AT&T GigaPower: Gigabit spyware fiber coming to your city soon (if you’re lucky)

Expensive, capped service with spyware might be available to you in 2016 or 2017 (but probably not)

AT&T GigaPower fiber
Brad Bentley, AT&T EVP

AT&T announces more gigabit fiber. It has plans for 38 more cities with U-Verse GigaPower, but exactly who will or won’t get it isn’t clear.

And there’s another catch: It comes with spyware, unless you choose to pay $150/month.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wax cynical.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Gigbit fiber to my door? Sounds great! Or perhaps not so much. Here’s Jon Brodkin—AT&T bringing gigabit fiber to LA and dozens of other metro areas:

AT&T today launched its gigabit fiber Internet service in parts of Los Angeles and West Palm Beach and announced another 36 metro areas that will get the service.

AT&T agreed to deploy fiber to at least 12.5 million customer locations within four years in exchange for government approval to buy DirecTV.

On average, AT&T says it takes less than a year to install service after announcing plans to move into a metro area.

AT&T generally charges $110 a month for Internet-only gigabit service [or] $70 in cities where it has to compete against Google Fiber [which] require customers to opt in to "Internet Preferences," which gives AT&T permission to examine each customer’s Web traffic in order to serve personalized ads.

GigaPower caps data use at 1TB per month.

Ouch. Good luck getting it, anyway. Karl Bode tells us why, and how to opt out of the spyware—AT&T Will Bring Gigabit Speeds to Parts of 38 New Markets:

The full additional market listing...includes St. Louis...Asheville...Memphis...Milwaukee...and Reno.

Most of these launches are focused on high-end development communities where fiber is already in the ground and installation costs are low.

Just don't get too excited. ... Users who call up to check availability often discover that by a market "launch," AT&T often means as little as a few dozen houses.

It costs $40 to $60 more if you want to opt out of snoopvertising.

Good grief, what is AT&T playing at? Christopher Tozzi is your guy—GigaPower Internet Service Trades User Privacy for Low Cost:

Americans are paying more for slower Internet service than their counterparts in other countries.

GigaPower not only delivers ultra-fast Internet, but also monitors "the webpages you visit, the time you spend on each, the links or ads you see and follow, and the search terms you enter," [and it] "works independently of your browser's privacy settings regarding cookies, do-not-track and private browsing." That's a polite way of saying GigaPower totally disregards users' requests.

Services like GigaPower set an unsettling precedent. ... By bundling anti-privacy practices with high-speed Internet, AT&T GigaPower is complicating the picture even more for consumers.

Google Fiber, for the record, claims not to track users.

Anyway, is this all fiber to the premises (FTTP), or is there some semantic sleight of hand going on? Mr. T is EVP Brad “soul patch” Bentley—This Little Gig Went to Market:

In many neighborhoods, our fiber optic network runs from the central office to neighborhood equipment. From that point, we upgrade the existing copper wires to fiber.

In existing...FTTP neighborhoods, we’re upgrading the technology at both ends of our network.

[We] see more customers increasing their speeds to 18, 24 and 45 megabits per second service.

So, clear as mud, then. Jerry P. Fleming is not amused:

I will begin to get excited when the likes of AT&T...get off their fat corporate asses and give us in the rural areas of this country broadband, let along the fastest --- just broadband would be nice.

Being stuck with the likes of satellite to dial-up as choices - and in some instances heavily metered 4g wireless (not nearly particularly fast), and not at all suitable for downloading much.

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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