AT&T has fired a shot over the Google Fiber bow.
The carrier on Wednesday announced that it has launched its U-verse with "GigaPower" all-fiber network in Austin, Texas. Access to the network starts at $70 per month, and it will feature initial Internet speeds of up to 300 megabit per second. AT&T said it will up speeds to one Gigabit per second "when available in 2014," at no extra cost.
Fiber connectivity is becoming an increasingly competitive space. AT&T announced its plans to bring GigaPower to Austin just months after Google announced it would launch its own super-fast home Internet service, Google Fiber, in the city. Google plans to start connecting homes in the area to Fiber, which offers 1Gbps broadband Internet service, by the middle of 2014.
Though neither service is anywhere near nationwide, AT&T said on Wednesday that it will continue to roll out the service in other parts of Austin starting next year. For now, only "tens of thousands" of Austin citizens have access to U-verse with GigaPower. AT&T added that its expansion plans in Austin with be influenced, in part, by residents voting to bring the service to their neighborhood.
One word of caution on the plan's pricing: a footnote in AT&T's press release said in order to qualify for the $70-per-month offer, customers will agree "to participate in AT&T Internet preferences."
"AT&T may use your Web browsing information, like the search terms you enter and the Web pages you visit, to provide you relevant offers and ads tailored to your interests," the company said.
Those who want Standard service, which ostensibly doesn't include AT&T's ad plan, goes for $99 per month. Customers on the $70 plan who also add on AT&T's U-verse TV will get free access to HBO for three years.