A Glimpse Into The Future Of Broadband With Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable is running a pilot program in Texas where they’re metering your bandwidth usage and charging extra if you exceed your monthly allotment. This also gives them the opportunity to create a tiered system where you pay more for more bandwidth. Richard is a TWC Texas customer, and his story is a good example of how things work in a tiered, metered system like this. The bottom line: if metered broadband comes to your area, get used to paying extra to take advantage of things like Hulu (which is free) or Netflix video streaming (which you already pay for).

I am a concerned consumer in the Golden Triangle region where Time Warner (The cable monopoly of Southeast TX) has decided to launch testing for overage charges on unrealistic caps made for their service.

Recently I have tried to stop relying on more costly services such as VOD so I have turned to NetFlix and Hulu which both have online viewing services. These changes soon put me over the 20 GB cap for my internet plan placed in our area. I am aware Comcast is taking a similar route but their limits are set substantially higher @ 250gb. I am not trying to do anything illegal here mind you. I am just trying to find cheaper alternatives to enjoy television. I was hit with a $10 charge ($1 per GB over) and this is what prompted a phone call to them and made me aware of this new billing process they are running only in my direct service area. I was told by a rep that streaming content like NetFlix creates a “bottleneck” type situation and makes other customers suffer. I find this hard to believe since other companies who do not use this method make out just fine. 20GB a month just seems far to low for someone who uses legal online resources like myself.

To Time Warner’s credit I was credited back the $10 as a “one time courtesy” w/ the option of paying more ($10) for their Road Runner Turbo which has a 40gb cap which is still far from reasonable, or be discouraged from using my Netflix/Hulu. Additionally they gave me the signin to an online resource showing the amount of bandwidth coming from my modem each month.(their math also perplexes me in the attached picture). I am not upset with my speed as it is @ 7 MB/sec but to pay more just for more bandwidth seems ludicrous! As a matter of fact this practice could also discourage users from OTHER VOIP providers like Vonage. It seems TWC is trying to further discourage competition in an area where they are already a monopoly! If not then why didn’t they start it in someplace where there are other cable providers for competition?

Since I have no alternatives to switch since I have no use for phone and Dry Loop DSL is not available in my area I am apparently over a barrell up a creek!


P.S. I have attached a picture showing you also how their tool shows a bit of strange math on how they calculated my overages! Mind you the calculater is my exact calculations which seems very simple math! (100 (for percent) divided by 20 (gb) times the 27.56(gb) i went over. Which should give me my percentage (137.8% not 147). If I am missing something please tell me!


Edit Your Comment

  1. PirateCaptain_GitEmSteveDave says:

    If you use VOIP, does that count against the usage count? Bad if you have a teenager with the phone attached to their ear.

  2. lalaland13 says:

    Cox hasn’t pulled that crap yet, thankfully. That does seem ridiculous, and even worse, it seems like bad math. But maybe I’m missing something as well. Stuff like this might encourage people to just say screw it and “borrow” wireless from their neighbor. Of course, plenty of people are doing that anyway without being screwed by TWC.

    • smileboot says:

      @lalaland13: Its probably just a Bit Byte conversion thing id do the math but im lazy
      /me shrugs

      Its kinda like when you buy a 320 gig HD but when you install it only shows 300 gig

    • Mike8813 says:

      @lalaland13: Cox hasn’t gone this far yet, but they HAVE started punishing high bandwidth users in Kansas. Anything they deem as not “high priority” is given a speed reduction. This is another trial program in Kansas and one other state which I cannot remember.

      So basically, if I stream Netflix and start out with 4/4 bars, I’ll have my show paused once to be reduced to 3/4 bars, and again to be reduced to 2/4 bars (non-HD). This pisses me off to no end.

  3. Nighthawke says:

    If you already got it, jump on the line with TWC and INSIST on grandfathering your account so they can’t gouge you later on down the road.

    When Sprint went and slapped a 5GB cap on EVDO broadband data card service, there was hell to pay! They got cooked past well done and lost a ton of customers.
    But they compromised and grandfathered all accounts before the cap start date and mine is one of them.

    • cristiana says:

      The problem with TWC, it is difficult or impossible to drop them, as they are a monopoly in many areas (and DSL is often not even close to the speed of cable). Since cellphone companies are essentially the same, people can vote with their dollar and switch, but not so much with the cable companies.

      • Heresy_Fnord says:

        @cristiana: I agree.

        I can’t think of any place in the US where you can pick between more than 1 cable provider. Even when I was in LA, in Pasadena, it was Time Warner or nothing. Here in Nashville it’s Comcast or nothing. If you are east of here, it is Charter or nothing.

        It’s a joke that DishTV or DSL is the alternative these days. That’s like saying my alternative to my car is a motorcycle. Why not another car? Because that’s the only model you can have. Oh, and now you can only drive it 10 miles a day or pay for extra mileage.

        • West Coast Secessionist says:

          @Heresy_Fnord: It’s true that Satellite and DSL are not exactly competitors for most people, since not everyone has a place they can mount a dish, and since the Telcos are slow to roll out the faster tiers of DSL in most areas.

          However if you are allowed to have a dish, it does kick the crap out of cable. Compare the UI and features of the Dish HD DVR to the crap Motorola POS that the Cablecos always provide. Furthermore, the cost–and the promotional offers–are usually way better than the equivalent costs from cable.

  4. cristiana says:

    This is just a move to stop people from using internet video services, and steer those people to use the video services offered by Time Warner itself. This will increase the usage of PPV and VOD, and they will now get far more additional revenue from their internet services.
    This needs to be stopped, but, I have no idea where to begin, I don’t want it to come to my area (NYC). But if this is ‘successful’ I bet it will.

    • karmaghost says:

      @cristiana: I totally agree. I complain constantly about Comcast traffic management and this seems to me to be cable companies killing two birds with one stone. On one hand, they see services like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and bittorrent sucking up bandwidth and on the other, they are feeling pressure from these same services as they offer content that’s essentially competing with their VOD.

  5. Nate425 says:

    I think we all know why they didn’t try this in markets where there is competition… This is the most ridiculous system I’ve heard of, especially with such low numbers. Bad thing is that TWC will probably call the thing a success and roll it out to more markets where there isn’t any competition.

  6. Anonymous says:

    i really don’t see what the big deal is. canadian internet companies have been charging customers like this since broadband was introduced. yes, it may mean you can’t spend all day watching cookie monster sing “chocolate rain”, but given the costs needed to maintain such a network with an ever-increasing number of participants using more and more bandwith, i’d say it’s a very reasonable accomodation.

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      @UmekoHessel: So, you’re saying they have a reverse economy of scale, where more customers means less revenue? Also, what about the fact that computing power and networking equipment keeps getting faster and cheaper?

    • HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

      @UmekoHessel: No, a reasonable accommodation would be them upgrading their damn network if they can’t service the broadband needs of their customers, rather than going around charging penalties and treating you like you’re doing something wrong when you call them on it.

    • orlo says:

      @UmekoHessel: Sometimes I look at the women Canada exports, and I question my deeply held belief that Canada sucks. But then I read Canadian posts likes this, and am once again placid in my certainty. Those women are anomolies, and they LEFT Canada.

