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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: Billing Accuracy...
By darkpaw on 1/18/2008 8:56:59 AM , Rating: 2
Games are not very high bandwidth consumers, it's really all about latency.

The only people this would affect heavily is pirates or people that stream a lot of video from Netflix or other similar services.

RE: Billing Accuracy...
By roadrun777 on 1/19/2008 1:49:27 PM , Rating: 2
Um you are wrong. Games do consume a fairly large constant stream, and multiply that by many, many, many hours of play.
Oh and saying that the only people who would be affected is pirates is F^N tardastic. I pay per month for media streaming.
And all these cool companies, like Tivo, and joost, and itunes, all rely on your bandwidth, and all of them consume huge amounts of it.
The only people who don't watch u-tube and don't purchase audio books, or listen to pod-casts are people who get online and look at text email like once a week. For those people, and people like YOU, you should just go back to dial up, because you don't need broadband, so your argument is non existent.

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