Time Warner Cable Begins Testing Metered Internet In Texas

Time Warner Cable is going ahead with a test of metered internet, starting Thursday, for new customers in Beaumont, Texas. The metered billing is TWC’s proposed answer to the problem of bandwidth hogging super users.

5% of TWC’s users take up half of the ISP’s capacity, says Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Cable’s executive vice president of advanced technology.

“We think it’s the fairest way to finance the needed investment in the infrastructure,” Leddy said.

Most ISPs already have “download caps” on their so-called unlimited use accounts, but the caps are kept secret.

From Yahoo!:

Time Warner Cable had said in January that it was planning to conduct the trial in Beaumont, but did not give any details. On Monday, Leddy said its tiers will range from $29.95 a month for relatively slow service at 768 kilobits per second and a 5-gigabyte monthly cap to $54.90 per month for fast downloads at 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap. Those prices cover the Internet portion of subscription bundles that include video or phone services. Both downloads and uploads will count toward the monthly cap.

A possible stumbling block for Time Warner Cable is that customers have had little reason so far to pay attention to how much they download from the Internet, or know much traffic makes up a gigabyte. That uncertainty could scare off new subscribers.

Those who mainly do Web surfing or e-mail have little reason to pay attention to the traffic caps: a gigabyte is about 3,000 Web pages, or 15,000 e-mails without attachments. But those who download movies or TV shows will want to pay attention. A standard-definition movie can take up 1.5 gigabytes, and a high-definition movie can be 6 to 8 gigabytes.

Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to check out their data consumption on a “gas gauge” on the company’s Web page.

The company won’t apply the gigabyte surcharges for the first two months. It has 90,000 customers in the trial area, but only new subscribers will be part of the trial.

We can’t help but think this is going to put a damper on services such as the new Netflix box, or Apple’s iTunes. It may have some pricey implications for deaf cable customers as well, as they tend to use internet video to communicate.

Then again, it does seem more honest than Comcast’s current policy of shutting down users who exceed an undisclosed monthly cap.

What do you think? Will this fly?

Time Warner Cable tries metering Internet use [Yahoo!]
(Photo: meghannmarco )

Comments

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  1. Preyfar says:

    I think it’s rather harsh at 40GB, but it can be workable. I do a rather decent amount of Netflix streaming, gaming, downloading and more and cash in at about 30 to 35GB per month. So it’s hard to say how it will affect people.

    If you’re on a metered line there needs to be a solid, concrete way to measure you cap. And it needs to be on the ISP’s end, not via a downloadable app (which are not always accurate).

    I think this potentially has more impact on households with kids than it does single users. When you have 3 to 4 users sharing the same pipe it can add up quickly.

  2. warf0x0r says:

    40GB?!? Hrm… just a shade smaller than say… a High Def movie download!

    Wonder how they came up with that number?

  3. Preyfar says:

    @warf0x0r:
    Good point on that. HD movie downloads over services like Xbox Live cash it at 5 to 6GB on average. That could seriously affect those kinds of services, and quick.

  4. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    Where is your digital distribution god now? WHERE!?!

    /kidding
    //kinda

  5. I always think, what’s the point of having broadband when you’re going to be limited by it anyways with bandwidth caps. 40 gb is nothing to some people. Oh well, when that time comes where the bandwidth cap gets even lower I just won’t use the net, or at least not at my place.

  6. TheFlamingoKing says:

    This will fly, because most people won’t hit the cap and so therefore won’t ever see a change in a bill or pay a single increased fee. No net effect = no big deal.

    Personally, I’d leave Verizon in a heartbeat if they pulled this on me. It’s the equivalent of having years and years of unlimited phone service, and then suddenly being limited to a couple hundred phone calls a month. This is a major change to the contract you signed up for, one that greatly benefits the provider since you get significantly less for the same price. But, if people don’t get pissed, that’s the sign that it’s OK, right?

    When “net neutrality” goes away it will be exactly like this. Suddenly you’ll be told you have unlimited access, but only to the Tier 1 websites – pay more if you want all of the internet…

  7. RisenPhoenix says:

    They’ve had metered internet here in Australia for as long as I can remember – but most ISP’s are nice enough not to count uploads in the running total.

    And yeah – families will feel the pinch hardest. If $SON is playing on XBox Live, $DAUGHTER is downloading music off iTunes and $PARENT goes and downloads the latest TV Episodes – you’ll run through your cap before you know it. Will be interesting to see how this turns out.

  8. 40 GB? 40 GB?

    Gosh darn, I can suck up 3 GB in a day. Of course I like my p_rn so maybe that explains my usage.

  9. weave says:

    If the excess bandwidth was a reasonable charge and the base monthly charge was dropped, I wouldn’t mind. And reasonable overage would have to be under 50 cents a gig.

