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Summary:

Time Warner Cable and AT&T are busy trying to force their vision of the metered Internet onto consumers, taking small but vital steps towards a time when all data is going to be metered in methods no different than current utilities. Of course, they (and other […]

Time Warner Cable and AT&T are busy trying to force their vision of the metered Internet onto consumers, taking small but vital steps towards a time when all data is going to be metered in methods no different than current utilities. Of course, they (and other incumbents) will continue to dress up their desires in legal mumbo jumbo that no human can actually understand.

Yesterday, according to a Reuters news report, AT&T Senior VP Robert Quinn got in front of U.S. regulators and said that the company would offer “non-overlapping tiers of broadband service, rather than its current offerings which go ‘up to’ varying speeds of data transmission.” He went on to add that, “When we provide broadband services based on speed, we will do so in discrete tiers that are disclosed to our end-user customers.”

Translation: We are going to segment and meter the broadband service.

Our buddy, Karl Bode of DSL Reports, is tracking Time Warner Cable’s tiered Internet shenanigans and yesterday he reported that the company was using some cheap tricks in their marketing in Texas to make current customers buy into overages and bandwidth caps. They are doing so by offering a 12-month discount bundle for their triple-play services, except this so-called deal comes with this rider:

Road Runner Standard package provides 7Mbps service and includes an Internet usage consumption allowance of 20GB per month. Although the initial 20GB plan is price locked, Internet usage above the consumption allowance is not and will be billed at $1 per GB per month.

Now that is dirty rotten trick, especially since that information is buried inside the fine print. Given that they can’t tell this to consumers with a straight face, TWC’s sleight of hand is distasteful at best.

Related Stories:

* Why Metered Broadband Is Bad for Microsoft, Google & Us.
* Bandwidth Barons Want More Money for Fewer Bytes
* Why Tiered Broadband Is the Enemy of Innovation.

Photo courtesy of Svadilfari via Flickr

  1. Wasn’t metered net access cited as an impediment to Europe’s net growth during the mid-late 90s? My memory isn’t great, but I thought I recalled reading that as justification for fixed ‘up to’ pricing in the US contributing to net traffic growth.

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  2. it is just like when the cable giants (the two of them) moved beloved channels from their basic tiers to their higher priced tiers.

    the see dollars in streaming movies. they will succeed in capturing consumer’s dollars without fear of regulation, loss of money or simple niceness.

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  3. I understand the meter analogy, guys, but the picture stretches it just a bit (and we’re all sick of hearing/talking about high gas prices). Please use more relative artwork for your articles.

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  4. Janis,
    Don’t sweat the small stuff – it is all small stuff
    -P

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  5. I transfer data back/forth from my blogs & websites daily. For me, the equation is simple: Metered Internet = Timid Users = Massive Reduction in File Transfers = Massive Reduction in Services that use Audio & Video replay and downloads. Not good on any level…

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  6. Pure collusion. Competitors are not supposed to be acting in concert like this.

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  7. [...] 22nd, 2008 (11:00am) Mike Gunderloy No Comments Our parent blog GigaOM is doing good work covering the coming rise of metered internet plans for consumers. If you haven’t followed the [...]

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  8. It is way to trap the customers into a limit then allow them to go beyond the limit and charge them at $5/min for going beyond the limit, like they did for mobile consumers.

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  9. [...] and specifed that I wanted posts with all of the terms in my phrase returned. Today’s good post on our parent site GigaOm on this topic was at the top of my list of results, with an Authority [...]

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  10. [...] this be a plan to meter access to the World wide web in a way similar to how gas and electricity is delivered? Possibly. The big companies would surely [...]

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  11. [...] this be a plan to meter access to the World wide web in a way similar to how gas and electricity is delivered? Possibly. The big companies would surely [...]

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  12. [...] that cable companies are starting to shift to in the US. Here’s a quote from an article that he posted recently: Road Runner Standard package provides 7Mbps service and includes an Internet usage consumption [...]

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  13. this really stinks.

    but one thing i have never understood. why offer different speed levels combined with overages? it makes sense to me that if they will be charging overages they would want maximum usage on all accounts. this would be more likely achieved if all account had the maximum possible speed. what they offer would be equivalent to offering static full phone calls for those on low minute usage plans and crystal clear voice on higher usage plans. does not make very much sense was the meter is turned on.

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  14. at the end of the day this is going to shut down nearly all the free hot spots in small coffee shops, cafes, etc. only the brand name commercial places like starbucks will be left with wifi. and of course people who now willingly leave their wifi open for there neighbors will be unlikely to continue doing so as well as small hotel and apartment complexes with lobby wifi from cable/DSL.

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  15. I published my take a few days prior. If we really get metered bandwidth across the board a lof of things will begin to shift. This is a very drastic outlook but some if it will come into place: http://tinyurl.com/62exq2
    Not looking forward to it at all…

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  16. Mr. Malik,

    Can you please write a post about a huge emerging market, i.e. India and the metered tiers for broadband pricing there?

    Thanks,

    Nithin

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  17. [...] already stopped using, and won’t ever use again. And then don’t say anything about metered services, or paying for QoS or traffic prioritization. Save that for the next [...]

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  18. [...] sure hope cell phones don’t give you brain tumors. With metered Internet coming soon to an ISP near you, Vonage and Skype use may become a lot harder, making cell phones [...]

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  19. [...] sure hope cell phones don’t give you brain tumors. With metered Internet coming soon to an ISP near you, Vonage and Skype use may become a lot harder, making cell phones [...]

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  20. [...] the point of this post was to bring your attention to a new development by AT&T and Time Warner which would allow them to “meter” Internet service much [...]

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  21. [...] Broadband Our colleagues over GigaOM have been all over this issue. In an effort to squeeze even more dollars from your wallet (in the name of network [...]

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  22. [...] Martin to discuss “usage based pricing” as a form of network management. AT&T has hinted that this was coming for the last few months. From the filing: In particular, AT&T plans to initiate a broadband Internet access usage trial [...]

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  23. [...] Martin to discuss “usage based pricing” as a form of network management. AT&T has hinted that this was coming for the last few months. From the filing: In particular, AT&T plans to initiate a broadband Internet access usage trial [...]

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  24. HI MY NAME IS BRIGHAM COLBERT IAM DEAF I NEED CABLE ATT AND I HAVE ONE DSL YEA BUT IF U WANT CALL ME EMAIL BRIGHAM.COLBERT@YAHOO.COM THANK CALL TIME THAT

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  25. hmmm not sure if i would say analytics is half the picture, but getting feedback from actual users of your site is ab big help. But as with anything, people say one thing and do another. You just have to know how to adapt to what your numbers are saying. The numbers don

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