AT&T is finally challenging Google Fibre's blazing fast internet speeds in Kansas City -- but it's charging more for privacy

It was a pretty big deal when Google chose Kansas City to pilot its Fibre program, which promised blazing fast internet speeds 75-100X faster than cable or DSL.

On Sunday, AT&T announced it will finally roll out its own Google Fibre competitor, called “GigaPower,” in the same city, according to the Kansas City Star.

AT&T’s gigabit service will cost the same as Google’s — just $US70 a month — but AT&T is charging customers an extra $US29 a month if they want to opt out of the company’s “Internet Preferences” program, which tracks “the webpages you visit, the time you spend on each, the links or ads you see and follow, and the search terms you enter.”

AT&T’s Internet Preferences program also “works independently of your browser’s privacy settings regarding cookies, do-not-track, and private browsing. If you opt-in to AT&T Internet Preferences, AT&T will still be able to collect and use your Web browsing information independent of those settings.”

In other words, unless you pay the extra $US30 a month, AT&T will use the information it collects about your web browsing habits to serve you targeted ads.

Google Fibre does not track users, the company tells Ars Technica — but that’s because Google already tracks its users through its various web properties like Gmail and Google+. But Google says it won’t use or associate your account with any data from your Google Fibre use — the URLs of websites you visit and the content of your communications are safe, it says — “except with your consent or to meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.”

For an extra $US50, AT&T is also bundling TV and HBO with its gigabit internet service — but that $US120 per month rate will only be for the first three years, according to AT&T. Adding voice to the deal costs an extra $US30 a month.

Google Fibre doesn’t offer a voice service, and that one-time $US300 construction fee still applies — but it still offers one thing AT&T has yet to try and match: Free 5 Mbps internet access for those that either don’t want, or can’t afford gigabit internet.

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