AT&T Shows Cupertino Precisely What Broadband Competition (Or The Lack Thereof) Looks Like

from the fiber-to-the-press-release dept

As many of you may know, AT&T has been responding to Google Fiber with a gigabit broadband deployment of its own, primarily aimed at high-end housing developments where fiber is already in the ground. Dubbed AT&T U-Verse with "Gigapower," the service first appeared in Google Fiber markets like Austin, though AT&T tried to claim this timing was entirely coincidental. As with similar offerings from companies like CenturyLink, it's part of an industry push to at least give the impression that they're keeping pace with Google Fiber and gigabit municipal broadband deployments, even if the announcements often tend to be more impressive than the actual deployments (something I affectionately call "fiber to the press release").

Given this is AT&T, there are of course several caveats. One being that the company's promise to deploy the service to "up to 100 cities" is a bit of a bluff aimed at making the telco appear cutting edge, since it's actually consistently slashing its fixed-line investment budget. The actual deployment is much, much smaller (as in a few housing developments in a dozen markets or so), and AT&T's ambiguous projection numbers tend to ebb and flow depending on what AT&T's trying to get from the government. The other is that users need to pay $40 to $60 more if they want to opt out of AT&T's "Internet Preferences" snoopvertising, which uses deep packet inspection to track online behavior down to the second.

In short, yes it's competition -- but it's AT&T's special brand of competition. Still, it highlights the fact that Google Fiber markets very quickly see a much-needed industry response on both speed and price. Case in point: in the markets where Google Fiber is present, AT&T's gigabit offering costs significantly less, whether it's a standalone gigabit line, or a bundle. For example, this is the pricing seen by an AT&T customer in Austin, where Google Fiber is present:

Last week, AT&T launched the service in select parts of Cupertino, California where there's no Google Fiber pricing pressure. This is what local Cupertino users see when they try to sign up for service:

So yes, it's pretty clear it doesn't take much for pampered duopolists to respond to real price competition. The problem is despite the fact that Google Fiber is nearly five years old, its actual footprint remains fairly small, with only portions of Austin, Provo and Kansas City online so far. And that's a company with billions to spend and a massive lobbying apparatus that can take aim at the sector's regulatory capture. That's why community broadband and public/private partnerships become such an integral part of trying to light a fire under the U.S. broadband industry, as are the attempts to dismantle ISP protectionist state laws aimed at keeping these speeds and real price competition far, far away from most U.S. broadband markets.
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Filed Under: broadband, competition, cupertino, fiber, google fiber, pricing, speeds
Companies: at&t, google


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  • identicon
    Michael, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:27am

    Is it me, or are the images in the offerings a bit racist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rich, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:30am

      Re:

      It's you. If you look for racism, you will always find it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:44am

        Re: Re:

        If you don't look for it, it will find you?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re:

        It's not him.
        Is true that taken on their own with no external context they are not racist.
        And they are not tremendously racist with some context but they are a bit and it would have been better to avoid, if anyone with half a lick of sense had any part in approval.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:45am

      Re:

      What exactly is racist about showing three ads and having one of them feature a black customer?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re:

        none so blind

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 8:08am

        Re: Re:

        I'm guessing because the black customer is matched with the cheapest option. If you're looking for racism, it implies that the black customer can't afford the more expensive options.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 8:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's a pretty big stretch. Is that supposed to mean then that since no Asian people are in the ad Asian people can't afford any of the packages? Or let's try it from the sexism perspective since we are manufacturing discrimination here. A man in the household is needed to be able to afford the higher packages, right?

          Interesting enough though: It looks like they used the same male model with each of the families that are otherwise completely different. Is that supposed to mean that AT&T openly condones polygamy?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 9:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah; that's the bit I noticed. The guy seems to have quite the smirk on his face too. Somehow he can afford to have TWO families on AT&T.

            What got me though is that I missed the "l" in their "play" offerings and thought they were advertising service where you pay once, twice or thrice for the same service. It made me wonder who would shell out for "Triple Pay" service -- but maybe that's just referring to the fact that he's paying for service at three locations.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 9:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I still think it would be funny if people asking AT&T if the ad meant they are promoting polygamy trended on social media but someone would probably have to get out a stop watch to see how long it took them to pull the ad.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JBDragon (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 5:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Talking about really trying to look for racism. This is getting beyond silly. No Black person anywhere and you'd be saying it's raciest also. If it was all Black people in all 3 pictures, somehow that would be racists. No matter what you do, it doesn't matter.