  10. Coles_Law says:

    My local ISP does metered service, and I’ve had no problem with it. There are three tiers, with the lowest tier having a speed of 768 kbps and a 1 GB cap, and the highest at about 3 Mbps and 40 GB. I’m on the lowest tier, pay $14.95/mo, and only went over once. Going over is $2.00/GB. They have an easy way to monitor usage on their website, and you can pre-buy extra download/upload capacity at $1 /GB.

    It all depends on the implementation.

  11. alstein says:

    The question is what happens even the cable companies conspire to put caps in?

  12. Coles_Law says:

    *Check that. Hightst tier is 21 Mbps.

  13. darksunfox says:

    It’d be tough on me. I’m a Braves fan living in Minnesota – I stream video of the games on MLB.tv. I haven’t bothered looking at how much bandwidth it takes up (never needed to) but I’m sure if I average 15 games a month, I’d already be over 40 gigs…

  14. sn1per420 says:

    Based on what my torrent sites tell me, I’m averaging over 60GB upload and 30GB in download each month. Add to that the YouTube videos that everyone in my house watches, the occasional online gaming I do, and I’d break the 40GB cap in 2 weeks, tops.

  15. goodcow says:

    Screw that. Seriously. There were days I did 30GB alone off Verizon’s newsgroup servers. 500GB months weren’t uncommon.

  16. jimconsumer says:

    No, this will never fly. If my ISP did this I’d cancel my account that day. I’m not a “hog”, by the way, but I refuse to go back to the old days of metered service. Having to pay close attention or risk huge surcharges is bullshit. Tolerable with a cellular phone, but Internet access? No way.

    I wonder, will they credit you all the bandwidth wasted by script kiddies pounding your router? Fact is, users don’t necessarily have control over their bandwidth. How many non-computer literate people are going to get big fat bills after getting some worm they know nothing about? How do you explain to your grandmother that her $500 Internet bill for the month was the result of some hacker on the other side of the country? Do you think people will put up with this shit? I don’t.

  17. Rando says:

    I and millions of others will drop TWC and go with DSL if this happens in my area. There will ALWAYS be an alternative to cable.

  18. acasto says:

    @Coles_Law, a bottom tier of $14.95/month actually sounds reasonable and I wouldn’t mind that. If someone just does email and checks some websites, that is a great price-point.

    TW’s proposed $30/month basic is way over-priced, IMHO. They probably think that by narrowing the gap between the two, combined with the current price probably being around (more likely over) the $50/month mark, they can get people to select the higher tier plan with the addition of the limits. So basically you’d be getting the same thing as you normally would but with limits and surcharges for exceeding them. I like the idea in theory, but in reality I fear it will end up modeling the cell companys’ methods of extracting every last penny from our pockets.

  19. mayrc87 says:

    it’s going to be a serious problem in my house, I have 3 kids that download movies, music, games. Plus mine and my husband usage must be in the 40GB a day.

  20. CaptZ says:

    Ahhhhh….reminds me of the old AOL days…..

    I have to concur with acasto…..what about script kiddies and if your pc gets hit with a zombie…..or some other virus that is constantly sending data out? What about someone hitting you with a DDOS? Some things you can’t control. I see alot of fighting between tv, youtube, and some of the VOIP companies if tiers come into play in a big way. The ISP’s will be hindering the growth of so many other technologies……

  21. drewby2008 says:

    I’d hate to say this but I’d rather Comcast/Time Warner cut off the bandwidth hogs as they have been doing to give me cheaper service (not that this would result in cheaper service).

  22. arcticJKL says:

    I see no problem with this if at least 20% of the providers dont have this price scheme. If there is competition we can go elsewhere.

  23. TheUncleBob says:

    On the bright side, if you do get hit up with a huge overage because of a worm or such on your PC, then be glad that’s all you got. Perhaps this could be a bit of an “early detection” feature. ;)

  24. eain says:

    Our household is a Time Warner internet user. We’re also avid videogame players, media consumers, and one of us is a hobbyist photographer, so he does a lot of uploading. We’re easily over the 40gb mark every month.

    Needless to say, if TW does this in Los Angeles, we’ll be switching ISPs.

  25. evslin says:

    It’s less misleading than marketing your connection as limited, but the cat’s already out of the bag as far as bandwidth use goes. If you try to put a cap on it now and not have it be somewhere in the 100gb+ range, you are in for a world of hurt.

  26. parad0x360 says:

    I’d be screwed. I download alot of video online whether it be via netflix, xbox live or just trailers for games and movies. I also download demo’s for pc, 360 and ps3 and when the mood hits ill download a full game.

    I’d say I average about 80 gigs a month and thats from legal downloading.

  27. parad0x360 says:

    @acasto: Agreed. If you are going to limit downloads then you need to have your lowest tier of broadband access priced at like $10 a month for people who rarely use the connection for things other then email and a couple websites a day.

    In fact lets be 100% fair here and just charge by the kilobyte. That way the lowest common denominator doesnt get screwed.