  7. flamincheney says:

    It is just a way for them to try and stop gap a flaw in their business model. If you can get TV of phone from the internet for free they lose out on the $100 a month people would’ve been paying. To make sure they still get yours they now found a way to bill you for circumventing their consumption model. This also makes users lock their networks because leeches now cost the consumer money directly.

    It is a total scam.

  8. Papercutninja says:

    How is it that ISPs are regressing to this type of billing? Does anyone remember the original system at AOL (AKA internet training wheels) where you paid for XXXX hours per month? I mean, this is stone-age stuff here…

    The reality of this is TWC is trying to figure out a way around the Net-Neutrality thing if all ISPs are forced to treat traffic equally (as it should). If they can’t make money by forcing you to use their “preferred” or “sponsored” sites, then they’re just going to charge EVERYONE based on their bandwidth usage. Win-win for TWC. LOSE-LOSE for the consumers, as always.

  9. Cyberxion101 says:

    This is how Comcast rolls as well. Fortunately the cap is substantially higher, but I have to wonder for how much longer. I see Comcast going this route as well eventually.

    • karmaghost says:

      @Cyberxion101: Comcast may have the highest bandwidth caps at the moment, but they have the worst policies regarding bandwidth throttling. And I’m not talking about their old bittorrent blocking policies.

  10. TEW says:

    Thank God that in my area we have Fios. I have never seen Comcast beg until Verizon came and forced them to compete. For some this might be a good deal. I know a lot of people who just want to check their email quickly and if they get a good deal for not using a lot of bandwidth it is a good thing. It reminds me of the cell phone plans. Pay what you use.

    • West Coast Secessionist says:

      @TEW: if they get a good deal for not using a lot of bandwidth it is a good thing

      Yeah but all the grandmas who check email once a month don’t get a discount for using LESS. They’ll still be paying their $40 or $52.95 a month for the standard plan.

      In reality for every user who uses 500% of the average there are 10 users who use 10% of the average. It all evens out, these outliers are not making them unprofitable, not by a long shot. What they SHOULD be doing is improving their networks AND trying to turn these heavy users into their BEST customers. How? By offering them to pay a little more for a FASTER connection, and not limiting bandwidth.

      I know I would pay $10 more for a substantially faster speed. Instead they make enemies of the heavy users and they are forced to change their habits and do without content because of the retarded caps.

      I know this from experience, in my city, the city owns the cable franchise and they cap us at 50MB. 100MB or 150MB can be had but they are ridiculously expensive. The next town over can get comcast’s 250MB caps for $19-$52 depending on discounts or promos. Here the 150MB plan would run me OVER $85 A MONTH JUST FOR FREAKING INTERNET. F that. I stay on the cheapest plan just because DSL here is incredibly slow (YAY COMPETITION!) and seethe in hatred at the cable company.

  11. impudence says:

    It is a strange day when Comcast comes out as the reasonable company.

    A 20gb cap is just ridiculous. I regularly stream movies from netflix and Hulu, I would be over the cap in a matter of days. I am at least fortunate to have a number of competing broadband services in my area.

  12. nataku8_e30 says:

    Here’s how their math works – their definition of gigabyte for your cap is 1 GB = 1000 MB = 1,000,000 KB, = 1,000,000,000 Bytes

    However, your usage was measured using 1 GB = 1024 MB = 1048576 KB = 1073741824 Bytes

    so, anyway, by their definition, you used up 27.56 GB * 1024^3 (GB / Btye) = 29592324669 Bytes. Then they subtracted your allowance of 20000000000 Bytes, and converted back using 1000^3 Bytes / GB to get an overage of 9.59 GB. It’s the whole 1024 vs. 1000 issue that’s shown up in all sorts of various memory rating areas (like why your 250 GB hd isn’t really 250 GB)

    • zigziggityzoo says:

      @nataku83: You get the prize! I was going to post the same thing but you beat me to it by a long shot.

      This is what’s called shady math. You’re actually over by 7.5GB, but they charge you for 9.59 rounded to 10! Ouch!

      This reminds me of the whole “.05 cents per kilobyte” crap that Verizon/Sprint/AT&T STILL pull today.

    • cannedsoup says:

      @nataku83: Wow, the real shady thing here is they measure your bandwidth using one version of GB (the 1024^3 number), and set your cap using the other version of GB (the 1000^3 number). And they make no mention of the different uses.

    • Amish Undercover says:

      @nataku83: This still doesn’t explain it. Everything is already in the same units so subtraction and addition should be working just fine.

      What you HAVE pointed out is that TWC is fudging numbers by offering 20GB that are not actually GB but instead 20*10^9 Bytes, i.e. they are falsely advertising 20GB.

      • Anonymous says:


        I’m having trouble finding an authoritative source saying that giga means anything other than 1,000,000,000. Can you help me?

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @statgrad: actually, it does explain it. the point of my post was that they are NOT using the same units, even though they are labelling them the same. the units for the cap and the overage are smaller than the units of his download – the math in my first post shows how they “converted” between the units. i am not stating that this is legitimate, i am simply trying to explain time warner’s calculation. notice that my calculated value of his data overage is EXACTLY the same as theirs. based on their system, he could use exactly 20 gb, and still be charged for 2 dollars overage

        • Amish Undercover says:

          @nataku83: I think we are running in circles. I think we are both saying that they are listed in the bill as the same units yet they are not being computed in the same units.

  13. RandaPanda says:

    I’m confused by the math here…

    Total gigabytes used: 27.56
    Total allowed: 20
    Total overage: 9.59

    Last time I checked, 20+9.59 was 29.59 not 27.56.

    To me, either they miscalculated how much he actually used, or how much he went over by. Either way, something is screwy with the math here.

    • Joeb5 says:

      unlisted upload added in?

    • dangermike says:

      @RandaPanda0283: This is almost laughably bad, except for the fact that it happened to someone.

      Here’s where the number comes from…

      If you take the first figure, and treat it as Gibibyte rather than gigabytes (that is, 1024^3 instead of 1000^3), you’ll find that it comes out to 29592324669 bytes. Now subtract 20 Gigabytes (20 * 1000^3) and you end up with 9592324669 bytes. Divide that by 1000^3 and there you go, 9.59 overage.

      There’s a long and lurid history of labeling hard drive capacity in base-10 quantities even though from a computer engineering standpoint, the base for the prefixes is typically considered to be 2^10 (1024) rather than 10^3 (1000).

      That TW would use the 10^3 figure doesn’t really surprise me. But that they can’t even get it straight on their bill… well the more I think about it, the more it angers me.

  14. Sam Oldenburg says:

    If Time Warner EVER does this in my state, we’re switching immediately. I spend all day going to websites, watching videos on youtube and hulu, and I frequently do web work where I’m constantly uploading and downloading large files. In this system my monthly bill would shoot up to over 300 dollars!

    This is bullshit. Seriously.

