If you’re a “glass is half full” type of person, you could see it as a good thing that AT&T charges less for its fiber Internet service if Google Fiber is also available in your town. This indicates not only that Google offers cheap service, it lowers the prices of AT&T’s service as well.
On the other hand, it’s easy to wonder why AT&T doesn’t offer one price everywhere.
AT&T launched its “U-verse with AT&T GigaPower” service in Cupertino yesterday, offering “Internet speeds up to 1Gbps starting as low as $110 a month, or speeds at 300Mbps as low as $80 a month.” In Kansas City and Austin, cities that also offer Google Fiber service, AT&T only charges $70 for the same service, noted Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin.
This disparity isn’t limited to just a few cities, either. In Dallas, AT&T charges $110 for its gigabit Internet. Within North Carolina, the same service launched at $120 per month – until Google Fiber was announced for the area. After the announcement, AT&T dropped its price to $70.
This alone might be enough to turn potential customers away from AT&T, but that isn’t the end of it. Regardless of what price they are paying, customers also need to sign up for “AT&T Internet Preferences.” This mandatory service monitors users’ browsing habits in order to display highly targeted ads.
“You won’t necessarily receive more ads when you are online, but those you do see may be more suited to your interests,” the AT&T support page for the service reads. Customers can call to opt out of the service, but the page reads “you can change at any time, but this may result in a price difference.”
AT&T’s fiber Internet service is currently available in seven metro areas throughout the U.S. The company is planning to add 10 more areas and is exploring eight additional areas.
So far, it seems that this pricing scheme will remain in effect for each new city AT&T brings its fiber service to.
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