Time Warner Cable Says It Singled Out Austin's Geeks

77 Comments

When it comes to trialing its metered broadband service, Time Warner Cable’s choice to do so in the tech-savvy city of Austin, Texas, was no accident. And residents may not be able to do much about it.

According to TWC spokesman Jeff Simmermon, Austin’s dedication to all things digital was precisely why it was chosen as one of four cities where the company plans to trial consumption-based broadband plans, which range from 5 GB to 40 GB per month (TWC says it has plans for a 100 GB-per-month tier as well). “Austin is a passionate and tech-savvy city, and the spirit that we’re approaching this (metered broadband) test with is that if it’s going to work, it has to work in a tech-savvy market where the use patterns are different,” he told me.

So far, Austin isn’t impressed, but since the local cable franchise it grants only deals with video, there may not be much it can do. Chip Rosenthal, one of seven commissioners on the City of Austin’s Technology and Telecommunications Commission (a strictly advisory body), hopes that concerned citizens will show up at the meeting it’s holding at City Hall this Wednesday and talk about metered broadband. He wants to get the metered bandwidth issue added to the agenda of the commission’s May meeting as well.

But local efforts aside, Rosenthal says Austin will have to take a national approach, either through Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, or through a lawsuit to prevent or influence the deployment of metered broadband. “The city has much greater national influence than you or I as individuals, ” Rosenthal said.

He’s right, but for those wanting to express their individual disdain, here’s an online petition put forth by a local citizen. As for the city, it’s encouraging to note that within two days of the story breaking, two of the city’s three five mayoral candidates issued statements questioning such caps. One noted that downloading the first season of my hometown’s favorite TV show, “Friday Night Lights,” would require almost 31 GB and would subsequently put people in danger of violating the current top-tier cap of 40 GB. “Friday Night Lights” isn’t just about Texas football, it’s also shot in town, and an important showcase for film production here in Austin.

Austin is not a city that takes its broadband lightly. It’s home to supercomputers, digital media studios and online gaming companies. Thanks to that, it’s now a microcosm for a battle against consumption-based broadband attempts around the country. If metered broadband works in Austin, then it can work anywhere — even in your hometown.

77 Comments

Sheryl Zettner

Is this why I am being asked to pay a dollar extra per month for a bunch of supposed services that don’t even apply to my account? So I can get crappier service? If so, I want to opt out.

My apartment only seems to take cable internet from Time Warner, which has always pissed me off that they are allowed to have a monopoly on services I purchase. If the apartment were paying for the service, then that would be one thing, but the contracts are with me, so why should they be able to cut deals with my apartment to prevent other companies from having agreements with me. So now I get to pay more for nothing more. No improvements to service, nothing, so that cable TV people don’t have to pay for their services. Cost shifting should be illegal.

It’s regressive in nature. The poorer you are, the more you pay. People have apartments rather than houses because they are not as rich. They don’t have cable TV because they are not as rich, so we get to subsidize everyone else and have no choices of who we do business with.

I may go down to the Technology and Telecommunications Commission and talk to them about this. It really makes me mad.

Roz

I run a small multimedia studio, lots of video, lots of music files and lots of uploading/downloading all the time. TWC was put on notification before that I will leave with no hesitation. Only problem is AT&T and its crappy DSL is no real option. Perhaps Dish Network? Regardless, I wont be ripped off by this for 1 minute. I wont pay $100 a month for broadband service! Thats highway robbery.

austin-geek

40GB/month is an average bitrate of 123 kbit/sec.

Remember 56k dial-up modems? In urban US they have been obsolete for over 10 years now….

This is more than twice as much data as one of those old modems could deliver, wow.

Basquino

~austin-geek

“Remember 56k dial-up modems? This is more than twice as much data as one of those old modems could deliver, wow.”
/austin-geek

ZOMGWTFBBQ. If that isn’t logical pwnage, I don’t know what is.
I got it: let’s limit our customers to effective dual-ISDN bandwidth and re-brand it as, ‘Turbo.’ They’ll thank us for the sleeper hold when they wake up. If they ever do….