    If my ISP started doing this I would switch in an instant, even if it meant a slower connection.

  28. 40GB? Damn, I’d be done in a one or two weeks if that.

  29. dh86sj says:

    just set it up so that additional gigs are like $1-2, and there’s email alerts when you hit 10% left and then another alert when you cross over into additional charges.

    It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material.

    the people clogging the tubes should be the ones responsible for upgrading the plumbing.

  30. Karyuu says:

    Ah, how I suddenly weep that Time Warner is the only broadband provider in my area… I’ll be praying to whatever gods exist that this testing fails miserably. I have no idea who it is they plan to market to with this, but it certainly is not the advancing technological future, whose members enjoy multiple streams of data almost constantly. Just when we have evolving services that offer to put our broadband connections to real use, we might get hit with ridunculous caps that will certainly a) handicap those who know what they’re doing, and b) wreak havoc on those who don’t.

    I can’t imagine this working out to their business advantage.

  31. junkmail says:

    Oh yeah, this’ll go over like a fart in a car. These media companies keep pushing online distribution, online TV episodes, online music, blah,blah,blah, then they say we can’t actually use it? Oh wait, no, we can use it, but be prepared to pay extra. No thanks.

  32. jawacg says:

    I think this is a have your cake and eat it too mindset on the part of Time Warner. They want you to pay additional dollars if you go over these caps set in place for the cable portion of Time Warner. But then the content portion of Time Warner wants to sell you their content with the internet being a method of delivery. So unless you have enough money that you can afford to pay penalty fees for overusage and pay for the content you are probably going to give them money for neither. And to be honest, if someone has that kind of money they probably aren’t going to be browsing the net or watching too many shows and movies anyway. They can afford to be out doing other things.

  33. coren says:

    The major problem is while there are lots of providers, many places only have one game in that town – so you’re screwed.

    And 40 gb is nothing – I burn through that in a week, if not less, just streaming and downloading legitimate content, nevermind anything illegal that I of COURSE don’t get.

  34. bohemian says:

    No. No way. Do not want.
    Between a house full of internet addicts, video viewing & downloading, online gaming and having high speed internet here at the house as mandatory for work this would be a real mess. We would switch and keep switching providers until we ran out of options. At that point we would probably try to buy a T-1 because it might actually be cheaper at $150-$300 a month. We use our ISP for connection only. We don’t look at their web portal site, use their email or anything else like that and never will. We already pay about $150 a month for broadband and digital TV and have been toying with a big dish set up to get rid of cable TV. We could probably make our money back on the T1 by setting up our own wireless ISP in the neighborhood and charging neighbors for access.

  35. hamsangwich says:

    I don’t have a problem paying more if I am really costing them a ton of money to have me as a subscriber. In fact, if they nicely sent me a note asking me to cut down usage at certain hours, etc I would probably help them out, but 40 gb is much too low for $55 a month. Put it at 100gb or even a bit higher and you weed out the high distributors on torrents and stuff.

    Is the 40gb total upload and download or just download?

  36. unpolloloco says:

    I think I’ve done 40gb in a day without torrents…..

  37. gnubian says:

    IMHO, TW is pushing the low data cap so they can maximize on the overage amounts. 40GB doesn’t target the “top 5%” .. it targets into the average user base as well.

    Even Comcast who screws with packets is smart enough to be looking at 250GB/mo limits before overage fees kick in .. [www.dslreports.com]

  38. gaberussell says:

    What’s the point of having a super fast 15Mbps+ connection if you can’t take advantage of it? I don’t need a connection that fast unless I’m downloading a lot of media, which is becoming a big part of the internet. Downloading a decent amount of video content from iTunes, streaming high-bandwidth internet radio, and downloading PS3 and Xbox360 content would use up a 40GB cap in a week or two.

    If you have to set caps, set them high enough for the average *rich media* user to stay within (100GB?), and charge a nominal fee for overages (with a warning when you hit the cap).

    Or just don’t put in a cap. It’s not my problem that the ISP can’t handle the connection they’ve sold me. It’s up to them to provide the bandwidth they’re advertising.

  39. EtherealStrife says:

    A good way to go out of business (or at least lose the market).
    For photographers, programmers, businessmen, and many other professions this would be completely unacceptable.

  40. BPorche says:

    Do not forget the Deaf/Hard of Hearing users. They rely the internet on video phone to communicate with other deaf/hard of hearing users and to communicate through video phone relay service to Hearings as well.

    I checked my usages and I have went over 60 GB a month.

    Is it reasonable for deaf/hard of hearing users to be punished to use such bandwidth for communication purpose?

    Would this happen if we (deaf/hard of hearing) users went over the cap and Time Warner decides to cap it and disable the internet, what would be the implication be if we had to make a E-911 call for emergency purpose?

    This is why I am having a hard time knowing that a cap is reasonable. I hope Time Warner has a policy for such thing.