  15. bohemian says:

    If our local providers start pulling this nonsense we will be buying a T-1 and reselling it to our neighbors to help cover the cost.
    Any business who is thinking of adopting a business model that caps bandwidth at a time where everything is moving towards high bandwidth content is more misguided than the RIAA.

    • Thermopyle says:


      Unfortunately, a T-1 is only 1.54 mb/s. (granted that’s symmetrical)

      That’s pretty slow by the standard of most cable internet services, and then you want to split it up amongst several people making it even slower…

  16. parkavery says:

    How exactly does broadband work? I’d appreciate it if someone could pick up where my train of thought goes off the tracks here:

    Electricity is metered because the provider has to give you more power, which costs them money. Is broadband a fixed cost? Obviously you have a line going to your house; at what point does this intersect with neighbours and how does paying for broadband overages improve the system? TWC isn’t actually “creating” more broadband capacity on the line on a month-to-month basis, are they?

    / confusion

    • tanya.peacock says:

      @parkavery: I, too, would appreciate a breakdown of this.

    • theboomboomcars says:

      @parkavery: Cable internet is a shared system. The cable will carry so much bandwidth and that bandwidth is shared by every one in a part of the town. I don’t know how many people are on the same line and such. So the more bandwidth being used the slower it is for everyone.

    • rattis says:


      In a nutshell (and this is a simplified view), in the cable version. The cable on your wall, goes back to a group concentrator, usually down the street (in my area I live in, they’re green boxes). That box has a pipe to it from the provider. It’s a shared bandwidth between all people in the area. that line goes back to their backbone network.

      DSL, again overly simplified, is more of a direct line straight to the backbone (not quite but good enough for this purpose) which isn’t shared between you and your neighbors.

      So when the cable people say speed X, they mean that is the theory based on over subscription and hoping that people don’t use the net all at the same time. Which is why DSL can be faster than cable (based on the speed the phone company sells you).

  17. Anonymous says:

    Point 1: (Business)
    It’s been my opinion for some time that the cable companies will use bandwidth caps to “coax” you into viewing the cable company’s content. The bandwidth caps will ensure that you stay subscribing to their core business – content providing. Look, they have already “coaxed” Richard into using cable TV over Hulu, and he doesn’t even realize that he’s doing exactly what they want!

    Point 2: (Technical)
    Also, I think their claim that Hulu et al create a “bottleneck” is a little bit iffy. There are two ways to transfer information on the internet: TCP and UDP. TCP is a protocol that 1) guarantees data delivery and 2) actively attempts to detect how congested the network is, and use a smaller slice if the network is more congested. UDP is a protocol that 1) Does not guarantee data delivery and 2) sends out data regardless of the status of the network.

    A single UDP/TCP connection is not likely to bog down any network, even if it is a large file. The TCP connection will back off as appropriate, and the UDP ‘connection’ will just get it’s data dropped by routers.

    What really causes a bottleneck are torrents, because you have a whole crapload of connections blasting the pipe with small amounts of data.

  18. lars2112 says:

    Ok novice question, but does anyone know how much bandwidth usage the typical hulu 30 minute tv show would use?

    • calacak says:

      @lars2112: Not sure what codec it uses, but a nice Divx 30 minute video is typically around 350 megs.

    • cecilpl says:

      @lars2112: Some googling seems to indicate that Hulu encodes in VP6 at 5-600kbps. That puts a 30 minute show at about 110-130MB.

    • dangermike says:

      @lars2112: Not sure if it’s relevant to hulu, but I’ve noticed that reasonably well-encoded video files tend to use about 10 megabytes per minute. Much less than that, and the quality suffers considerably. (and FWIW, music usually takes about 1 MB/min to sound good to me, although streaming sources will usually be 40-60% lower than that)

  19. bravo369 says:

    I initially didn’t ahve a problem with Comcast’s plan for a 250gb limit because i figured that’s big enough and no one should come close. I now feel differently because because once it is in place, and FCC doesn’t have a problem then it’ll be that much easier for comcast to reduce that 250gb to 100gb then to 25gb. with a cap limit and those limits bring in extra revenue, it will be even less likely that ISP’s will want to upgrade their networks. why upgrade when you can make out like bandits from people overusing the limit on trivial online services.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I think I know how they got the %. I could be wrong, but they don’t actully give you 20GB, but 20,000,000,000 Bytes. But you have 27.56 GBs.

    20,000,000,000 Bytes = 18.62 GBs and 27.56/18.62 = 147.96%
    I can’t explain the GB overage # since that equals 8.93 GBs not 9.59GBs.

    Should also be noted that 27.56GBs / 17.97 GBs (27.56 – the 9.59GBs that you are over by) is 153.37%.

    Weird math they are using, but I would bet that they are giving you 20,000,000,000 Bytes and calling it 20GB

  21. ThinkerTDM says:

    Please, we all know this was coming. A corporation just giving away bandwidth? They have to make money too, you know.

    • friendlynerd says:

      They’re not giving it away, obviously. That’s called free. Customers are paying for it, just as they have been since the beginning.

      • ThinkerTDM says:

        @friendlynerd: My sarcastic point was, why should they charge you “unlimited” access for x dollars, when they can put a meter on, and charge you y dollars per minute?

  22. deejaypopnfresh says:

    25gb? i would use that in a week or less! forget that!

  23. YourTechSupport says:

    If the pull this shit with my service I will cancel them and downgrade to DSL. Even with the speed hit it’s not worth putting up with insane caps. I can understand throttling, but caps? I don’t think so.

  24. nakedscience says:

    LOL, ThinkerTDM . “Giving away bandwidth” — really? So I guess I don’t pay for my bandwidth every … oh, wait, I do. Yea, that $60/month I pay for DSL is totes “free”.

    • ThinkerTDM says:

      @nakedscience: $60/ month compared to a tiered pricing scheme will seem like free. You are probably too young to remember dial-up, and by-the-minute prices.

      And actually, your $60/month doesn’t cover bandwidth. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet. You can use 2 gigs this month, and 90 the next.
      When your ISP starts charging by the gig, don’t be writing here like a little bitch.

      • cerbie says:

        @ThinkerTDM: I’m not too young to remember that, but at least on phone lines, companies could have, and still do, buy service based on minutes used. Thing is, minutes per line are not far off from the way multiple users are handled on the POTS.

        The only universally fair equivalent with broadband would be charging by portion of bandwidth used during times of network congestion (IE, when the ISP would need to actively throttle users to keep everyone able t use it), which would result in often-unpredictable monthly charges, even if pricing was generally good.

  25. flamincheney says:

    Along the lines of how they bill their own VOIP plan how do they address HD content on the TV, which chews up a ton of bandwidth. Seems to me that the guy watching HD content on the tube all day everyday would soar over the limits set on interweb traffic.

    Seems to me that the preferential treatment given to their own content (voip and HD) could conflict with internet neutrality (for as long as this lasts).

  26. shepd says:

    Per GB charges just don’t make sense. It’s like buying salt at the grocery store in cubic meters. It just isn’t sold that way. There are two ways ISPs buy their bandwidth:

    – Flat rate. Generally, this means you buy a connection from Cogent, and you pay a flat charge for maximum speed of the pipe (eg: $10 per mbit). This is usually a great deal if you are an ISP and want to oversell (what ISP doesn’t?)
    95th percentile. Flows are measured over the month, and the ISP pays for the speed at the 95th percentile (eg: If the 95th percentile was 50 mbits, you pay for 50 mbits).

