AT&T Launches GigaPower in Kansas City, Takes on Google Fiber
Wireless carrier AT&T is making it possible for customers in the Kansas City area to download 25 songs in less than one second -- or an HD movie in less than 36 seconds -- with its new U-verse with AT&T GigaPower broadband network that features speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.
We turned to Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, to get his thoughts on GigaPower launching in the Kansas City. He told us faster Internet speeds are as important to cities, companies and users as spinach is to Popeye.
“It supercharges the area and the economy by making it more attractive for companies and individuals to locate there,” Kagan said. “Many companies are dipping their toes in this 1 gigabit Internet water, but only two are really taking this new business opportunity very seriously and moving very rapidly. These two companies are AT&T GigaPower and Google Fiber.”
Will Google Stick It Out?
Indeed, these companies are going head-to-head in Kansas City and beyond. Kagan is waiting and watching to see what competition does to the high-speed Internet marketplace. Having high speed is one point, having competition with high speed is another issue altogether, he said.
“AT&T GigaPower offers a variety of services with its new rollout. Not only is this ultra-fast Internet service, but it also offers other features like U-verse television service and U-verse Unlimited Voice,” Kagan said. “Google Fiber offers high-speed Internet. Google also offers a television service, however with fewer channels and features.”
As Kagan sees it, competition always makes each competitor better and sharper. After all, customers are looking for one reason or another to choose one competitor or another, he noted. Right now, it looks like this AT&T service offers more for the same cost, he said.
“We know companies like AT&T have a long-term commitment to communications services. That’s what they have been doing for more than a century. We also know companies like Google Fiber are brand new to this space and got into it simply to force existing competitors to move more quickly,” Kagan said. “The question is as this marketplace continues to mature, will Google stick around or not. Only time will tell.”
Here’s the Catch
While it looks like AT&T offers more for the same price, there appears to be a catch, Kagan said. The GigaPower service cost $79 a month, which is on par with Google Fiber. But AT&T has some fine-print charges.
In its disclaimers, AT&T makes it clear that, “U-verse with AT&T GigaPower Premier offer is available with agreement from customer to participate in AT&T Internet Preferences. AT&T may use Web browsing information, like the search terms entered and the Web pages visited, to provide customers with relevant offers and ads tailored to their interests.”
Consumers who opt out of the program pay an additional $29 a month. By contrast, Google claims it does not track users' browsing histories or offer different pricing paradigms based on privacy options.
“Technical information collected from the use of Google Fiber Internet for network management, security or maintenance may be associated with the Google account you use for Fiber, but such information associated with the Google account you use for Fiber will not be used by other Google properties without your consent," according to Google. "Other information from the use of Google Fiber Internet (such as URLs of Web sites visited or content of communications) will not be associated with the Google account you use for Fiber, except with your consent or to meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request."
Posted: 2015-02-28 @ 8:36am PT
Google Fiber also offers Gigabit to small/medium biz for $100/month, no limits. AT&T does not offer that.