  41. flconsumer2 says:

    Whom can we contact in order to lobby for increased regulation in the cable industry? This makes me recall the consumerist post from a while back comparing the inflation rate with the price increases in the cable industry.

    40GB is outragous. I hope the citizens in that town consider petitioning their local francise authority as well in order to put some pressure on Time-Warner.

  42. ph0sfeen says:

    I think all the cable companies are in a hurry to blame super users in order to put the squash on companies like netflix and hulu. If you control the pipes, you control the content distribution. The last thing these cable companies want is to provide internet access while the consumer goes to the open market to download content such as movies and programs.

  43. nobodyman says:

    I think that metered internet is the fairest pricing model, however, Time Warner’s execution of it could be better. I think the low-end option could be a bit cheaper

    That said, I think this model is step in the right direction and way, way, better than the scary direction that other ISP’s are leaning towards: pricing based on where you surf instead of how much you surf.

  44. whydidnt says:

    At least they are being upfront about it. I wouldn’t have any problem at all IF there was true competition among internet providers. Unfortunately, most of us have just one or 2 providers to chose from. The Government has granted these companies a monopoly by regulating who can run cable/phone in the streets. Until we have true competition, we’ll all continue to be screwed by Comcast/Time-Warner, etc. If you don’t like it, talk to your local regulatory agency and tell them you want more choices.

  45. LionelEHutz says:

    If TW implements this widely, they will have customers leaving in droves in areas where they have a choice of ISP’s.

  46. nobodyman says:

    @BPorche: That is a bit of a strawman argument. Most deaf people use TTY/TTD services, instant messaging and email for communication, not video chat.

    Besides, the bandwidth for videophone communication is (usually) pretty narrow, like 50k/sec, since you’re constrained by the upload speed of all parties in the call. You’d have to log hundreds of hours of video chat before you hit your limit.

  47. bravo369 says:

    i bet this could hurt services like netflix and other sites that provide streaming media. I guess they have no recourse in which to sue cable companies for loss of revenue. I know, depending on price, that i’d probably cut out netflix streaming rather if that’s all i had to cut to stay in a lower bracket.

  48. nobodyman says:

    @BPorche: Also, keep in mind that “cap” doesn’t mean that they cut off your internet after you’ve reached your 40GB cap. It just means that they start charging $1 for each additional GB that you go over.

  49. jld says:

    This just goes to show how deregulation has allowed the telecommunications industry to take advantage of us all. In every other industrialized country broadband is getting cheaper as it gets faster. In the US they’re tightening the noose. Soon the internet will be so controlled by the ISPs that we’ll only look at the sites they want us to see at the speeds they want us to see them at.

  50. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    Yeesh, Now I have to find a backup plan.It is Roadrunner or dialup for me. There is no fancy options for this part of town.

    One thing old Adelphia customers get. Spam and lots of it. They do nothing about it. On my main account they say I have to use. I get on average 400 spams a day. I called them once. How silly of me.. Lucky for me. I have my own domain and use my own IMAP.

    I am not a file sharer, but I have in the last four days being up. Used 3.2 down and 1.9 up.That is just for this machine. Now when I start to upload the big files to the site I just got done with. I will easy break 10GB for the week. Keep in mind, that I am married and my wife games online and is addicted to youtube. So we burn or will burn up around on average at the least 80GB a month.

    I am going to just dread having to go to that dumb portal page they have. Sicne i am not a Windows user. No silly down loadable app is going to work. Plus the fact, it would have to be on every machine in my home. I could cobble up something for my router. But if the meter was not set so low. I would not worry at all.

  51. alexdudleyTWC says:

    Lot’s of good comments here. Remember, this is a test, and we will learn many of the things being discussed in real time. I think those participating in the test will find us fair to deal with through the early stages of the trial. One point, this test is set up to affect the top 5% percent of users, so either alot of Consumerist readers are heavy users, or some have the wrong idea about how much badwidth they really use. As always, feedback is welcome. alex.dudley@twcable.com

  52. Valhawk says:

    If Verizon pulled that shit around here I would cancel every service I have with them.

    If you could get enough people to not only drop their internet but their new Tv and landline/cell phone service; then you could get the message across.

  53. farker says:

    Why not let users choose from a set of speeds and caps? Certain combinations would yield higher prices, of course.

    I think we’re on about a 2.5-3.0 mbps connection from TW (via Earthlink) and pay $45+taxes a month.

    I think between my parents and myself we probably only hit about 20-30 GB a month, but that’s just an off-the-cuff estimate.

    15 mbps and 40 gb? sounds great for us, but why not let users up their cap for an additional $10 or $15 a month, for example?

  54. BPorche says:

    @nobodyman: While you are true about other means of communication, what I would like to consider is that video phone is becoming the standard for Deaf/Hard of Hearing users.

