If you don't live in the Kansas City, Austin, or Provo areas,
then chances are you hate your Internet service provider.
In the United States, where we rank an
embarrassing 31st in the world
for average download speeds with most users unable to switch to a
different provider, our savior comes in the form of
) Fiber. Unfortunately, the coveted gigabit service is still
exclusive to those aforementioned cities and Google has said it has
no plans to go nationwide any time soon.
Still, Google Fiber has competing ISPs in those areas absolutely
desperate to keep customers from flocking to the much better
service -- to the point where
Time Warner Cable
) reps were
knocking on people's doors begging them not to
. Although our schadenfreude is quelled by not being able to see
our providers that frantic and fearful on a nationwide scale, it
has sparked some ISPs to lower rates and boost speeds in local
areas to put them closer to what Google can offer.
But a new deal thought up by
) braintrust proves cable providers are completely out of touch
with the public and will blatantly screw over their customers even
when trying to win them back.
At a time when concerns about the privacy of our web activity is at
an all-time high, AT&T has offered a 300 megabits per second
service in Austin (gigabit speeds are apparently forthcoming) where
customers can pay $99 for the standard service or pay $29 less per
month if they allow their web usage to be monitored and fed into
According to the plan, for $70 a month, you can participate in the
"AT&T Internet Preferences" program (sounds innocuous!) and
have the company "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." (Sounds
The offer states, "You won't necessarily receive more ads when you
are online, but those you do see may be more suited to your
interests. For example: If you search for concert tickets, you may
receive offers and ads related to restaurants near the concert
AT&T stressed it won't sell your personal information to
advertisers but will use it to direct another advertiser's ad to
you, which is still enough to leave a bad taste in many mouths.
Ad-supported business models are hardly new or unique. Anyone who
) already knows about the banner ads which keep a service free, but
this plan is downright laughable in its attempt to win customers
over. Nobody wants their web activity monitored, no matter how many
"assurances" that their personal information is safe. And to attach
that concept to a service that's slower (with a promise of faster
speeds in the future) and isn't cheaper than Google's gigabit
alternative, well, that's a pretty awful plan.
And, oh yeah, there's still a data cap and overage fees.