have started increasingly using fingerprints, facial scans and other types of biometrics to safeguard accounts.

An extra layer(s) of security might add a minute or two more to your daily routine but it could save you in the long run.

Until next time…

Once Upon A Payphone

Think about it. When was the last time you physically saw a phone booth, let alone used it?

At one point, it is said payphones numbered over 2 million in the United States in the mid-1990s. Since the turn of the new millennium, with the rise of smartphones and Wi-Fi, payphones have mostly disappeared and become artifacts we can tell stories of to our grandchildren.

What happens to those that still remain? In March, New York City started replacing current payphone kiosks with Wi-Fi hotspots, a daring effort known as LinkNYC, which could be replicated by other U.S. cities. The push for public Wi-Fi has been going on for a while but efforts have not always been met with success. So, is this still a step in the right direction? Early work has already been met with neighborhood criticism due to increased encampments in kiosk areas by the city’s homeless and others exhibiting criminal behaviors

Although HDT would support this type of effort all day, it’s hard to say if a plan like this could find traction in Hawai’i, seeing as homelessness is already a major concern for the city and county of Honolulu. Unfortunately, as Hawai’i slowly becomes an urbanized paradise, it is more apparent that it could be many years before we see an infrastructure transformation like this bring Hawai’i further into the 21st century.

Only time will tell.

Until next time…