    I do admit that not only I video phone but I use the internet to stream my surveillance so that I can check up on my home while I am away and I play games online as well. The reason I brought up the issue is to see whether it would poses a dilemma of having a cap on bandwidth for anyone.

    I am hoping that Time Warner would explain exactly what their package offers and how they go about it. I believe if they do that then a lot more people would probably be receptive to the idea of a bandwidth cap.

    In business school, the most successful business strategy/plan is when the customer is well informed about the plan itself. Take a look at home mortgages, credit card, etc…many people have been screwed because either they are an idiot to know what is being offered to them or they have been duped.

    So my argument is, either Time Warner opens up more about their business idea or we will have to fight to know what exactly Time Warner plans to do with their idea in the near future.

    Anyone can direct me to Time Warner’s information about bandwidth cap is greatly appreciated. I cannot seems to find it though.

  55. kellyh says:

    No, No, No.
    This is unacceptable. Simply and unequivocally this cannot be implemented. The internet is quite literally turning into the last bastion of unregulated freedom we have in this world. It is what connects us, informs us, and protects us from increasingly overreaching governments.

    By metering internet usage you are forcing the market to start down a slipper slope. The first steps always seem innocent, but I promise you, soon enough it will be worse.

    The internet has to be considered one of the greatest achievements of man. It should be celebrated, shared, and improved. Limiting usage can be looked at no other way than a step in the wrong direction.

  56. Imhotep says:

    What? Did they hire back the AOL Marketing people who came up with the old per-minute usage-based service plans? That’s SO 1995.

  57. Jesse says:

    @Imhotep:

    Yeah. Let’s bring back the CD’s in the mail also while we are at it.

  58. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    @farker:

    I pay around $55.00 a month in my RR market for what is 14480/714. Minus the web page lagging and packet loss all the time.

    Adding more cost is rather repulsive to me. I need 80GB to be comfortable and have a bit of overhead.Since both down and up are combined.If the meter was set at 80. I would not mind one bit. Even 60 is low, but I would not sweat it.

    With that cost. I might as well lease a T1 or go with the business package.

    I just hope the test market fails and they at least raise the meter up to a reasonable level.Most legit users need way more.This will effect more than just the 5% crowd.

  59. LUV2CattleCall says:

    It’s a good thing TW doesn’t offer phone service, movies on-demand/PPV, etc….otherwise there would be a conflict of interest since this is pushing out VoIP, Netflix on demand, etc…. {rollseyes}

  60. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    I’ve only heard one or two people identify the biggest problem of this scheme.

    The lack of infrastructure upgrades that will certainly come if they get away with this. Look at other countries that are getting crazy fast internet connections for pennies! If they put in place this silly metering or tiered internet and it gets accepted by the mouth-breathing masses, it’s only a matter of time before these monopolies STOP upgrading.

    What the hell ever happened to all that dark fiber they laid in the 90’s? My bet is, it’s still dark and for no real good reason other than greed.

    Ever since Comcrap began the traffic shaping and cutting off people, I’ve been on a personal campaign to inform all of the non-techie people in my life to avoid using them as an internet provider. Other Consumerists should do the same in areas where there are options.

    Many people will ask me what ISP I use and they’re usually shocked at what I pay. My ISP costs me $70/mo for a 6/768 DSL connection. I always get a dumbfounded look and then grilled as to why I pay so much. My response? They’re a local ISP, they provide me with static IPs, they don’t fuck with my connection and above all, when I call, it’s not India I’m talking to or some other mouth-breathing screen reader asking me to tear apart my network because they can’t think beyond their script. I have never been lied to about connection failures or have had to jump through hoops to get problems resolved. Most problems are resolved in a reasonable amount of time, and I always get a follow up call. Worth every penny I spend on internet.

    Cable companies can stick it where the sun don’t shine, as far as I’m concerned.

  61. coren says:

    I think it’s hilarious that they’re pitching this as the fix to the infrastructure costs – “HEY GUYS GIVE US A BUNCH MORE MONEY AND ITLL BE GOOD!” and then, when/if this is implemented, they won’t need to upgrade at all because it’ll be cost prohibitive to overtax the infrastructure.

  62. CaptZ says:

    BTW: If you read the article, they said that this would effect the cable companies offering of internet only. Not DSL, or FIOS, or U-Verse since the system they use is vastly different than cable. With cable, you share the pipe with everyone on your block basically.

  63. vancedecker says:

    I wish someone would stop these assholes before it’s too late.

  64. alstein says:

    @alexdudleyTWC:

    If this is a test, I hope it fails. I don’t mind you going after heavy users if they’re doing something illegal- but I see this as deceptive advertising.

    One warning: I have you guys right now. If you EVER put this on me, I’m gone forever, and I’m going to satellite TV as well. I have enough worries in life, worrying about how much bandwidth I’m using is NOT going to be one of them.