*bump*

"annonymous coward" as twc wants me to be depicted

Dear TWC,
I wish for illest and most catistrophic outlook for your future as a business. Anyone every notice the “up to 7 MB” “up to 3mb” in thier services offered? Key words up to. you pay for services that can provide up to 7mb but when metered it usualy reads somewhere around 5.9~6.6 never reaching the “7mb”. Now they want to impose a cap after monopolizing certain areas “arlington for me i have no second choice, cable or dial up”.
Goodbye streaming netflix, goodbye online video gaming (console and pc), and all other premium activities that cost money on the internet. Sorry for being a college student where all of the content is based online, or maybe for even taking online classes. This is probably the dumbest idea ever put into testing. They will lose million of customers and pave a bright future for FIOS. RIP TIMEWARNER

Ben

Regardless of whether I exceed the bandwidth caps or not, I will be switching to another provider, even if it means slower speeds. Why? This is a greedy money grab, plain and simple. For those arguing that Time Warner is simply trying to cover it’s costs, I have to ask — what kind of business are you running, and who’s running it? I don’t see any other internet providers suggesting such ridiculous cost increases. That ought to tell you something. Maybe you guys don’t know how to run your business?

Thanks TWC, I’m glad I don’t own your stock, and nice work pissing off the Austin community.

Ben
Austin, TX

Martin

Time Warner is trying is doing this to protect the Cable Television service. If they were genuinely trying to accomplish what they are pretending to do they should just set a cap at 2000 GB per month and charge overages on that and leave everything else the same basic turbo etc., this will curb the bandwidth hogs, which again I do not think are the issue here anyway and quite frankly I do not think they are an issue for time warner. I think that it’s truly amazing that a company that is already over charging for their services and targeting areas where there are few or no options that can compete now wants even more profits from it, I am convinced that they are shooting themselves in the foot. The are holding on to technologies that are destined to become antiquated by stifling progress in the technologies that exist.

Kind Regards,

Martin
Austin, TX

TruckerTomPodcast

This is purely an attempt at limiting innovation by limiting bandwidth to hang on to a dying business model.

Time Warner and any other cable company has a clear conflict of interest. They want to slow down or even stop Internet-delivered video so that their revenue from overpriced cable channels and video on demand services won’t be further diminished. There is a trend, especially in this down economy, for people to limit or even drop entirely their cable and satellite TV programming packages in favor of getting only the video they want from Internet services such as Hulu.Com, ABC.Com, CBS.Com, iTunes, etc., etc., etc.

This strategy won’t work in the long term. Over the long term the ever-increasing demand for bandwidth will be satisfied by other new and rapidly improving broadband technologies. Like many monopoly wired phone companies, monopoly cable companies seem to be having a hard time understanding that Internet plumbing is the future of their business. They may believe they have the upper hand today, but in the long run they refuse to provide what customers want at their own future peril.

In the future, high-speed wireless Internet will blanket the landscape. Every device that we own will have the potential to be Internet-connected, opening the possibilities of amazing new innovations that have yet to be dreamt of.

History shows that the people and organizations that tried to stop innovation rather than embracing it usually find themselves out-competed and sooner or later out of business.

Richard Bennett

That article actually does explain the reason for TWC’s caps, but it’s not what you think it is, Jake. Check this: “…the New York-based company cut costs and moved to shed assets such as its cable unit and AOL. But nearly a third of his compensation came in the form of stock options that are currently “underwater” and therefore of little value.”

TW wants to sell TW Cable, and it’s going to get a better price if the cable/Internet business is profitable. That’s capitalism for you, all about the Benjamins; and boosting the stock price.

Jake

Preface: I am a Time Warner customer, and I will be switching services assuming the cap system goes into effect. I do not consider my household to be ‘power users’, and we probably stay well under 40GB a month.

Why will I be switching? Because I worry about enough things in my life, I have enough things to manage, and I don’t need to stress out about my bandwidth use. Much less, do I need to choose a solution that fits my needs one month, and not the next – only to pay more whenit doesn’t. I’m the consumer, not the producer, and I will not be inconvenienced to use this ‘service’. I will simply move on to another provider that doesn’t view their monopoly as an attempt to make a money grab.

