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!