  65. MercuryPDX says:

    (Hugs his DSL line tight) Don’t ever leave me…

  66. jerros says:

    I’ve been a TWC customer for over 6 years now. I was even considering rolling over to the digital phone service and getting the “whole package” as it would save me a few bucks on my phone bill.

    But the thought that “metered internet service” is just around the corner for TWC customers absolutely disgusts me. I’ve been “Meter” free since I canceled my AOL subscription during the 90’s and now they want to revive the “metering” zombie?

    The average download speed for internet here in the US is 1.97 megabits per second, other nations such as Japan have download speeds of 47 megabits per second, South Korea has 45 megabits per second, France gets 17 megabit, and even Canada bests the US with 7 megabits per sec on average.

    Yet the costs for our internet service is on average double or tripple that of these nations with much faster access and for the most part we still have wide areas where no one has access to highspeed internet.

    I remember the “suprise” bills from my AOL & other ISP services during the 90’s when I downloaded a new game demo. These days you can do practically everything online from photoediting with adobe’s web based photoshop application, to watching videos, to downloading the 2.0+ gig game demos. The idea of “metered” service to me is absurd, and in my opinion it’s just TWC looking for a way to make a quick buck with out having to improve their infastructure, improve their customer service, or offer higher speed net access.

    If this “test” ends up being something that TWC rolls out in the future to other non texas locations, I’ll be canceling my cable/roadrunner accounts and looking elsewhere (Verizon FIOS, Sattelite, and DSL) for a service provider who will provide me with all the services I want, at a decent price, who won’t penalize me monataraly if I happen to exceed some arbatrary bandwith limit 1 month out of the year.

    “Metered” internet service died out in the 90’s. Please let the idea rest in peace.

  67. endless says:

    makes me really hope sprint pulls off wi-max

  68. mikells43 says:

    come on now. this is crap. if time warner is going to do this then all cable companys are prob going to start it cause everyone seems to mock each other these days . its so sad

  69. Cliff_Donner says:

    As an admittedly old-school freakazoid — and the most recent I checked this was probably over 10 years ago — can’t you still get “metered service” for your land-line telephone from AT&T (or whoever your local conglomerate is)?? Meaning you pay a very nominal flat fee, and have a per-minute charge on top of that?

    Again, still freakazoid — I somehow have it in my head that you can still get a telephone land line at a “party line” rate? Do “party lines” still even exist? (And I’m not talking 976- — tho’ even that may be dated . . . I’m talking Rock Hudson and Doris Day . .. )

    Anyhoo, as far as internet goes, I don’t know that the idea of “metered service” is so novel . . . and I’m not saying it’s not going to happen, but if it does, it may well just another stage in telecom, like the “Pillow Talk” days of the 1960’s . . .

  70. Trai_Dep says:

    Didn’t AOL use this model back in the dial-up days?
    Weren’t they left behind the first time non-metered internet providers appeared?
    Sort of like putting the toothpaste back in the tube, once they’ve sold their service as buffet, only to slap down a bill when you leave saying, “Full menu prices. Sucker!”

    I hope any Texans that are part of the “experiment” raise bloody hell. Geez, they’re Texans – shoot up some corporate offices or something. Remember the Alamo!!

  71. Concerned_Citizen says:

    This is insane. Currently cable companies are charging ridiculous prices for internet. 50-60 a month, while dsl is 15-25 dollars a month. To set any kind of cap when the customer is already paying a 30 dollar premium is disgusting.

  72. coren says:

    @arstal: If this is a test, I hope it fails. I don’t mind you going after heavy users if they’re doing something illegal- but I see this as deceptive advertising.

    Comcast, when it caps you on unlimited, that’s deceptive. This, well, they’re telling people they have a cap. That’s not deceptive – it’s only deceptive if you say you’ll do one thing and then do another.

  73. ByeBye says:

    I have Cox Internet. I get a measley 2mbps per second for $24, that’s with tax. @Concerned_Citizen: So, this comment is not true for 50 to 60 dollars a month. I also live in Oklahoma, but yes, I totally agree that a cap on internet is ridiculous.

  74. marzak says:

    In 1 day and 20 hours, I’ve already hit 14 gigs out and almost 5 in. I haven’t done much on the internet.

  75. temporaryscars says:

    I’ve been a TWC customer for two years and I simply love them and their internet service. That is why is saddens me to say that if they implement this capping system, i’ll have to cancel my service and switch over to Verizon Fios.

  76. kyle4 says:

    I’m in Canada and with Rogers and my limit is 60GB a month. The highest they offer is 90GB. The PS3 demos and iTunes and even Youtube chew up the bandwidth like mad. Just watching Youtube 6GB was burned in a span of three days. I didn’t even watch that many videos. It’s awful.

  77. aikoto says:

    Utter crap. That’s why they have the tiered service speeds of 768 versus 1mbit etc. If they want to enforce a limit, do it transparently with a bandwidth cap, not a download cap.

