AT&T stops tracking internet activity of GigaPower customers

AT&T GigaPower Austin
AT&T installers deploy GigaPower in Austin, Texas. Image: AT&T

Eligible AT&T 1 Gbps FTTH customers will no longer have to give up some of their privacy in order to get the current lowest price available for the speed tier in their market.

AT&T will sunset the Internet Preferences requirement for GigaPower users who subscribe to its lowest-cost gigabit broadband speed tier, which required their internet activity to be tracked in order to receive an up to $29 discount.

An AT&T spokeswoman told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that it plans to “send an email to AT&T GigaPower customers early next week to inform them of the update.”

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When AT&T launched GigaPower service in Austin in 2013, the company said on its GigaPower page that customers could choose to receive its best price on U-verse with GigaPower by opting into AT&T's Internet Preferences and selecting its lowest-priced tier, Premier.

By signing up for AT&T Internet Preferences, customers allow the telco to track their web browsing activity. AT&T has justified this practice as a way to provide customers with “more relevant offers and advertising.”

The lowest price offered by the provider for 1 Gbps speed in cities where it competes directly with Google Fiber, like Austin, Texas, is $70. Beginning in October, all AT&T GigaPower customers, regardless of whether or not they previously chose to opt-in to Internet Preference, will receive their internet-only gigabit service for $70 a month.

AT&T said it is getting rid of the Internet Preferences opt-in as a way to make it easier for customers to get access to higher speeds where they are available and to help them understand what they are paying for when they sign up for service.

“To simplify our offering for our customers, we plan to end the optional Internet Preferences advertising program related to our fastest internet speed tiers,” AT&T said in a statement provided to FierceTelecom. “As a result, all customers on these tiers will receive the best rate we have available for their speed tier in their area. We’ll begin communicating this update to customers early next week.”

Related articles:
AT&T's $70 a month FTTH service comes with a privacy catch
AT&T's Smith: Our Austin 1 Gbps plan is not a response to Google Fiber

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