    You notice nowhere they are charged per GB? Yup. That isn’t how ISPs pay, and that’s why this method of charging is fundamentally flawed. How?

    It doesn’t take into account time and peak usage. The length of time a transmission takes is directly proportional to its cost. A constant 128 kbits stream over a month costs an ISP more than a maximum speed 34 GB transfer, even though they are basically the same amount of traffic. This is because it raises the 95th percentile (by definition) and requires the ISP to purchase a 128 kbits larger pipe, whereas the burst transfer only requires the ISP to have bulk bandwidth available for you for that moment.

    As far as peak usage goes a 1 GB transfer at 6 pm costs a residential ISP a *lot* more than a 1 GB, or even 100 GB transfer at 3 am. That’s because your 1 GB transfer at 6 pm is pushing through an already overloaded pipe. If the ISP doesn’t want to appear to have craptastic performance, they need to buy a bigger pipe, and it may raise the 95th percentile (if the ISP has already pegged the link, it won’t). Whereas your middle-of-the-night transfer doesn’t put a strain on the system because they haven’t maxxed out their pipe and doesn’t affect the 95th percentile because the traffic is still well below what it was during peak hours.

    So, if you want to be fair, as an ISP, you can either charge a flat rate (because you buy bandwidth from a flat rate provider), you can charge for sustained transfer, or you can charge for peak hours.

    It’s hard to transfer the 95th percentile model to consumers, since you don’t care about the consumer’s pipe being saturated, you care about your Tier 1 link being saturated. But the absolute wrong way to do it is to charge a flat-fee per GB. That is absolutely backwards to the way ISPs pay for bandwidth.

    As for apps, here’s a short list of most suckage (for an ISP) to most awesomest.

    – IPTV/videoconferencing/*tube (heavy constant stream, prime time, remote peer)
    – Internet radio (constant stream, prime time, remote peer)
    – Telephony (constant stream, prime time, remote and LOCAL peers)
    – VPN (variable stream, prime time, remote peers)
    – P2P (somewhat constant stream, not prime time, remote and LOCAL peers)
    – FTP-alikes (bursty, not prime time, remote peers)
    – Websites (bursty, prime time, remote peers)
    – Gaming (low bandwidth/bursty, prime time, remote and local peers)
    – IM (super low bandwidth bursty traffic, prime time, remote and local peers)

    You want to kill an ISP that has idiotic per GB charges? Everyone tune into some HDTV internet content at 6 pm…

    BTW: I <3 cogent. :)

  27. ScottRose says:

    “[..] to pay more just for more bandwidth seems ludicrous!”

    Disclaimer: I’m not taking TWC’s side here. I like my bandwidth unlimited.

    However: It is by no means “ludicrous”. TWC (and any ISP) have a certain dollar-cost for each byte they carry on their network. That cost is composed of a number of factors: Capital costs (more bandwidth and bytes-carried means more expensive routers/switches/etc), maintainence costs (more bandwidth and bytes delivery means more complex networks and more equipment), and upstream ISP costs (TWC connects to other ISPs to actually “get the internet” — they probably have unlimited, fixed-cost bandwidth agreements, but more end-users using more bandwidth with higer data transfers = higher bandwidth and data to upstream ISPs = more $$).

    So just like the electrical company, bandwidth (and total-bytes) is not free and unlimited for TWC.

    That being said, a cap of 20gb is not a cap on bandwidth. It is a cap on usage. In the OPs example, 7mb/s is the bandwidth. 20gb is not a cap on bandwidth, but a cap on data transfer/mo.. I just want to clear that up. But both increased bandwidth and increased data transfer/mo. cost the provider more money.

    To play devil’s advocate, perhaps the increased use of services such as Hulu and Netflix streaming are putting a greater burden on ISPs and increasing their delivery costs beyond the revenue gained from their previously “unlimited” plans. They are not necessarily acting out of evil.

  28. Rachacha says:

    I would be in favor of a metered system provided that the ISP did a couple of things first.

    1) Provided you with a tool to easily determine what your monthly usage was so you could self monitor and/or provided you with an automated E-mail when your projected monthly usage would exceen your cap.
    2)Offered lower caps for significantly lower cost. Some people who simply check E-mail or stock prices may be fine with a 10G cap per month, and would be happy to limit their usage in exchange for a low monthly cost ($7-10/month). My parents for example would love a plan like this as they only use E-mail and a few web pages, and only got High speed because surfing the internet was becoming impossible with the increasing number of graphics and videos.
    3) Offer high data caps (500-750G) at high data transfer speeds for a reasonable cost $40-50/month.
    4) Offer a truly unlimited plan with no caps for significantly more (+$200/month), you are effectively leasing your port and portion of the bandwidth for your usage.

    The pricing would be very similar to cell phone pricing where you chiise a service level based on the number of GB/month you anticipate using, but the caps have to be reasonable and the pricing has to be reasonable.

  29. hypochondriac says:

    A 20gb cap is a joke. I really hope the study fails.

  30. chauncy that billups says:

    I have a “price lock guarantee” for TWC…hopefully this will prevent them from putting caps on my current service (5 mbps, unlimited) bc they can’t charge me more than $40/month for internet. Although, I can see them saying that “overages” are outside the guarantee. If that’s the case, I’m cancelling and not paying any ETF due to their terms change.

    • orlo says:

      @Pylon83: So if your gas company starts gouging you you’ll tear out your furnace and install a wood stove? If the gas station gouges you’ll switch to an electric car or bicycle? The government regulates these semi-monopolies so the populace doesn’t have to do daily battle with the wolves of capitalism.

  31. KevinReyn says:

    Its unfortunate that the cable companies have been put in such a position of dominance over their customers, in some cases being the only shop in town. The only way to stop this kind of crap is to yank your dollars from them, in the case where you have no competition to switch to this is a very tough pill to swallow.

    I would imagine calls to your congress/senator/govenor may help?

    Or as one person put here already this looks like an opportunity for a competitor to step in. Buy a acouple T1’2 or OC3’s and sell your own service over wireless.

    Thes companies will only do what they think they can do to make money and if that is threatened they will generally back off. Get the word out in your area with other options even some not quite as fast like tethered cell phone etc. Anything that you can think of and give solid example of how this will hurt them. Recommend that they call now and say that if it is turned on then they will pull their accounts end of discussion.

    I will certainly yank my turbo/Full cable/digital phone from them immediately and I will make sure that they understand that now. I dont have a problem with a tiered system as long as the tiers are reasonable.

  32. dako81 says:

    Each story I read people say “I’m not trying to do anything illegal here” like they have to justify their bandwidth usage. The internet was created to transfer data, you should be able to transfer as much data as you wish.

  33. xdreamwalker says:

    Wow, a 20GB limit would not work in my house. I am on Comcast and use a Tomato’d router to monitor my usage. As a house of 3 adults we use about 100GB a month.

