With yesterday’s announcement from AT&T that they were launching their Gigabit internet services in Kansas City, it may have gotten some people asking why they might choose AT&T’s Gigapower service over Google Fiber, since they both essentially offer fiber optic internet with Gigabit speeds for insanely fast downloads and browsing. The choice may become harder for consumers in the area after learning that AT&T is offering their U-Verse with Gigapower service for the exact same cost as Google Fiber which is $70 a month. The catch here is that if you want to pay the $70 price, you also have to opt in to the feature of the service that lets AT&T track your browsing history.
AT&T’s service doesn’t just track you browsing history though, it also tracks how long you spent on the sites you browse, your location, what ads and links you click on, all in the name of feeding you targeted ads. Some people don’t have a problem with ads and will either find a way around them with an ad-blocker, or will just let them come through. For those who are a little more privacy conscious though, you can opt-out of AT&T’s ‘Internet Preferences’ function however, at that point the price of U-Verse with AT&T Gigapower will end up costing you $99 a month instead of the advertised basic $70 which AT&T is using to compete with Google Fiber.
While this may not sound too appealing to some consumers you have to remember that Google essentially does the same thing just in a different way. They feed you targeted ads too but they retrieve their data from third parties and keep their nose out of your browsing history and habits. In addition to the Internet Preferences, AT&T is also requiring customers sign up for their U-Verse with Gigapower for a three-year term, similar to the way you would do with a smartphone contract albeit with an extra year. While something like an ad-blocker can help you to keep from seeing the ads that AT&T sends your way, it doesn’t stop AT&T from having access to information you might not want in their hands if you sign up for the $70 price point. In the end which service(if you live in a supported location)is best for you depends on your stance of internet privacy in this regard. If you still prefer AT&T but want a little more anonymity you can pay a little more and stick with their service.