AT&T "Internet Preferences" is Revolutionary


AT&T is doing something very interesting in Austin, Texas, aside from launching a gigabit Internet access service. It essentially plans to compensate its access customers $30 a month for the right to use their browsing history to target ads.

That would seem to be a first in the ISP industry and essentially puts a value on what a user's browsing history might be worth to a marketing services firm.

AT&T in Austin, Texas is launching its “GigaPower” all-fiber Internet access network for prices starting at $70 a month, featuring speeds of 300 Mbps downstream initially and a boost to 1 Gbps in 2014.

AT&T will offer two “U-verse with GigaPower” offers. The “Premier” version will cost $70 a month, while the “Standard” plan will cost $99 a month.

You might find it odd that the premier version costs less than the standard version.

The reason is the value to AT&T of collecting user browsing history. “U-verse with GigaPower Premier offer is available with your agreement to participate in AT&T Internet Preferences,” AT&T says.

Internet Preferences allows AT&T to use customer Web browsing information, such as the search terms people enter and the Web pages customer visit, to provide relevant offers and ads to customers based on that profile.

AT&T is not the first company ever to contemplate, or create, programs that compensate users for the value of their browsing behavior. Google, for example, apparently is getting ready to debut a new service that would pay people to allow Google to get more data, and analytics, including about how they are using their devices and apps.

The “Screenwise” market research program actually is a year or so old, but now will use a mobile app to track data that formerly required user panels.

The Screenwise market research program is designed to "help learn more about things like technology usage, how people are consuming media and how they use Google products," Google says.

"These panels are made up of volunteers who have certain activities measured and are compensated for their participation,” Google says.

But the AT&T pricing plans essentially represent $30 a month in “payments,” in the form of a discount, for allowing AT&T to use browsing history to target ads.

Almost predictably, some will complain about the practice, but many have argued that users should be compensated when ISPs or other application providers “pay users for the value of their behavior.”

In essence, that is what AT&T is doing, compensating users at $30 a month for the right to use browsing behavior to tailor advertising and other marketing offers. It might be overlooked, but AT&T is doing what some have advocated for some time, namely compensating users for the value of their behavior online, when used to target advertising.

That is a huge development. AT&T essentially is compensating end users at a $30 a month rate for the right to target advertising to users who agree to allow it. That puts a rather high value on the value of a user’s browsing history, and the size of the business AT&T believes it might create.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing Editor

Related Articles

Coding and Invention Made Fun

By: Special Guest    10/12/2018

SAM is a series of kits that integrates hardware and software with the Internet. Combining wireless building blocks composed of sensors and actors con…

Read More

Facebook Marketplace Now Leverages AI

By: Paula Bernier    10/3/2018

Artificial intelligence is changing the way businesses interact with customers. Facebook's announcement this week is just another example of how this …

Read More

Oct. 17 Webinar to Address Apache Spark Benefits, Tools

By: Paula Bernier    10/2/2018

In the upcoming webinar "Apache Spark: The New Enterprise Backbone for ETL, Batch and Real-time Streaming," industry experts will offer details on clo…

Read More

It's Black and White: Cybercriminals Are Spending 10x More Than Enterprises to Control, Disrupt and Steal

By: Cynthia S. Artin    9/26/2018

In a stunning new report by Carbon Black, "Hacking, Escalating Attacks and The Role of Threat Hunting" the company revealed that 92% of UK companies s…

Read More

6 Challenges of 5G, and the 9 Pillars of Assurance Strategy

By: Special Guest    9/17/2018

To make 5G possible, everything will change. The 5G network will involve new antennas and chipsets, new architectures, new KPIs, new vendors, cloud di…

Read More