  78. bohemian says:

    @alexdudleyTWC: Anyone with kids, or a Netflix account, Xbox live or that kind of thing will get hammered with this. This isn’t just the heavy geek type users that could get hammered. People who work from home even part of their week could use up these caps fast.
    All this tells me is to avoid TWC like the plague. If it becomes a trend with cable companies I will be running back to the arms of the phone company.

  79. SkeptiSys says:

    Everyone will pay tremendously for this to large companies. Small and independent businesses that need to transfer databases and files will find it tougher to compete. If you distribute your own music, or videos, or software – there is a surcharge on using your service. Technology and software updates are using up much more disk space than ever, wait until better visuals become available – we will go through 40 gig in a day just browsing and updating our OS.
    We need to fight against this now.

  80. So, you still have a monthly flat fee, with a surcharge over 40GB. Gee, I thought for a minute the fee would be lower, but with additional charges per GB so that light users could catch a break. Silly me.

  81. Xmar says:

    Unacceptable for many reasons.
    From script kiddies being able to hammer your line knowing that you will be forced to pay big $ for their stupidity to the absurdly low cap.

    It seems that TWC is surprised that people do more than just check their email & ‘logoff’. I am now researching alternative ISPs. Luckily I have options in my area.

  82. cerbie says:

    Monday, Leddy said its tiers will range from $29.95 a month for relatively slow service at 768 kilobits per second and a 5-gigabyte monthly cap to $54.90 per month for fast downloads at 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap.

    Sorry, but this is not metered. They are just setting caps by plan.

    What we need are network upgrades, not new billing schemes.

  83. silentnight913 says:

    A 40GB cap? Pffttt. In AK, if you don’t subscribe to the full tv/phone/internet package, which comes to around $160, the cheapest option is 1 Mbps for $50. It is capped at 5GB. You read that right. A 5GB cap on internet use. AND for each Mb over they charge half a cent. I went over one month by 7 gigs, and received an $87 bill (my fault, but still a surprise to see). The $99 dollar plan is oh-so-generous with a 25GB cap.

  84. cerbie says:

    @CaptZ: which you also do with the other technologies (I don’t know to what degree with fiber, though). Cable is pretty easy to expand, too. But, see, if they make it where it is cost-prohibitive for you to ask for more to use, they will be under less pressure to expand and upgrade. This will allow them to add platinum gilding to their gold parachutes.

  85. coan_net says:

    I like it just for the fact they actually TELL YOU WHAT THE LIMIT IS!!!!

    Now I have a company pissed at me because I use too much…. but won’t tell me how much is too much, so it is hard to lower it since I don’t know how much to lower it. (It is simple enough to limit the traffic on BitTorrent and such to be within a limit…. but of course you need to know the limit before you can use it.)

    I don’t think I would do well within those limits listed… but finally, they are going to a plan that actually lists the limit and lets the consumer have some control.

  86. Chigaimasmaro says:

    This seems to be a combination of what AOL did previously and what cellphone companies are doing now. Broadband ISP’s did NOT compensate properly for the growth of their consumer market since DSL came into existence. I’m sure TimeWarner, Verizon, Comcast and the like saw the same press releases we did about up and coming internet technologies. The proposed 40gig cap is terribly low, especially for the rapidly expanding HDTV technology. The internet is going to feel terribly restricted again, just like it did in the AOL days. As was previously mentioned, such a CAP works only with households that have one or two people or that are just using E-mail and very limited web services. I know people who use enterprise services from home are gonna get socked, unless their company picks up their internet tab; Citrix is a bandwidth hog!

  87. theora55 says:

    When I 1st got Time-Warner’s Roadrunner service, they promised speeds in the 10 megabit range, and unlimited use. This was quite a while ago, as my area was a beta site. Now they throttle bandwidth, and want to meter. Bad decision. They want to pry more subscription money out of their infrastructure, but they’ll also make us hate them enough to seek alternatives. If they need to meter it, they should make it really cheap, and provide services that compete with Netflix and others, at a reasonable price.

  88. gqcarrick says:

    What a bunch of crap. If TW does this in NY I am absolutely screwed since we have no viable options. Fios hasn’t reached my house yet, and its not like Verizon has the best installers in the world anyhow.

  89. SkeptiSys says:

    If I pay Time Warner for 20Mg/s download speed – I use up 40 Gb in about 30 seconds, half a minute! If they mean a cap of 40 GB, then it will take 4 hours to reach the cap. This is just horrible news for any internet user.
    Youtube and many other businesses could never have started if this were in effect.

  90. edrift101 says:

    This just pisses me off.

    IF Comcast tries this – I’ll be looking for another service provider.

