AT&T has officially announced that the company's first 1 Gbps fiber to the home users (who'll initially see 300 Mbps until next year) have come online in Austin. The "GigaPower" service was announced one day after Google Fiber announced they were coming to Austin
, though AT&T to this day Google Fiber played no role in this announcement. AT&T had been mum on pricing for the new service, but a new announcement
indicates that users are going to have two options for just Internet service:
• Premier**: Internet speeds up to 300 Mbps – download an HD movie in less than two minutes² – for $70 per month, includes waiver of equipment, installation and activation fees.
• Standard: Internet speeds up to 300 mbps – download your favorite TV show in less than nine seconds² – for $99 per month.
The asterisks (**) on the Premiere offer indicates that you must agree to participate in AT&T Internet Preferences behavioral tracking and ad service if you want that price point. Internet Preferences "may use your Web browsing information, like the search terms you enter and the Web pages you visit, to provide you relevant offers and ads tailored to your interests," says AT&T. That's a thirty dollar markup from Google Fiber pricing simply for not wanting to have your online activity watched and monetized by AT&T
. While Google tracks search history, cookies and GPS location data, AT&T's Internet Preferences
appears to use deep packet inspection (a la Phorm or NebuAD) to monitor each and every packet, including how long you spend on specific websites.
AT&T's hope appears to be that users feel they're getting a 30% discount if they agree to be monitored, ignoring that Google already set the market price point for 1 Gbps fiber at $70. AT&T's 30% "discount" here is wholly hallucinated and they're really just charging you $30 to opt out of snoopvertising, something you imagine tech-savvy Austin will realize.
As for bundles, AT&T's GigaPower website
indicates you can tack on TV services for $120 a month, or voice services for $150 a month. All three options require a one-year contract and come with a $348 early termination fee, and include (again, unless you sign up for AT&T's AT&T Internet Preferences marketing program) unspecified installation and
"The web pages you visit, the time you spend on each, the links or ads you see and follow, and the search terms you enter.
AT&T's Internet Preferences FAQ, on what the company monitors unless you pay a $30 premium.
AT&T doesn't provide any hard deployment numbers, and the full deployment is only expected to touch a select few higher-end development communities. AT&T has long connected some higher-end developments with fiber to the home, but has historically capped them at U-Verse speeds anywhere from 6 to 24 Mbps
. Moving forward, these select communities will be the likely targets for additional "GigaPower" upgrades. Minimal cost, with maximum press impact.
Mirroring Google's "fiberhood" rallies you can "vote" for additional GigaPower Austin neighborhoods here
, though users familiar with AT&T's history on network upgrades should rightly wonder whether democratic user input will truly alter likely pre-determined and modest deployment plans. AT&T executives have made it repeatedly clear that any meaningful, large-scale fixed-line network investment simply isn't going to happen.
While most AT&T users shouldn't hold their breath waiting for 1 Gbps, AT&T has promised that some U-Verse users will see 75 Mbps and 100 Mbps speed tiers sometime next year. AT&T unveiled a faster 45 Mbps down, 6 Mbps up U-Verse offering earlier this year, but as we explored in detail
, many users, including those living in multi-dwelling units, don't qualify for the faster speeds.
It's worth noting that while AT&T draws the media's attention to their 1 Gbps limited-deployment-with-a-catch in Austin, the company is in the process of gutting regulations state by state
so that they can hang up on tens of millions of DSL users they have no interest in upgrading. Instead, AT&T intends to migrate most rural and third-tier town and city users to the company's heavily-capped and pricier LTE services, which the company insists is an adequate fixed-line alternative.