  34. TerribleDecade says:

    The future of broadband? Instead of trying to control the bandwidth, why haven’t companies increased the size to proportions of Asian size? I’m always envious of my relatives who pay basically the same price I do, and have like 10X faster speeds.

  35. darkmstr says:

    To the OP:
    I’m in your area, and have FiOS. You should see when it’s heading to your street.

    This does sound a bit like a gouging scheme to me.
    Usually, if you’re capable of pulling 20+Gb a month in data, it’s because you’re already paying a premium for broadband.
    If their reasoning about a bottleneck is true, what that really tells me about them is that they do not want to spend the money to upgrade their network to handle the additional capacity, so they are going to penalize you for using more than they feel is your fair share.

  36. ZekeSulastin says:

    … welcome to the enlightened overseas method of Internet usage?

  37. buckfutt says:

    Charter just started this crap, too. I ran a new DSL line over the weekend, getting it turned on tomorrow. Eat me, cable.

  38. Gilbert Tang, Jr. says:

    I always thought it would be difficult to dislike TW anymore than I already do, yet here we are.

  39. JeebusCripesSupercar says:

    @parkavery: Most cable broadband is a fixed-speed pipe shared between many houses. This way, by limiting your usage, there is more for the rest of the houses.

    This is really just behavior modification. If they stop you from using Hulu, you will be using less bandwidth and more will be available to your neighbor. The right way to do it, IMHO, is to upgrade the lines. But we know that’s not happening.

    Also, this is not an issue with DSL because you have a dedicated line to the Central Office. I have AT&T Uverse for TV and Net, and I like it much better than Cable.

    (Sorry if this doesn’t show up right, my reply feature is horked for some insane reason)

  40. Pylon83 says:

    Look, I think capped usage plans suck. I worked for a cable company that implemented one a few years back. That said, if you don’t like it, get your internet from someone else. Just because you TWC is the BEST option doesn’t mean it’s the only option. You don’t have a “right” to internet service nor do you have a right to unlimited usage on the service you might have. The companies have many different reasons for capping usage and charging overage fees, some of them truly profit motivated, some of them not. Switch to DSL, dial up, satellite, true wireless. But insisting that the government should step in and insist that TWC, et al provide unlimited data usage on their broadband plans is just absurd. While TWC may have a monopoly on cable internet service in your area, I assure you they don’t have a monopoly on internet service as a whole.

  41. JGKojak says:

    Its just another example of people who don’t believe in capitalism (i.e. Time Warner).

    Here is what will happen:
    1) They have an outdated business model.
    2) They try to gouge people into remaining in their model.
    3) They go to Congress and try to get a law passed to FORCE people into their model (i.e. get rid of net neutrality).
    4) They go out of business instead of seeking to innovate, all the while paying their CEO millions.

  42. meechybee says:

    Funny how TWC never thought of this before — and charged you for how many hours your TV was on. If so, they would owe me money.

  43. Papa Midnight says:

    Wow, I know I’m bad in math but even I know 7.56 =/= 9.59

  44. sinfuly Delicious says:

    Ok. screwy browser wouldnt let me reply properly. To the one that asked about VOIP with their own services. No, their modems with the built in phones actually have two IPs assigned. One for the data and one for the phone. (If you look you will see an additional MAC) It has its own allocated bandwidth.

  45. calacak says:

    Honestly, if Insight or WoW does this in my area, I will drop my broadband in a heartbeat and urge everyone else to do so as well.

    Richard should as well. These stupid caps will go away if users stood up to them.

    Going to tiered pricing to help all the customers (because of a few leechers) is pure crap, no different than the RIAA saying they protect artists.

    It’s just an attempt to prevent their network from being a ‘dumb pipe’ like the gas or electric companies services.

    • corinthos says:

      @calacak: I don’t see WoW doing it. They are having a hard enough time keeping customer as it is.
      Insight though is another story. I’ve been expecting to pull this at anytime and was even told 6-8 months ago at a Home Show that they had received info about them looking into it and trials starting up. I was told this in Evansville, IN.
      He also told it it should be happening in the next 3 months. Its been a long time past that though and I still haven’t heard of it so maybe they decided not to or that guy was just talking out of his ***.

      • rattis says:

        @corinthos: I loved wow, and would love to go back to them. The problem is, they don’t service the area I moved to.

        out of my choices in the south east Michigan area, they are by far the best when it comes to service vs cost. More channels that others don’t carry (or carry as a premium), better speeds than I got with comcast (at&t u-verse is faster but has it’s own issues), and never had problems with techs and people uncapping their modems like I did with comcast.

        • corinthos says:

          @rattis: I love Wow I live right outside of a city that has Insight but sadly I have to choose between Wow or time warner. I called retentions at wow and they uped my data speeds to their highest teir and gave me showtime, their modem and another dvr for under 90 a month after taxes. I got it for a year and should have it until July.
          Sadly their HD offerings suck though and that was one of the reasons I called to cancel and was going to get direct tv.

          • rattis says:


            They over compress their digital signal too. I’ve got a friend (who works for wow), he’s got Dish for Sunday Ticket but watches all his HD on it now.

            We watched Wings opening night this year (2008-2009 season) and the difference between WOW-HD and Dish-HD was huge.

            • Joeb5 says:

              Dish network does not have Sunday Ticket.

              Direct tv does and I had WOW cable there HD LINE UP SUCKS.

              Direct tv HD kicks there as well at a better price with a HD DRV with x2-x3 times the space.

  46. cunninglinguine says:

    Smileboot: That’s not a bit-byte conversion error. That’s because the hard drive manufacturers count 1,000 bytes to the kilobyte rather than 1,024 bytes as in reality. When scaled to the realm of gigabytes the difference is quite large. The computer reads it correctly and shows you significantly less than what it says on the box.

    Welcome to Computer Marketing Scams 101.

  47. Herbz says:

    7 MB/s? or 7 mbit/s? I would really like to know the difference here. 7 MB/s = 56 mbit/s is a REALLY nice speed plan and I don’t think thats whats being offered there.

    Also, this is exactly why I can’t wait for Verizon Fios to come to my area. Monopolies are not good for consumers at all. All they do is increase prices and you can’t do anything about it because they are the only ones who offer that particular service.

  48. Sunflower1970 says:

    I wonder how this will affect TW’s website. They advertise free online radio, and streaming video, too. If they cap, people will not be using these services.

    Wouldn’t this hurt the bottom dollar of companies such as Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, etc who offer streaming video? Including the HD video that some sites offer too?

  49. mac-phisto says:

    this is garbage. the reality is that TWC is most likely exceeding the recommended capacity of their nodes. most cable operators have been known to do this & have gotten away with it so long as most people were browsing like it was 1999.

    well, it’s not 1999 & people interact more & more thru the internet than ever before. end users shouldn’t be punished for TWC’s lack of foresight. they were getting away cheap by cramming 1000 people on a node. guess what – that ain’t gonna cut it anymore. take some of those “profits” & reinvest them in your infrastructure like you should have been doing all along.

