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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 marvdmartian on 1/18/2008 9:53:38 AM , Rating: 3
I have two problems with this whole idea.

First, I have yet to see what sort of bandwidth limit they're planning on imposing. Getting upset about it before you know what you're getting upset about is simply a waste of time, imho.
If TWC wants to set a limit on their unlimited internet, then they do so with the knowledge that they might lose some customers. Frankly, I doubt if they care, if the only customers they lose are their high bandwidth users. It's a win/win situation for them, isn't it? They drop their bandwidth bill, or they get more money from the bandwidth hogs that are using most of it.
Honestly, I doubt if they'll care about losing some customers in that instance.

Second, personally, I think this is a bunch of hogwash. While 5% of their customers might be using 50% of their bandwidth (or so they claim), then why not, at the same time that you plan on higher billing for high bandwidth customers, do they not offer LOWER BILLING FOR THEIR LOW BANDWIDTH CUSTOMERS???
I mean, it's only fair, isn't it? If person A uses up 50% of the bandwidth, and TWC thinks they should pay higher fees for that usage, then it's only right that person B, who only uses 2% of the bandwidth, should pay a significantly LOWER monthly fee.
Thus is the problem I have with their plan, since I know they have no intention of doing what I just outlined. They cry "NO FAIR!!" to high bandwidth customers, yet they give no break to low bandwidth customers......and those are the very people that should be rewarded by TWC.

Otherwise, we could simply make the argument that (truthfully) the 95% low bandwidth customers that TWC has more than make up for the 5% high users......and that this is nothing more than a scam by Time Warner.

Aside from all that, personally speaking as a TWC cable modem customer, I feel that my local company better look at improving their service quality a LOT more, before they look at upping my bill any more. I don't know about other areas, but until I see premium service, I'd better not see a premium billing going on here!!


RE: Digital Downloads
By bhieb on 1/18/2008 12:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
do they not offer LOWER BILLING FOR THEIR LOW BANDWIDTH CUSTOMERS???


Ok so what do you think a cost per usage plan would do. The whole point is the more you use the more pay, and by it's very nature the less you use the less you pay. I don't know what system you would put into place that would save low bandwidth users money, other than a pay per usage plan.

Again I am all for it as long as the price does not exceed what the 95% are paying now, AND as long as there is no speed cap (1.5mb or 5mb). If I can get the fasted speed possible on a pay per use basis, and still pay the same on average months, less on slow months, and more on busy months then I am all for it.

Of course that is not how TW will sturcture it, but using their "electric" company analogy that is how it needs to be. After all I can pull as many amps as possible from the grid, and they charge me the same per kw/h regardless of whether I am pulling the full transformer load of 400 amps or just running the lights at just a few amps. But even then the analogy falls apart, because very large users of electircity are charged a costp per kw/h and a flat "demand" charge just to have the rights to use that much, regardless of how much they actually use.

In the end they will do what any company does, and structure it to put the most $$ in the bank that the market will allow. Welcome to capitalism!


RE: Digital Downloads
By roadrun777 on 1/19/2008 12:58:19 PM , Rating: 2
OMG! Another marketing exec paid to post.

This is moronic, firstly, because an internet router is not like a car, it doesn't wear out if it's used too much. The whole idea of limitation is smoke and mirrors, the limitation is only set in place to make more money. You are arguing from the point of view that we all just need to accept it and not fight paying for imaginary ideas.

What if I divided up your house and made a new law that says your kitchen zone is not a toll area, every minute you spend in the kitchen will cost you 5$. Then, you get online and tell everyone how you think its only fair, because you don't eat that much and only fat people spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I think somewhere down the line your IQ points must have slipped out of your colon, because it seems like you've already accepted an imaginary method of control.


RE: Digital Downloads
By roadrun777 on 1/19/2008 1:00:51 PM , Rating: 2
That should read "your kitchen zone is a toll area"


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