  91. MrEvil says:

    y’know, it might be acceptable if these companies would make a good faith effort to begin improving infrastructure. Of course, this is a total cop-out on their part. They make more money and spend approximately $0 on improving infrastructure. The government does need to step in in this case since they seem entitled to taxing us for cable television and phone service. If the government stopped telecom taxes then I wouldn’t complain and expect them to do anything. As long as they feel they get a cut they better do something about this.

  92. psychos says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. 40GB for the highest tier is beyond stupid, as many people legitimately use well over that. I myself got a nice call from Comcast last December for going over their untold cap, and got the usual “we can’t tell you what the cap actually is” bullshit. I would hope their highest tier would have AT LEAST 100GB, and hopefully more. Vague reports say that Comcast actually sets the cap at 200GB. Paying $52.95/mo for their “premium” 16mbps service (which is in fact completely stupid to sell on a DOCSIS 2.0 system where I’m sharing 38mbps of bandwidth with many other users, as almost all cable Internet subscribers in the US are), I could exceed the “cap” in just over a day.

    If my cap for residential Internet was 40GB, I would no longer be a subscriber. My parents live in TX and have Time-Warner, so if I was to go visit them for an extended period of time I’d certainly have to watch my bandwidth consumption. So, fuck you, Time-Warner.

  93. gqcarrick says:

    I used to work for Adelphia before it went under, we were told that the cable companies make next to nothing on TV because of the rights they have to pay ESPN and other companies to broadcast. However their return on cable internet was 90%, so they should have plenty of money to spend on improving infrastructure without having to redo rates and screwing their customers.

  94. cosby says:

    As others have said this is a joke. With more and more media being pushed to the internet via legal ways this will only start to piss more and more people off.

    I can look at my last months transfer as an example. I bought House season 4 off amazon as I missed half of it on tv. That was like 13 gigs right their. Would have been more but I didn’t download the portable copies of the shows as well. Downloaded a new linux iso at another gig after updates. Downloaded a few microsoft isos for a project I’m working on(from MS via volume licensing). Also downloaded a few games off xbox live to demo. Between all of that I’m at around 30 gigs of transfer and all of it was legit and legal. Yea 40 gigs a month is nothing.

    I personaly hate the idea of a metered system. Sure people can say if they had a 100 gig cap it would be fine. The issue is that 100 gig cap will remain that for the next few years and will not go up as needed. Maybe 2 years from now a 800 gig cap would make more sence because of upgrades and more stations going to streaming media. You think Time Warner will adapt that fast? Hell no. You will still be capped at 100 gigs or if you are lucky 200. We need to be lookin into the future not into the past. As the services get cheaper unlimited becomes a better option for the customer.

  95. axiomatic says:

    “We think it’s the fairest way to finance the needed investment in the infrastructure,” Leddy said.

    Hey Mr. Leedy… thats what the subscription fee is for. If Comcast ever does this I WILL switch to AT&T even though I know AT&T is violating my civil rights.

  96. P_Smith says:

    Their “caps” weren’t decided on because of a lack of transfer capability. They were chosen because they increased profit and “sounded reasonable”.

    Odds are, they looked at the users and broke them down into ranges of groups based on how much they transfer.

    “A lot of people are using this much bandwidth, so let’s set the price range jumps *just* below that much. It maximizes the number of people who will have to pay higher amounts! Increased profits!”

  97. Burgandy says:

    So happy we ditched TWC last year. How am I supposed to watch entire seasons of a show in a day with a 40 gig cap per month? Pshaw! Do they actually expect me to get dressed and go to the theater to see this week’s new releases? These people are crazy.

  98. elislider says:

    what good is 15mbps if you only get 40GB? you could use that up in less than 8 hours, or even faster if youre uploading simultaneously.

  99. forgottenpassword says:

    and so it begins. :(

    ah well…. I love my multiple unsecured neighborhood wifi networks!

  100. So Many years after the merger fiasco, Time Warner has finally turned into AOL.

  101. termdeath says:

    I would blow through that in no time flat. I would have to switch ISP’s, but then again I suppose that I am the exact kind of user that they wouldn’t mind getting rid of. I imagine I would have to fork out for a dedicated T1.

  102. skeleem_skalarm says:

    Won’t fly with me – we’ve got 4 people (2 adults, 2 kids) using the same 15 mbps, so, no, won’t go.

  103. Nev-in-NYC says:

    Another thing that just dawned on me is that this could really create a scenario where jumping on a neighbor’s or stranger’s unsecured wireless network could have grave repercussions. While it seemed silly a while back to have trespass actions against wardrivers this could be a justifiable reason for such suits.

    Imagine this scenario: Mr. Peterson, the friendly old man who just got a laptop and wifi setup in his apartment opens up the bill from TWC and instead of his usual $50 or $60 sees a charge for $120 because it turns out that he failed to secure his wireless network and Billy across the hall has been downloading like crazy over his connection. Assuming that he can even figure out who was responsible for the bandwidth usage he’ll likely sue Billy, via his parents for the fees.