  50. Laughing-Man says:

    Thank gawd I have Cox cable and FIOS available in my area – they EVER try to pull this crap with me I am calling Verizon. I love having competition in the area MUWHAHAHA.

    • orlo says:

      @Laughing-Man: Unfortunately competition doesn’t work that way. Once TWC sets a cap every other company will set an identical cap. Anything more generous would not be serving their shareholders.

  51. coan_net says:

    If a company is going to do this – They need to do is for EVERYONE.

    What I mean is if someone only uses 5% of the “internet cap”, then they should be paying LESS then the person who uses 95% of the “internet cap”

    But what these companies what to do is still charge everyone the same high price, but also charge extra for those who use the most.


  52. jst07 says:

    I don’t believe TWC can do this to me for some time as I’m currently contracted with them for another 18 months. However if they do try and impose this cap on me I’m switching immediately to whatever else is available.

    Times are different TWC, learn to change with them.

    And I hope my electric company has fiber optic in by then.

  53. captadam says:

    Road Runner “Turbo,” eh? So, turbines are supercharging the service? I see.

  54. Saboth says:

    Although comcast is starting at 250 gb, how long until they steadily start dropping that to 200, 100, 50…, then implementing tiers.

    Pretty sad though, on one hand Obama wants to implement better high speed internet for America, and on the other hand, you have the ISP’s crushing new technology like Hulu, online gaming, etc, in order to reap a better profit. Honestly, if I was hit with such low tiers, I’d probably do without.

  55. Cyberxion101 says:

    @ Saboth

    You and me both. Honestly I know it sounds silly, but I’d rather do without than have all this self-serving bullshit foisted on me.

    Why the hell hasn’t someone come along and asked these folks why they don’t see fit to increase the pipelines? We’re stuck in the past, and nobody seems to question it, or be bothered by it.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Cyberxion101: i would expect that time (when people start becoming noticeably bothered by it) will be coming real soon if this becomes the norm.

      it’s the usual comfort = complacence routine. so long as companies can marginalize their critics, most people will be unaffected, & therefore, uncaring.

      here’s something to think about: why is it that cable cos. have no problem piping 300 stations into every room in your house uninterrupted, on demand, 24/7, but you do a little casual surfing on ONE computer & you’re exceeding your allotment of media? something’s not right here.

  56. Anonymous says:

    This is the problem with the streaming model of intellectual property protection–you need to overload the pipes during primetime to watch TV.

    If it were possible to download the shows instead of streaming them, I’d happily set up my laptop to do it at 3 AM. Hell, I’d even accept variable pricing and work with my utility to put me in a queue and let me set up the downloads for when the pipes were least busy.

    But nope, you have MORONS refusing to innovate and protecting outdated business models. And, of course, they just lose in the end as people figure out ways past those outdated models.

    So Stupid.

  57. parkavery says:

    @theboomboomcars: Okay, that makes sense, thanks.

    But what about charging for going over monthly bandwidth limits? If the line can only take so much traffic at a given time (not monthly, but at a particular instant), the overage charges are just profit, no?

    Is it better to look at it as a penalty, as opposed to “you’re buying more bandwidth”?

  58. Anonymous says:

    I find it funny – Dial-up started up with metered usage based on the amount of time you spent online and eventually went to an unlimited usage for a flat fee per month. Telephone service also eventually went this way. When broadband companies offered the unlimited internet usage for a flat monthly rate, I thought they’d actually learned a lesson from these other businesses.

    I guess, if cable companies were to keep the current pricing for the 250GB per month “unlimited” account, I’d be okay with them offering lower tiers for less money. This would encourage cable companies to upgrade their overall infrastructure because they’d be adding many more broadband users and there would be far greater broadband market penetration. Unfortunately, I know that’s not the case.

    Seeing as I’m out of range for DSL, I guess I’ll just switch to subscribing to an unlimited data plan on my cellphone and get a 3g wireless card for my laptop. Or order an analog phone line from another provider and go back to dial-up.

  59. nakedscience says:

    I am not too young to remember Dial-up, ThinkerTDM. I am not too young to remember BBSing, either, which I used.

    And yeah, it does cover bandwidth, since I’m paying for my service.

    “When your ISP starts charging by the gig, don’t be writing here like a little bitch”

    Are you kidding me? Can we get this jerk banned? You’re realling calling me a bitch? Wow.

  60. shadowkahn says:

    Bet they don’t try that garbage in markets with fiber service. . .

  61. DadCooks says:

    Charter implemented a cap of 100 GB in my area, effective February 2009. Charter did not send prior notice of this change, just a note buried in the March bill to go online to check for changes in the TOS. No explanation of what changed. Since I have been following the “Tale of Caps” on DSLReports I knew where to look, but most folks would just be lost.

    The “Regulators” are in bed with the cable and phone companies, so we can scream and cry fowl with righteous indignation, but don’t expect the “Regulators” to side with us consumers.

  62. JustThatGuy3 says:

    It is included if you have something like Vonage, but it’s not a big deal – voice is a very small bitrate product. Even using the phone 24/7 for a whole month would only use about 2Gbytes of bandwith.

  63. JustThatGuy3 says:


    Last year, they invested more than 3/4 of their profits in their network.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @JustThatGuy3: considering they had a $7 billion loss last year, does that mean they actual removed some of their network? XD

      i can’t find any substantial information to back up this claim. they did a speed upgrade not too long ago & acquired adelphia to increase their market base, but i can’t find any information that they were increasing the number of network nodes or reducing the number of subscribers/node.

  64. cerbie says:

    What greatly disturbs me about this sort of thing, aside from the general obfuscated greed and idiocy, is the asphyxiating affect bandwidth caps like this will have on those of us who are Free software users, and IT professionals, who are currently assumed to use their home internet. Employer-paid ISP plans to match the cell phones, anyone?

    Last time the subject came up, I built a basic gaming box at Newegg: 300MB or so. Read some tech news sites: 150MB or so.

    Then, let’s say you want the whole of Debian Stable, or SuSE: you’ll blow through that 20GB cap in one night (been there, done that, discovered that Cox did not enforce that 2GB/day cap that I’d just gone over by 10+ times). My desktop and notebook can each chew up multiple GB per month in OS updates.

    Will ibiblio, kernel.org, gatech.edu, etc., be included free? In all poetic justice (IE, they are graciously giving away bandwidth), I doubt it.

    I’m not saying that’s the only way to use a lot of bandwidth (pr0n!), but a cap at 20GB would destroy my ability to get work done. I would sure be dropping any ISP that tried to pull this kind of stunt.

    Now, if they want to make it $20/month for 10GB (IE, base plan pricing) and charge a some cents for each GB, I’ll bite. GB/mo will likely correlate pretty well to bandwidth costs during prime hours, and I’m not against heavier users paying more–as long as it is appropriately more. Even a quarter per GB is way too much, though. $1/GB is a, “if only we could get rid of customers, but still get paid,” strategy.

