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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: I buy that for a dollar.
By roadrun777 on 1/19/2008 2:02:34 PM , Rating: 2
It won't really apply to the regular guy, just the evil guys that are hogging it all anyway.

I don't think you understand how a router works. There is nothing to hog, it's all virtual. It's made up! We are running so far below our actual capacity that this will never apply, even if every household used their connection to the max, we still wouldn't be hogging anything. We have so many fiber optic lines that are not in use it makes me cry.

Right if that is the problem just disconnect the service to that 5%. But their answer is that we will just charge you all for your use. And when you all start using lots more bandwidth (like that evil 5%) you get to pay for it.

You have it wrong again, they will charge you a set price no matter what. So you are under the impression that those little electrical pulses from your cable modem require a REAL commodity to go a certain speed, like gas or something? Gas is real, bandwidth is made up. I have a DOCSIS cable modem that is capable of 30mbits per second, but it only runs at 4mbits per second. Is that because of some mega bit shortage? NO. They could run it at it's full capacity if they wanted too, but it's about money. Getting money from every inch of imaginary distance.
By the way, they will never disconnect those 5%, because loosing their money would be a loss of revenue, and as we all know, its not about speed or quality, it's about how much revenue they make.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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