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.