  65. edman007 says:

    The issue is that they significantly oversell what they have, they may buy a 10Gbps connection, and sell 10,000 10Mbps connections on it, assuming the users on average use 10% of their bandwidth (which is average, 95% of people use less than that), they can do it. The problem is some people want to use what they are sold, 5% might use 100% of what they are sold, but if they do then that means the they will use 50% of the bandwidth available, which the ISP can’t handle. So they are going after the top 5% of people to kick them off or make them pay, because with the current pricing scheme those people do not pay for what they use.

    In the server marked they do charge by the byte, just like this, and there is the option of unmetered, and its easily twice as expensive as a home connection at the same speed, and they don’t have a huge infrastructure of thousands of miles of wires to support (like cable does), server companies only run the wires across a room

  66. milqtost says:

    The big trouble is, all of the ISP providers would love to go to a model like this. Broadband connections *are* similar to electricity in that TWC, Comcast, AT&T or whoever do pay a charge to their backbone providers based on how much traffic they are carrying. More customers using higher bandwidth equates to higher charges for their wholesale backbone use. Being cable or DSL or satellite doesn’t really matter – it’s more about who owns a backbone or gets better rates there. This is really no different than cell phone companies selling different tiers of service with a fixed set of minutes and charging more for going over that limit. Businesses passing the costs of business along to the customer shouldn’t be anything new to readers here.

    That all being said, 20 GB seems really low, especially since they apparently only offer one higher “tier” of service.

  67. failurate says:

    We live in interesting times. Companies constantly researching ways to alienate their customers and put themselves out of business, all for the sake of making money.

  68. mad3air says:

    I also don’t see how you’re cap is 20gb, you use 27.56gb, but you’re over 9.59gb.

    27.56 – 20 = 9.59?

  69. Ein2015 says:

    I’ve been a TWC customer since it acquired Comcast’s market in the DFW Metroplex. For years I’ve never had a problem doing things I love most: streaming internet radio, watching television online, gaming, etc.

    However, in the last few months I’ve been repeatedly disconnected for “abuse” by using “too much bandwidth.” I should note that I’ve been paying for a 10 megabit download connection and rarely do I use the full bandwidth, however there is often at least some bandwidth going (usually from the internet radio).

    Let me give some numbers. The first time I talked to the abuse department, they told me that the average TWC customer uses 40gb a month. Today, the woman tells me that the average TWC customer uses 32gb a year. I don’t believe any of these numbers. On top of that, when I told the woman that one of the things I’ve done for the past month is stream internet radio at 192kbps, which totals to approximately 55gb in four weeks, she told me I was wrong and that it barely uses any bandwidth.

    I’m moving in May to an area served by Verizon FIOS. Fuck TWC.

  70. martinmark says:

    Welcome to Canada…

    We’ve had two companies running the entire market over here that decided to both enact caps over us since 2000.

    Back in 2000 though when they didn’t have the software to accurately monitor and charge they used to just send you letters telling you to leave.

    Here’s my usage report so far for the month (ours looks a little less ominous than yours since ours is green lol).


  71. Anonymous says:

    I would highly recommend emailing or calling your congressman and complain of price fixing! The government made the phone companies give equal access to other companies to sell their service at a reduced price! Sqeaky wheel gets the grease!!

  72. Justifan says:

    obama and the dems better stop this kind of thing else they aren’t worth squat. metering something that costs less each year to offer is a load of nonsense, its not water or electricity. they’d just rather keep the cash than continue to upgrade their offerings. they’d rather we fall even further behind other countries in broadband.

  73. failurate says:


    I think our U.S. internet providers would be taking a cue from our cell phone companies and not have a charge cap. We can expect to see Consumerist articles of people getting hammered with thousand dollar bills.
    Is unlimited usage your current monthly bill + $25 (the fee cap)?

  74. JustThatGuy3 says:


    reply’s not working correctly, for some reason.

    wasn’t talking about net income, it’s a bs metric anyway – cash is what matters. they generated, after taxes and interest, about $4.5 billion in cash last year. they put $3.5 billion into capital expenditures (network upgrades, new digital boxes, and so on).

  75. edman007 says:

    Well they are causing problems, the number of actual connections has little to do with it (they can work without knowledge of connections, even for TCP). The ISP makes their money by overselling a service, you think you are getting it because the burst speed is what you paid for, and they bet that you only use a tiny amount of that. the video and bittorent sites are hard on them because those applications do not do bursts of small amounts of data, instead they are high speed and high amounts of data, and suck a significant amount of bandwidth from their uplink, since they are overselling the service a relativity small amount of people with their modems maxed can max out the ISP, bittorrent and video are the popular applications that max modems for a significant amount time (meaning a higher probability of multiple users having their modems maxed at that moment)

    • cerbie says:

      @edman007: If you can max the modem, they probably aren’t trying to screw you. 42mb/s would be nice. That said, my cable is advertised 9mb, and I’ve now broken 21mb in early morning hours (GA Tech, Virginia Tech, and kernel.org at the same time), and keep several mb during prime hours.

      Invest in the network, keep customers happy, AND STILL OVERSELL. Brilliant, amiright?

  76. Allen Harkleroad says:

    It makes me glad I have a 10mb Metro Ethernet Internet connection in my home office. While much more expensive than DSL or Cable broadband all the silly ISP jack-up charges and metered crap have no effect on me. Best of all I can ramp it to 40mb by making one phone call, anything over that and they (phone company) has to run fiber to me. Being your own ISP/site hosting has it’s advantages.

  77. Josh Kuhn says:

    @Nighthawke: Might want to double check that… I was on one of those supposedly “grandfathered” unlimited plans from Sprint and just got my first warning letter for going way over my new 5gb cap…

  78. TanKill3R says:

    20gb a month is crazy talk for home internet!!

    I use up at least 60gb+ with online gameing, Hulu, Netflix and games I buy online from Steam. I think Comcast did the right thing with its 250gb cap and Cox was thinking about a 100gb cap, should be 150gb at the least. Sucks hard for this guy.

  79. trujunglist says:

    If Cox dares to put a pay-as-you-play thing such as this they will immediately no longer have me as a customer.

  80. mac-phisto says:

    @justaguy3: i know (about the reply function). notice how i was able to reply before, but not now. ben told me to ask these guys, so i started a topic…maybe if enough of us get together on this, we can get it fixed: [getsatisfaction.com]

    anyway, i looked at their financials & read thru a big portion of their annual report (slow work day)…i didn’t see anything that explicitly said “we increased bandwidth allocation on our existing network”. hey, maybe they did. i’m not so optimistic. generally, companies don’t like to invest in capital simply to retain existing customers – they want to subscribe new ones.

    here’s an interesting article about “node overload”. it’s a little dated, but still relevant, imo (which is not, in any way, that of an expert) –> [www.birds-eye.net]

  81. orlo says:

    It’s interesting that the pilot is being done in Texas. I probably have a prejudiced impression of the area, but I imagine that the region has a lower percentage of households with multiple computers, media servers, etc., which gives the pilot a greater chance of success than if it were done in the Northeast.

  82. Triton46 says:

    This really bothers me. Why? I pay for Road Runner High Speed (not Turbo and not Lite). I’m supposed to get up to 7.5MB of download…but it turns out the key word here is “up to”. It is acceptable for me to only receive as low as 2.5MB of download. Do they send me money back if I don’t reach optimal rates? No. Do they fix the problem if I don’t get 7.5MB of download? No.

