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Time Warner Cables hopes to weed out excess usage with new billing system

When it comes to high-speed Internet, most people take for granted that their flat monthly fee will provide all the bandwidth needed for endless downloading.

Time Warner Cable (TWC), on the other hand, doesn't quite see things that way. Just as Best Buy labeled its bargain-minded customers as "Devil Customers," TWC has its own subset of customers that take the "all you can eat" approach to Internet access.

In order to discourage bandwidth gorging, TWC will trial a new billing system patterned after regular household utilities that we all have become familiar with. Like gas, water and electric bills, TWC will charge customers based on their usage instead of a flat fee.

The move should help TWC weed out the five percent of its customers which it says horde over fifty percent of total network bandwidth.

TWC warns that the network congestions problems will only get worse as more media content is made available online. People today are taking advantage of their high-speed Internet connections to download movies and television shows -- and we can't forget users who often frequent P2P and torrent sites to share/download content.

"Largely, people won't notice the difference," said a spokesman for TWC. "We don't want customers to feel they're getting less for more."

TWC will first roll out a trial of the new billing system in Beaumont, Texas later this year. If the tests are successful, TWC may apply the new billing scheme to all of its 7.4 million residential subscribers around the country.

Time Warner Cable isn't the first company that has attempted to curtail a small minority of its customers from hogging network bandwidth using P2P services like BitTorrent. Comcast chose the unsavory route of throttling bandwidth for greedy customers using P2P software. Unfortunately, Comcast's actions also hampered legitimate users of software like Lotus Notes.

Comcast's actions resulted in class-action lawsuit from customers and an official investigation by the FCC.

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RE: Digital Downloads
By mdogs444 on 1/17/2008 4:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
Really, Time-Warner is being a whiny baby about the people who are 'bandwidth gorging'. The people who use more than 500GB of bandwidth a month, like I do on an occasional basis, are a SMALL fraction of a percentage of the people who are using their services.... not even really enough to impinge on the downloading of other people on their service.

So let me get this right....

You believe that everyone should pay the same low price, regardless of how much of the service they use, and that a tiered "pay for what you use" service is bad.

I find it quite ironic, and hypocritical, when I compare it to your view class warfare & taxes. You've stated in the past that the wealthy should pay a higher percentage of taxes because they have enough money to afford it, and that the low income people shouldn't pay anything because they cannot afford.

You can say that this is just to punish you for using alot of bandwidth and to price gouge you (which is the same as taxing high income an even higher percentage), but perhaps I can say that this is to benefit the low bandwidth users by charging less (which is the same as not taxing the low income).

How is this different this time? Oh i know....because this time, it will actually effect how much money comes out of your pocket! Maybe you ought to think about that next time you say you want to tax people a higher percentage because they make more than you.

RE: Digital Downloads
By Polynikes on 1/17/2008 7:39:24 PM , Rating: 3
the same low price

Low? $40 a month ain't cheap if you're not using a lot of bandwidth.

RE: Digital Downloads
By jeff834 on 1/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Digital Downloads
By murphyslabrat on 1/18/2008 3:28:55 PM , Rating: 1
I actually had to kick my kitten out of the house for a few months. Now he's back, and is a profitable member of our household.

RE: Digital Downloads
By Christopher1 on 1/18/2008 10:53:37 PM , Rating: 1
$50 dollars is not a low price, compared to the Unlimited Internet deals in places like Japan.

They have unlimited internet that is nearly 20 times faster than our cable internet, and they are paying less than we do for that than we pay for cable internet.

Secondly, when something is advertised as unlimited, I expect to be able to use AS MUCH OF THE SERVICE AS I LIKE! I have NEVER had a complaint from Comcast even once except a phonecall from some lower-level peon who was getting on my case about downloading a lot 5 years ago. When I pointed out to him that their service was unlimited, he hung up the phone and never called back again, though that might have been because he was fired after I contacted Comcast and reported his phonecall and it wasn't authorized by them (assuming the latter here).

Thirdly, yes, I do believe that everyone should pay the same 'low' price for internet service regardless of how much of the service they use, if something is billed as unlimited internet.
If you don't want to allow that, you are FINE to bill your service as not being 'unlimited' and putting a gigabyte limit on it.... just don't blame me when your business drops off substantially because customers are getting tired of having to count every single mega or giga-byte of traffic they are using.

Fourthly, I couldn't care LESS if more money came out of my pocket for internet service...... as long as the service was still unlimited, I would be willing to pay up to $70 dollars a month for internet service.... any higher than that however, and I would tell any provider to stick their service and simply stay off the internet and NO ONE would get my money.

Fifthly, I do want to tax people who make more at a much higher rate than myself because THEY CAN AFFORD IT, and they have a responsibility to help keep society up if they are not going to allow high minimum wages.
If they would switch to a high minimum wage of about $12-20 dollars, then I would keep them at the same level of taxation as myself..... but let's face facts: most rich people today got rich off breaking the backs of the poor and insider trading their way to success.

Even my one friend, who is worth nearly $10 million dollars now, said that he was SHOCKED at how many people and businesses freely admit that they insider traded or hired people at below minimum wage.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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