Ars Technica reported yesterday about a memo from Time Warner Cable (that first showed up on a DSL Reports forum and has since been verified by Retuers) that indicated TWC might soon launch a trial program of bandwidth caps and tiered pricing, aka “Consumption Based Billing.” Ars Technica notes that the program might be TWC’s attempt to avoid using FCC-baiting traffic shaping or unpublicized “nebulous” caps to reduce bandwidth congestion—but of course it also gives the company an opportunity to charge high-volume users proportionally more. Sort of puts a damper on the whole future of downloadable movies, doesn’t it?
Under the proposed scheme, new customers will be able to choose from a couple of different plans with varying bandwidth caps. They’ll be given online tools to monitor usage and will be able to upgrade to the next higher tier of service to avoid charges for exceeding their monthly bandwidth limit. If the trial works well, Time Warner would then roll out bandwidth caps to current customers: “We will use the results of the trial to evaluate results for possible future nationwide rollouts,” reads the memo.
The company believes the billing system will impact only heavy users, who account for around 5 percent of all customers but typically use more than half of the total network bandwidth, according to a company spokesman.
(Thanks to Mark and Zen!)
“Time Warner to test Internet billing based on usage” [Reuters]
Original forum posting [DSL Reports]
(Photo: Beige Alert)