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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 Christopher1 on 1/18/2008 11:05:21 PM , Rating: 0
That is already the case. Netflix is offering people the ability to download AS MANY STREAMING MOVIES AS THEY WANT for one flat rate.

Now, even with Divx compression....... a 2 hour movie is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of....... 1-2GB's? If you are like me and watch about 4-5 movies a week, that is 5-10GB's right there.
Add to that all the other surfing I do and the stuff I download from Usenet every month (50GB's there alone)..... and a normal person can start eating up bandwidth really quickly in the future, if not right now.
Let us not forget, I am also leaving out the stuff I get using BitTorrent (all of it legal) that adds up to between 10-300Gb's a month.
Add to that.... my game demos, which I just thought of...... 10-30GB's a month.

So, let's add all that up there..... Well now..... lookie here: on a normal basis, simply doing things that are not illegal in the slightest (and I don't do anything illegal online at all)...... I'm in the area of at least 100GB's a month, and at the high end, 400+GB's a month..... doing things that are all legal and that a normal person will be doing in the future.

Time-Warner's arguments fall flat, because they are assuming that the 'bandwidth eaters' are doing things that are totally UNCOMMON. No, the thing is that we bandwidth eaters are usually the ones on the 'cutting edge' of new programs and services, so once these services fall more into the mainstream than they are now...... their gigabyte amounts are STILL GOING TO GO UP!

The big problem here is that Time Warner wants to limit everyone to using the internet solely to surf websites and download e-mail.
That is just NOT the reality of what the normal person on the internet uses it for anymore.
I am a big-bandwidth, high-area user RIGHT NOW.... however, that is because I have done my research and found all of these things on the internet that interest me....... once the regular people find out about these services...... (LOL) 500GB's per month is going to seem like a SMALL amount to use.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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