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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 bhieb on 1/18/2008 10:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly I don't really mind the cost per meg scheme. In fact when I am on a "break" for a month or so and not gaming at all, I would actually save over my monthly bill. However if you are charging me for usage, then don't cap my speed at all. To use the electricity example if you are charging me per kw/hr then I should be able to pull as many amps as your infrastructure will allow (in this case limited by my transformer, for the ISP's by their switches, router and total bandwidth).

RE: Digital Downloads
By rcc on 1/18/2008 1:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
Nice idea, but you can't do this with power either. If you pull enough to limit other users on your substation, or enough to trip the breakers at that station, you'll hear about it.... loudly.

Unless, of course, you contract with the electric company for said service.

RE: Digital Downloads
By bhieb on 1/18/2008 1:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
That is true everything has a limit even with electric there are demand fees for high usage customers.

RE: Digital Downloads
By roadrun777 on 1/19/2008 12:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
You don't mind the cost per meg scheme? You must have rolls of logs made out of cash you throw on the fire to keep warm then.

I already pay per month prices to downloads a certain amount of mp3 media, and a certain amount of movies, plus I already pay my ISP. So under this scheme, what happens when my 30$ a month I am paying to stream movies exceeds my bandwidth? Then I pay triple exponentially?
Horrible idea.
You need to be slapped.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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