It's Showtime for Tiered Broadband


The two-month grace period is ending for Time Warner Cable customers in Beaumont, Texas, who are part of the ISPs tiered broadband trials. A spokesman for Time Warner Cable declined to comment but confirmed that residents would soon see bills reflecting the $1 per gigabyte overage charge for those who have consumed more than the 5 GB allowed under the $29.95 plan all the way up to the 40 GB allowed under the $54.90 plan. Now they’ll have to pay them.

Last month, Karl over at DSL Reports also pointed out that new customers signing up for a triple play package containing the standard Road Runner service of 7 Mbps speeds for downloads will also get a 20 GB cap disclosed in the fine print. The Time Warner Cable spokesman wouldn’t disclose how many people had signed up for each plan, how many people have gone over their caps so far in the trials or when the trial would end. Beaumont isn’t exactly a hotbed of technology workers (it is, however, the home of billions in oil refinery assets and the nation’s fourth largest cargo port), so perhaps there are few users bumping up against the cap. Anyone out there affected so far?

image courtesy of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce



It is already happening in the UK. So called “unlimited broadband” packages are likely to disappear in the future and new tariffs will be based on being able to cope with the new trends in online usage. To be realistic even the unlimited broadband packages offered have always come with a “fair usage” cap on downloads. In a report on it was revealed that PlusNet (an ISP who bases its packages on fixed download caps) is warning that the popularity of IP television, YouTube and the BBC’s iPlayer could meant that it will be impossible for its rivals to continue using this offer as a way of enticing customers.

Annie Trust

It’s happened.

It looks like Time Warner Road Runner Broadband is monitoring my Youtube usage, and slowing it down so that it is nothing like a streaming TV video.

Time Warner looks to be routing my Youtube requests through a private ip address – – with three internal hops.

Do start–>cmd –>tracert

Here’s a portion of the trace route (starts near Los Angeles):

9 56 ms 55 ms 56 ms []
10 59 ms 58 ms 55 ms
11 * 58 ms 68 ms
12 * * * Request timed out.
13 * * * Request timed out.
14 * * * Request timed out.
15 74 ms 78 ms 65 ms []

Is this OK with the FCC in view of Comcast ruling?

(The workaround is to specify another country on Youtube – going to Youtube Australia is much faster for me, starting near Los Angeles.)


I wonder how many of those folks signed up for service and have no idea that there is a cap or how small 5gb really is.


These overage charges will certainly be interesting, especially for gamers. None of us know how much data Xbox live is sending back and forth over the course of a couple of hours. Likewise, how much does an online radio station like Pandora utilize?

Maybe I’m wrong, but my gut says that these caps will be easy to blow past for the YouTube generation.

Saurabh Minni

I am sure they will be equal or worse than ISPs in India who used to employ similar tactics until Govt of India came to the rescue and the state telco and ISP BSNL introduced unlimited plans. Since then, I havn’t heard of many people going for limited plans. If this goes through in US, I am sure ripple effects would be felt in India too. Something sad for the booming Internet. Obviously telecom cos stand to gain from it and users will only loose.

Alan Wilensky

of course, the ISP’s that are pushing this damned consumption-based tiering will never provide a free ware metering gadget so that you might monitor your usage. Nooooooo…..

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