TWC throws down the gauntlet in more markets

Nearly a year ago, DailyTech brought you news that Time Warner Cable (TWC) planned to implement bandwidth restrictions in Texas. The initial plan was to use Beaumont, Texas as a trial run for bandwidth caps meaning that customers would no longer have access to unrestricted, "all-you-can-eat" internet bandwidth.

The Beaumont test bed saddled customers with 5GB of monthly bandwidth and download speeds of 768 kbps for the lowest pricing tier ($29.98) -- the highest tier provided 40GB of bandwidth and 16 Mbps download speeds. Users were charged a dollar for each gigabyte downloaded over their monthly allotment.

It appears that the Beaumont tests went better than expected and TWC is expanding its bandwidth caps to more markets across the United States. The latest cities on TWC's hit list include Austin, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; Rochester, New York; and Greensboro, NC. Changes to customer billing will begin early this summer for the first three cities.

Customers in Greensboro will feel the tightening noose earlier than the other aforementioned cities as TWC has plans to adjust customer pricing tiers this month.

"We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business," said TWC CEO Glenn Britt to BusinessWeek. "We made a mistake early on by not defining our business based on the consumption dimension."

According to BusinessWeek, the four new pricing tiers will include 5GB, 10GB, 20GB, and 40GB bandwidth caps with prices ranging from $29.95 to $54.90 per month -- the $1/GB overage fee will still be in place.

The move to a tiered pricing structure appears aimed at tackling bandwidth hogs. According to TWC, 14% of its Beaumont customers enrolled in the trial exceeded their monthly bandwidth and paid an average of $19 extra in overage fees on their monthly bills.

TWC also claims that the difference in bandwidth usage between the bottom 25% and the top 25% of users was staggering with the latter gobbling up roughly 100 times more bandwidth than the former. TWC, however, failed to provide a baseline to validate these claims.

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