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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 bhieb on 1/18/2008 1:01:34 PM , Rating: 1
First I own part of a $150mil S corp so I do agree with you on the unfairness of the sliding scale. After all my personal return has enought taxes in it to pay for a small house. I know boo whoo, but the main problem is that my actual take home is not that much. My company made money, but the vast majority of that income was put back into growing the company (an by it's very nature helping to pay some 3000 employees). Oh well at least my kids get to layoff the employees and liquidate the company to pay the inheritance tax. /rant

On to my point. Problem with arguing the tax line (and I make quite a bit so I am right there with you) is that it is not just a tax problem it is much more a spending problem. If you assume that the government will spend what they need to spend then the money has to come from somewhere. I don't think just a flat tax is the answer, as it does effect lower income people more than upper income (I have not always been fortunate I used to work for $4 /hr). Raising the $7/hr guy's taxes from 18% to 30% will greatly imapct his ability to make ends meet. I have read lots of your posts and you seem to have your head screwed on straight, so even you will see that doing this will do one of two things. Increase cost of labor because no one can afford to work for $7, or increase unemployment. IMHO It really needs to be a hybrid system part flat income tax, but mostly federal sales tax. Sales tax is the only real way to tax illegals that do not pay income tax, but uses public funds. Afterall the more a person makes the more they spend. It helps Joe average just trying to feed the kids and survive (necessities like groceries should not be taxed), because he does not pay much sales tax. It justly penalizes the rich because my luxury car is just that a luxury I don't need them to survive, so if I have to have them I pay more.

The current method is what I call forced "charity". The IRS makes me give more because the government "needs" it. The problem is that it gives it to the worse possible charity the US government. There is not a single entity on the plantet that can piss away money more effectively, including my wife!

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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