Time Warner is starting a new internet access payment method trial in Beaumont, Texas that is a throwback to the early days of the Internet when you paid for the amount of data you sent or received rather than the simple flat rate virtually all internet users currently enjoy.
Time Warner told the Associated Press that it would begin placing limits for data sent and received over its cable broadband network in Beaumont. The limits would only be placed on new customers. What’s not clear is if after the test for new customers the limits would be applied to existing customers as well.
The cable company says that it will place limits on its service that vary depending on the plan customers opt for. Service with Internet and video or phone at $29.98 per month would give customers pokey downloads at 768 kbps and have an absolutely shameful per month limit of only 5GB. That means these customers couldn’t watch one single typical HD movie with Apple TV without going over their monthly allotment.
The fastest plan to be offered to new customers will provide downloads of 16 Mbps with a cap of 40GB per month. That cap equates to watching about 6 or 7 HD streamed movies per month. Of course that is assuming you only plan to stream movies from Apple TV or the new Netflix Roku box. The limits even apply to the web pages you surf, emails you send and information you upload.
The penalty for going over the pathetic monthly bandwidth limit is extreme -- $1 per gigabyte. That means Time Warner plans to charge customers who exceed the bandwidth cap a whopping $6-$8 more per HD movie streamed from Apple TV or a similar service.
Time Warner defends its move to bandwidth limits by saying that 5% of the company’s customers use up to half of the available network capacity.
Kevin Leedy, time Warner Cable’s executive vice president of advanced technology told the Associated Press, “We think it's [bandwidth limits] the fairest way to finance the needed investment in the infrastructure.”
Time Warner first announced its plans for the test in early January 2008. To many this sounds like nothing more than an underhanded attempt to squeeze more money out of a subscriber base at the moment that streaming video rentals are starting to take off.
If Time Warner is successful in slipping this plan past its subscribers and other cable providers follow suit, this could be a serious blow to streaming rentals. Then again, this could be just the move that DSL companies have been hoping cable companies make. Let the exodus begin Time Warner customers.
quote: the customer MUST be able to dictate and control WHAT they receive! Until ISP's can control all forms of e-advertisement
quote: For my part, I would never ever ever ever buy volume-metered internet. I pay for a bandwidth pipe and expect to be able to use up to the theoretical maximum transfer my up and downstream usage could use over the billing period.
quote: I wouldn't mind the $1GB fee, if that was all there is. So if I just use 2GB in a month my Roadrunner bill would only be $2. Now that sounds fair.
quote: Service with Internet and video or phone at $29.98 per month would give customers pokey downloads at 768 kbps and have an absolutely shameful per month limit of only 5GB.The fastest plan to be offered to new customers will provide downloads of 16 Mbps with a cap of 40GB per month.The penalty for going over the pathetic monthly bandwidth limit is extreme -- $1 per gigabyte.
quote: Time Warner defends its move to bandwidth limits by saying that 5% of the company’s customers use up to half of the available network capacity.
quote: I have 5 wireless connections to choose from in my house, 4 of them unsecured. The one that is running WEP and MAC filtering is mine.
quote: What happens when all ISPs start doing this? Are you going to shut off your internet connection?
quote: Of the 10-15 people I can think of off the top of my head, none of them watch movies downloaded, non of them download large reams of illegal files (cough - download linux distributions -cough). One of them buys a couple songs off Itunes onces or twice a week, but that's about it.
quote: Most probably don't burn through 5 gig in a year, let alone a month.
quote: 1) The people that consume most of the bandwidth and would no longer benifit from other users paying for part of their downloads
quote: For the first group (if it really is true that a large minority suck up the large majority of available bandwidth) you can't expect the free ride to continue on indeffinitely (this isn't a government program we are talking about.)
quote: Then they should have DIAL UP ! Broadband is for those who, duh, want/need more BANDWIDTH.
quote: If your paying about $50 a month for broadband, and your NOT using 5 gigs a month, then you WOULDN'T NOTICE A PROBLEM anyway. Your logic is hmmm whats the word for the exact opposite of logic ? Oh yeah, stupidity.
quote: Besides the 5gigs a year comment is just assanine and you know it.
quote: People pay good money for broadband access. DAMN good money sir. Unlimited accounts have been sold for years and years. How DARE you blame the consumer for using no more, and no less, than they are paying for ?
quote: Or for those that want to have instant access to the internet, even if they don’t download gigs at a time.
quote: Further, the idea that unlimited accounts are somehow a right that is owed to anyone just because the pricing structure has been that way in the past is silly.
quote: Especially when the original structure for internet service *was* pay as you go.
quote: First, under the current structure, if you transfer 30 gig a week and your neighbor transfers 2 gig, but you both pay the same thing then your neighbor is supplementing a lot of your transfer, whether you think that money is just going straight to profits for the ISP or not.
quote: In a more balanced system, you would pay more than your neighbor because you are using more.
quote: Then again, these people would NEVER notice the supposed bandwidth problem causes by " excessive " users. Do you understand this finally !?
quote: Its not a right. Its a CONTRACT you sign with the ISP. What are you not getting about this concept ?
quote: Your going to hang your hat on that " logic " ?
quote: Actually in a more balanced system, those top 5% of " broadband hogs " would be the only ones that HAVE the service. Thank god we live in an age where even people who, as you say, only transfer 5gigs a year can easily afford high speed Internet.
quote: Lets stop making it a problem. The solution is ISP's like Time Warner sucking it up and expanding their infrastructure instead of trying to artificially limit their consumer base to maintain the same profit margins.
quote: Do you really think things would be cheaper if *only* the top 5% of the bandwidth users were paying to maintain the network? (and by maintain the network I mean maintain the big fat profit margins of the big fat cat companies)
quote: Well on this we agree, but I just don’t see that happening anytime soon unfortunately.
quote: Who in their right mind would pay $30 a month for 5GB of data transfer?
quote: Comcast Corp., the country's largest cable company, has suggested that it may cap usage at 250 gigabytes per month. Bend Cable Communications in Bend, Ore., used to have multitier bandwidth allowances, like the ones Time Warner Cable will test, but it abandoned them in favor of an across-the-board 100-gigabyte cap. Bend charges $1.50 per extra gigabyte consumed in a month.
quote: So how hard is it to target that 5% and explain that the terms of usage have changed and if they want to continue their service to switch to the per-GB pricing.
quote: Profit before people...
quote: ...How much profit is enough? When does it stop? "Free the internet...free the people!"
quote: So you're saying that just because some old people in a retirement home somewhere have invested their money in this company, said company is entitled to nickel and dime me to death?
quote: The problem with that is you can't assume that people won't use what you sell them.
quote: The broadband companies, if they are actually running out of bandwidth, are admitting they are selling their customers short by attempting to throttle. They're offering packages that they can't actually fulfill. Is it unfair if every customer were to use exactly their bandwidth limit a month? You better damn well have enough bandwidth for all those people.