Time Warner Cable Caps Metered Broadband Overage Fees At $75

Time Warner Cable, sensitive to the public outcry about metered broadband, has tweaked its policy — capping overage fines at $75. Does this make it all better?

Time Warner Cable (after the usual stuff about “oh no people are using the internet a lot”) says:

If we don’t act, consumers’ Internet experience will suffer. Sitting still is not an option. That’s why we’re beginning the consumption based billing trials. It’s important to stress that they are trials. The feedback we’ve received from our customers has been very helpful. We’ve made changes to the terms in our current and upcoming trial markets as follows:

• To accommodate lighter Internet users and those who need a lower priced option, we are introducing a 1 GB per month tier offering speeds of 768 KB/128 KB for $15 per month. Overage charges will be $2 per GB per month. Our usage data show that about 30% of our customers use less than 1 GB per month.

• We are increasing the bandwidth tier sizes included in all existing packages in the trial markets to 10, 20, 40 and 60 GB for Road Runner Lite, Basic, Standard and Turbo packages, respectively. Package prices will remain the same. Overage charges will be $1 per GB per month.

• We will introduce a 100 GB Road Runner Turbo package for $75 per month (offering speeds of 10 MB/1 MB). Overage charges will be $1 per GB per month.

• Overage charges will be capped at $75 per month. That means that for $150 per month customers could have virtually unlimited usage at Turbo speeds.

• Once we implement this trial, we will not immediately start billing customers for overage. Rather, we will first provide two months of usage data. Then we will provide a one-month grace period in which overages will be noted on customers’ bills, but they will not be charged. So, customers will have an opportunity to assess their usage and right-size their service packages before usage charges are applied.

• Trials will begin in Rochester, N.Y., and Greensboro, N.C., in August. We will apply what we learn from these two markets when we launch trials in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, in October, but we will guarantee at least the same level of usage capacity in these trials.

• As we launch DOCSIS 3.0 in the trial markets, we plan to offer a 50/5 MB speed tier for $99 per month.

Again, the Internet is dynamic and continually evolves, so our plans will evolve as well and aren’t set in stone. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received. We’ll look forward to more dialogue as we progress in these trials. You can send your comments and feedback to us at realideas@twcable.com.


Statement from Landel Hobbs, Chief Operating Officer, Time Warner Cable RE: Consumption based billing trials
4-9-09
[TWC]