Disturbing content Competition works: AT&T has been found to be charging less for its gigabit broadband service in cities where it has to compete with Google Fiber.
A report by Consumerist analysts noted that AT&T varies the prices on its 1Gbps Gigapower service depending on where it's rolled out – and the correlation between the lower rates was: the presence of Google Fiber.
As AT&T says in its own news releases, the 1Gbit/s Gigapower service in the Google Fiber cities of Nashville and Atlanta will start at $70, while Gigapower connections in Chicago and Miami start at $110.
The variance in prices would back the notion that consumers in the US are indeed being gouged for broadband service, thanks to a lack of competition in the markets. As we previously saw in Austin, Texas, the arrival of Google Fiber tends to spur AT&T to offer faster, cheaper broadband in markets where it had not previously seen fit to improve.
"The fact that AT&T believes it can charge $40/month more just because no one else in a market is offering a comparable service only underscores the need for increased competition in high-speed broadband service," Consumerist noted.
"When more companies are selling comparable services, no single operator can dictate what consumers should pay."
That AT&T would move into Nashville and Atlanta was predicted back in January when Google named the cities among the new recipients for Google Fiber service. Other newly-minted fiber markets in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham also pay $70 per month for Gigapower, while markets such as Cupertino, CA, that lack Google Fiber still pay $110 with the stipulation that AT&T can track and sell user browsing data to marketers.
Lest you think AT&T is alone in its curious selection of markets for improved service, Comcast also has a habit of boosting its broadband in the face of competition from Google while still trying to convince governments not to allow any competition. ®