Silicon Valley gets its first 1Gbps home bro– oh, there's a big catch

AT&T is back with its privacy-busting internet connections and high prices

Silicon Valley, or rather a small patch of it, finally has gigabit home broadband – and it's not Google Fiber. And there are two catches.

We often rag on AT&T for following Mountain View's advertising giant into markets, but in this case it seems the telco has beaten Google in its own backyard.

The phone giant said it will offer its GigaPower internet service in Cupertino, the first such offering in the Silicon Valley peninsula between San Jose and San Francisco.

The GigaPower internet service offers homes and small businesses 1Gbps broadband along with AT&T television packages in the U-Verse bundle. Packages will start at $110 per month – $40 more than what AT&T charges in Kansas City, Missouri, and Austin, Texas, where the telco competes with Google Fiber. That's catch number one.

Catch number two is that GigaPower includes the creepy AT&T Internet Preferences, which tracks subscribers around the internet so it can serve targeted ads. From the fine print:

U-verse with AT&T GigaPower Premier offer is available with agreement from customer to participate in AT&T Internet Preferences. AT&T may use Web browsing information, like the search terms entered and the Web pages visited, to provide customers with relevant offers and ads tailored to their interests.

It normally costs an extra $29 a month, or more, to get your privacy back.

“Cupertino has fostered an environment where innovation can thrive, and we are proud that they are the first city in California to get the ultra-fast speeds on the AT&T GigaPower network," said AT&T California president Ken McNeely.

"This investment will help empower the next generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers in Cupertino and across the Valley."

Home to Apple and neighbor to Google, Cupertino lies in the heart of the Silicon Valley region. Though Google runs its own fiber network on its campus, the Chocolate Factory has not yet seen fit to give its neighbors a gigabit internet service, opting instead to launch its high-speed service in cities willing to bend over backwards to accommodate an investment-free fiber network. Google last year put the San Jose area on its short list of potential markets, though no plans have been revealed.

AT&T also offers its GigaPower service in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City and Winston-Salem, markets in which Google also happens to offer its Fiber service. Cupertino will be one of the few markets in which Ma Bell is not playing tagalong to the Chocolate Factory. ®

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