Blog Post

AT&T, Time Warner Cable Up the Metered Internet Ante

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

25 Responses to “AT&T, Time Warner Cable Up the Metered Internet Ante”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. DilParDesi

    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.

  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…

  6. 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.

  7. jrzshor

    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.

  8. andrew

    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.