• 12.11.13

AT&T Offers Discounted Gigabit Internet–In Exchange For Spying On You

Would you pay $70 a month for faster Internet access–if AT&T could look at your web-browsing habits?

AT&T Offers Discounted Gigabit Internet–In Exchange For Spying On You
[Image: Flickr user Mato Rachela]

If you live in one of four Austin neighborhoods, you can now sign up for AT&T’s GigaPower high-speed, 300 Mbps all-fiber Internet service–for just $70 a month (AT&T promises to bump you up to 1Gbps in mid-2014 for free). This move is a shot across the bow to Google, which announced in April that it was bringing Google Fiber, its 1Gbps Internet connection, to Austin by mid-2014.


Gigabit Internet isn’t just about blazing-fast movie downloads and real-time online multiplayer gaming, however. The technology has the potential to ease network congestion in places like universities and hospitals, thanks to its sheer speed.

With AT&T’s new service there is, however, a catch. To get the low pricing, you must agree to “participate in AT&T Internet Preferences,” which means that you give AT&T the rights to use your web-browsing information, your searches, and the pages you visit in order to target you with ads and relevant offers.

AT&T customers will have two choices of service:

Premier: Internet speeds up to 300 Mbps with free equipment, installation, and activation fees for $70 a month (only if you sign up for AT&T’s Internet Preferences program). Customers who also select U-verse TV will receive free HBO, HBO GO for 36 months, and HD service for $120 per month with qualifying TV services

Standard: Internet speeds up to 300 Mbps for $99 a month (no AT&T targeted ads).

It’s unclear where exactly will AT&T place these targeted ads. After all, users are likely going to be pretty annoyed if they get AT&T’s ads overlaid on top of web pages as they’re browsing.

But privacy freaks can breathe a little easier, as AT&T told GigaOM that the company will not collect information from secure (https) or otherwise encrypted sites, and will not sell personal information to anyone.

About the author

Pranav Dixit has written about everything from megalomaniacal Bollywood stars to Mughal history as a reporter in New Delhi. But secretly, he has always wanted to cover technology.