          That's really a sad world you live in if that's all you see. I didn't see anything Racist about the pictures. The Cheapest was also ONLY Internet. Wouldn't it be more Raciest with a TV Package because Blacks just sit around watching TV all day? Collecting that Government check?
          Wouldn't that be more Racists? Maybe if they threw in Dial-Up for $9.99 a month service and showed a Black Family. Maybe I'd give it to you. $70 is not exactly cheap. I'm the cheap white guy and pay $35 a month for AT&T U-Verse Internet only. Not the fastest speed, but fast enough to stream HD content from Netflix.

          No matter what, got to turn it into some kind of race thing. I personally thing the Biggest Racists people out there are the ones bring it up all the time. Looking for it wherever they go, even though most of it is in their head.

          So the times when it really happens, No one cares any more. It's crying wolf, over and over and over again.

          For the life of me I was trying to figure out what the hell was so racist about the picture. I wasn't even thinking Oh, Black Woman in first picture, a White Family in another. I saw a Single woman in one, a family in the next. The COLOR of ones skin wasn't even on my mind at the time. So thanks for being that person.

          At work I'm 1 of 4 White people. I Work for really nice Chinese Owner along with a couple of his sons, along with a few other Chinese, Indian, many filipino's, even a Black person who's runs the QA department. They're all nice friendly people. I've been to a few of their houses even being the only white person there. I don't mind at all, learn and have fun. Most of them work really hard for not a lot of money. I don't really give a crap what race any of them are. It's a NON-FACTOR in my life. I'd rather just enjoy life and not keep trying to look for that Boogeyman.

          It's never going to be a 100% Raciest free world. Compared to many places, the U.S. is pretty tolerant.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jay Lahto (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 10:56am

      Re:

      If you think this is racist, you should see the local PG&E commercials on broadcast TV: Asian worker in SF, Hispanic worker for San Jose, stereotypical Oakland resident for Oakland and a white guy for Eureka.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      it's just you...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JOan, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:31am

    This is just plain wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:35am

    Is it actually differently priced, or is it just they don't have the "give up your data privacy" discount? ( https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150219/11473630072/ats-30-dont-be-snooped-fee-is-even-worse-than -everybody-thought.shtml )

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:43am

    True cost of government snooping

    When large companies sell access to private user information eventually even the appearance of customer service disappears. This is essentially a government backed duopoly that wrings every cent out of people that they can. Investments into infrastructure not only isn't happening at the levels it should be, it hasn't happened with the billions earmarked for it that they have already collected. We have paid for new lines and faster service dozens of times over and the only thing keeping these monstrosities alive is government backing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:45am

    WHAT THE HELL, AT&T??!!!

    I'M PAYING MORE THAN THAT FOR LESS SPEED AND NO HBO!!

    Assholes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 6:47am

    $180/mo - seriously?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 7:08am

    It gets better; if I read the fine print correctly, the cheaper, introductory pricing is good for 30 months in Austin while the more expensive introductory pricing in CA is only guaranteed for 12. What a deal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 7:43am

    "up to 100 cities"

    "up to x" is right there with calling a product or service "solutions" as terms of baloney business babble that inspire RAGE!

    Because 3 really is "up to 100", and nails and glue are really "fastening solutions".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    April, 2 Apr 2015 @ 8:14am

    Great article. Keep informing please.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 8:37am

    I looked at the pictures and thought "wow, he's paying for three Comcast bills. I hope his other families don't find out.. how much he is spending"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 9:52am

    AT&T "Gigapower"

    Why is no one asking if AT&T is really delivering Gigabit service? More than likely, the customer is not receiving Internet downloads of more than 50 megabits per second. That's what I receive via my cable connection. And, I don't have any problems watching a streaming video from Amazon, Netflix, or You Tube.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2015 @ 12:19pm

      Re: AT&T "Gigapower"

      I don't think that the majority of users care what the actual speed is, so long as it gives them a connection that is fast enough to do what they want to do without lag or streaming issues.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 12:44pm

        Re: Re: AT&T "Gigapower"

        I think this is correct. Personally, I would love to see Google show up in my area, not because I want fiber speeds but purely because I want some alternative to Comcast.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Socrates, 3 Apr 2015 @ 2:43am

    Play, as in after foreplay?

    Play a single woman, and she doesn't television?
    Play multiple, and additional distractions is neat?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Socrates, 3 Apr 2015 @ 3:43pm

    Errata

    ,and she doesn't need television?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2015 @ 11:15am

    Nobody's going to mention the different contract terms?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Corey jacob, 17 Apr 2015 @ 9:08pm

    centurylink fiber

    I was a Qwest customer when I got my DSL and there was up to 40mb available to our building, networked on old copper.

    Centurylink bought them, when they upgraded to "fiber" the max was downgraded to 12mb to my building. Despite the fact the fiber cable they installed is right under the street outside my building.

    They get away with it because there is NO land-line competition, that provides the same kind of service. Cable is not counted because of how they do it is so much different than DSL and is more prone to problems in peak hours and spying by neighbors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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