Communications company AT&T has announced the rollout of its GigaPower service, a service that provides superfast internet speeds to its users. For $70 per month, customers can get connectivity of 1 gigabit per second. For $50 more, they can also add a basic TV package to their services. The service will initially be rolled out in Kansas City, according to the Kansas City Star.
AT&T’s gigabit service costs $70 a month, but customers will be charged an extra $29 a month if they want to opt out of the company’s “Internet Preferences” web tracking program. The Internet Preferences program tracks visited webpages, entered search terms, and followed ads. The program will still track you even if you have changed your privacy settings on your devices because the program works independently of your browser’s privacy settings.
The rollout of the service follows Google’s roll out of a similar service dubbed the Google Fiber program. The Fiber program promised Kansas City residents internet speed that were 75-100 times faster than what could be achieved with cable or DSL. As the number of connected devices in the home grows, faster internet service is needed to provide bandwidth for all of them. Many homes now have several computers, phones, tablets, printers, and game consoles using the same internet connection. The increase in devices used has made slower internet speeds ineffective and frustrating for consumers.
Kansas City has seen increased competition in the industry in recent years. After the arrival of Google Fiber, Time Warner announced that it would be tripling its internet speeds in the city without raising the cost of its internet services. Cities in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, California, and Tennessee have also benefited from the increase competition to provide internet services. Consolidated Communications is now offering gigabyte service to its customers for five cents less than Google and AT&T.
AT&T has warned new rules on net neutrality could hamper the rollout of high-speed services across the country. A reclassification of broadband internet as a Title II utility by the FCC could result in a slowdown or freeze in the expansion of its high-speed fiber, according to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. The FCC is also planning a vote on new regulations that would provide towns and cities with a way work around local laws designed to prevent the creation of municipal broadband services.
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