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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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By natebsi on 1/17/2008 6:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
I don't download much any more, so I really don't care either way. In fact, IF it were to make my internet cheaper, I'd be all for it (fat chance, I know)?

But..... This is a really poor idea simply for the fact that WEP is so easy to crack, and the overwhelming majority of people that have wireless routers are using WEP. Just imagine using 50MB a month (or so you thought), and finding out at the end of the month that you actually downloaded 500GB? Imagine trying to explain that to TW!

RE: Wireless??
By Frallan on 1/18/2008 7:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
Mac adress locking your router perhaps would be standard then? not that im for this but there are ways around anything.

RE: Wireless??
By darkpaw on 1/18/2008 8:54:17 AM , Rating: 2
MAC address locking does nothing, easy enough to get around. It's an extra layer, but anyone that knows what their doing its pretty meaningless. I still enable it on all my systems, but by itself or with just WEP it isn't going to stop someone.

Anyone using WEP is asking for trouble and people that haven't switched to WPA1 at a minimum need to pay more attention.

WPA2 with AES256 and a 20+ character key works pretty good. It's not like this is hard to setup either.

RE: Wireless??
By natebsi on 1/18/2008 1:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that WEP sucks, but stating thats "Its not hard to setup" is a ridiculous statement. You're a geek, like the rest of us here. The other 99.9% of the populous has not concept of what WEP/WPA even are and why one is better than the other.
And to make matters worse, many techs that actually do the wireless setup for customers that request it setup them up with WEP even if the router supports WPA. I've corrected this for a few friends over the years.
Just a quick glance at wireless routers in the area shows 1 unsecured, 2 WPA2 (one of which is mine), and 7 WEP's. It's gonna be a big wake up for a lot of people when they get their bills!

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