updated 04:02 pm EST, Wed December 11, 2013
Cheaper fiber plan requires monitoring of high-speed Internet connection
AT&T has started accepting registrations for its fiber-based Internet offering in Austin, as the company continues to fight against Google Fiber. U-Verse with GigaPower offers residents in the city TV services and Internet access at speeds of up to 300Mbps, which will be upgraded to gigabit speeds at no extra charge when it becomes available in 2014, though an option for a cheaper plan requires AT&T to monitor the connection's usage.
In a similar manner to Google Fiber, residents living in areas not covered in the initial rollout will be able to vote through the AT&T website for their area to be considered for the next round of expansion. Initial areas receiving the high-speed Internet service include French Place, Mueller, Zilker, and Onion Creek.
While AT&T boasts the service will include a 1-terabyte DVR for TV recordings, as well as an extensive on-demand service, there are still some issues about parts of the service. CNET notes that the $70 headline price for the Internet service requires customers "participate in AT&T Internet preferences," which includes monitoring search terms and websites "to provide you relevant offers and ads tailored to your interests." Those opting for the "Premier" plan will have a waiver of equipment, installation, and activation fees, with those opting for the extra TV service at $120 per month having HBO and HBO Go free for three years. The "Standard" version does not have the same monitoring, but costs $99 per month.
Google Fiber's service, officially announced in April, hopes to start connecting homes by mid-2014.