  83. trujunglist says:


    Why do I hate every comment you make? Probably because they’re all reek of douche…
    1) If a company is doing it for a reason other than making a profit, perhaps they should detail how much their overhead costs are and what not to prove to the consumer that it isn’t purely profit driven before they lose every single customer.
    2) As you very well know, satellite ISPs charge out the ass and are outrageously capped.
    3) Sure, you could go dialup, but that really isn’t an option for about 95% of people who want to, you know, actually browse websites such as this one.
    4) Several of the options you listed aren’t even available in the OPs area. True wireless? WTF does that even mean? City-wide? Stealing someone elses connection? http://www.truewireless.com which is an enterprise solution?

    Your “solutions” are about as handy as a DIY dentistry kit. Sure, you don’t have to pay for the only dentist in town, this pair of rusty pliers does the same exact job.

  84. u1itn0w2day says:

    Where the heck is the local public utility commission on this let alone the FCC .

    The old regional Bell operating companies (RBOC) were regulated into getting Joe the farmer dail tone miles away from everyone else at little or no extra cost.So what’s the difference between this modern version of the RBOC called the local cable operator -none as far as I am concerned as should be regulated as such .

    It’s one thing to charge for different services but since this ‘ business ‘ is being conducted over public right of ways so the public and/or subscribers should have a say on the corporate pricing .

    If Time Warner doesn’t have the bandwidth for their customer base then don’t sell it .If this was a physical store the company might be charged with bait and switch -they bait you in with a subscription rate and switch you to a ala carte pricing scheme .

  85. CyberSkull says:

    20GB cap? That ridiculous. How are you to watch all that streaming video they talk about in the ads?

  86. tinyrobot says:

    This is monopolistic, anti-competitive bull$#!+. They’re obviously pissed at Hulu, Netflix, Vonage, etc, and this effectively kills them all in one fell swoop. Goodbye iTunes, hello crappy on-demand TWC video? Goodbye on-demand cable-a-la-carte Hulu, hello bazillion channels I don’t want for waaay to much $$$$?

    Ugh. This is what will force me (sigh) back to Verizon for Dry Loop DSL.

    Why can’t the FCC take note that this is pretty skeezy when it comes to keeping the market competitive and free? Is there some initiative that’ll fire off faxes to congress about this?

  87. Berz says:

    I currently get my internet + TV through TWC. They pull this crap in my area my account will be canceled.

    Not only is tiered internet stupid, on top of that 20GB?!

  88. temporaryscars says:

    As a TWC subscriber, this really pisses me off. But, if or when this does go into effect, I’ll just switch to Verizon.

  89. Forkboy2 says:

    My cable company (Wave Broadband) started doing this a couple months ago. In order to get everyone to switch over to one of the new metered plans (so you couldn’t be grandfathered), they capped EVERYONE at 2 GB/day. Once you hit 2GB/day, your connection pretty much went to dial up speed. They didn’t even bother to tell everyone that they were doing this. We were just left scratching our heads when every day our Internet connection went down. At first they denied anything was wrong, then after several weeks they finally admitted to what they were doing. Then it took another month before they had their new metered plans in place to get rid of the 2 GB/day cap. Unbelievable.

    Moral of the story….watch out because I’m sure Wave isn’t the only cable company with this bright idea.

  90. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    So TWC penalizes people for using more than thier allotted bandwidth, but I suspect they don’t give refunds to people who use less.

    It’s just like the cell carriers…charge the crap out of people who use more network resources while also skimming the gravy off of people who pay full price for a monthly contract and hardly ever use the phone at all. If it was true “metering” then broadband should be practically free for people who only use it to check thier e-mail.

    It must be nice to have your cake and eat it too.

  91. MooseOfReason says:

    You guys know that with “universal broadband,” this will be much, much worse?

  92. endless says:

    fortunately, Uverse just came online in my area.

    i dont plan on switching, but if TWC pulls this on me, im out!

  93. FLConsumer says:

    I wonder how long before this cancer appears on other cable systems owned by Time Warner (like their BrightHouse Networks in Florida).

    Just a backup of my company’s website (NOT internal server) runs about 1GB and that’s just PDFs. A 20GB limit is just pathetic. Just about what I’d expect from Time Wanker actually.

  94. JustThatGuy3 says:


    Time Warner doesn’t own BrightHouse – it’s a separate company (has been for ~5 years).

  95. mariospants says:

    What’s missing here is just how much the OP’s paying for his 20Gb limit, and how fast that service is. 20Gb is heinously low and I would not accept such a limit unless the service was something like $9.99 a month or less. Truly shitty.

  96. vladthepaler says:

    You could always order cheap phone service and DSL. You don’t have to hook up the phone… phone service without making any calls is only about $10/month… sucks to pay for something you don’t use, but if your alternative is paying an extra $10/month for bandwidth…

  97. Synthesis says:

    I still don’t understand how they are able to get away with putting a limit on your service when you are paying for their “Unlimited” internet. Its like paying more for eating more at an all you can eat buffet.

    • orlo says:

      @Synthesis: There are regularly stories of people getting kicked out of buffets for eating too much. Really doesn’t matter, because they’ll just stop using the word “unlimited”

  98. Anonymous says:

    Couple o’ things:

    1. It’s most likely being trialled in the Golden Triangle division of TWC because it was someone like that division’s GM that wanted to do it. As a former TWC employee, I can tell you that the divisions basically do what they want and have very little corporate guidance. So if a division says, “We want to try making all users type with bananas on their hands,” they can do that. But it doesn’t mean that all divisions will be following suit.

    2. TWC is constantly upgrading their network, but as has been pointed out, they still oversell what they’re maximally capable of. Torrents do flood the network, it’s as simple as that. So let’s say they oversell the network by 200% based on metrics of what normal usage is. 100 users could each use .5% of the network, leaving 50% wide open. But, if one user appropriates 50% of the network you’ve got a problem. Should a business build their infrastructure to support the 99th percentile of their users? Probably not, but they should consider moving them into a different service plan.

    3. Someone said that the price for this technology goes down. Well, yes and no. Have you looked at the prices of computers lately? The top-of-the-line models are still at roughly the same price point as ten years ago! That’s the problem the ISPs face as well. Yes, the higher end stuff performs better, but the costs remain about the same and the technology demands increase with the performance. (Try running an old DOS video game on a modern computer to see what I’m talking about.)

    4. The most reasonable approach would be to simply charge customers a flat rate per bit, but that’s not going to happen, unfortunately. Numerous business reasons, and not all of them are that smart, in my opinion.

    5. Usage demands have changed, and everyone’s got to deal that. Torrents and videos have gone from being the purview of the computer elite to being something that many people are doing thanks to NetFlix, Hulu, and the like. We’re reaching a point where there’s more content available than can be reasonably accommodated.

    6. As far as the paranoiac rants about providers doing this so you only see “their” content, it’s just simply untrue. There is no workable model that makes TWC a true content provider, nor do they have an intention to be one, as far as I know.