Since I rest assured that the above point won’t hit home, I’ll add that Time Warner has horrible customer service. This is just another example of not caring about their customers, and instead improving their bottom line. That’s ok, they’re a business and they’re allowed to do so. Just don’t lie about it. And while you’re reaping the rewards, take better care of your current customers. Telecom service being horrible, delayed, etc. is only acceptable because that’s all we’ve ever had to deal with. I expect more, especially of a company that’s trying to make their service essentially charge-by-use.

Also, from the the TWC COO to consumer supporters such as yourself, please stop trying to play this off as some altruistic ‘let’s help the guy that checks his email once a day’ ploy. This is about dollars and cents, and you said so yourself.

FYI, games don’t typically transmit much data over the wire, the grand majority of the data is stored locally.

mwingard

Without knowing how much bandwidth I use or how much I’m likely to use, it’s tough to say whether these caps/tiers are fair or not. What does seem very probable is that my consumption will increase over time as the various types of online content increase in size and I doubt TW will adjust as quickly as the market.

If users are penalized for consuming these new, larger pieces of content, it would be hard to argue that this would not slow adoption. Is that the type of city we want to be? Technology laggards?

I work from home and I am sure a large portion of my bandwidth consumption is due to that. Does Austin really want to discourage people from working from home?

As an interesting tangent, Australia is going to create a nationalized broadband provider in order to upgrade its infrastructure: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/technology/internet/08broadband.html?_r=1 with the intent to sell down its share over time as it becomes revenue producing.

This conversation ought to spark a larger one which is what the best way is for a community to create a balance between a) the need to fund broadband infrastructure investment (higher fees) and b) the desire to promote continued innovation and adoption of online media (lower fees).

John S -

TimeWarner’s VOD and PPV are major variable bandwidth consumers and of course PPV is very profitable for TW. The normal TV content also burns far greater bandwidth than Internet traffic. Internet traffic really only amounts to a very small part of TW total delivered bandwidth to a community.

I agree with other poster: TW has a very strong motivation to stifle competition of alternate video delivery… after all they get no extra revenue return from Hulu, NetFlix and others. They do get revenue from their own re-broadcast and dedicated delivery of TV content which is based on numbers of subscribers and what those subscribers consume.

TW has little motivation to encourage the growth of alternative entertainment delivered via the internet — unless of course, they can profit from it. So i believe the caps for bandwidth are not to limit consumption but rather to provide a method of profiting from it. Austin is a perfect place for developing this business model since, our technically savy community is more likely to purchase extra bandwidth.

But, the solution to killing off this metered bandwidth issue may be as simple as this: All those with a choice, switch to ATT/SWB, ATT/Uverse or some other provider (is EarthLink still active?). Particularly, since others can provide reasonable bandwidth and attractive costs.

Some time ago I left TW internet service for ATT’s (SWB) offering. Before doing so, I had both TW and ATT active for about 90 days (my employer, IBM, was paying for TW, and ATT had a 90 day free service promo going). I did many speed and stability comparisons over several weeks to help decide who to keep after the ATT free trial ended.

I believe it was a fair comparison, since I had bought 6 mb/sec from both service providers – although ATT was/is less costly. I used the same computers on both services often in an “A/B comparison mode.

I used various third party speed-test sites (never TW’s or ATT’s), I timed very large downloads from a extremely lightly loaded server within IBM Austin, I downloaded other content from other sites (movies, mp3, applications and the like) and generally observed each services performance/usability/stability.

I only got about 5.1mb down and 730kb up for ATT (older house telephone wiring i suspect), but it really was solidly delivered — that is, I got that speed all day and all night long. TW’s speed ranged from a poor 1.2mb to a full tilt 6.0mb down with 60kb to 720ks up. TW performance was heavily dependent on the time of day, and day of the week. Afternoons and early evenings were particularly poor.

My observations also showed that TW was less robust, with many short (1 to 3 minute) service drops, and even a few longer outages. I also had to reestablish my VPN connection as many as 12 times a day.

Now, ATT would also drop my VPN connection, but only about once a month. I only a few short outages had no loner term outages during the test with ATT.

Since I retained ATT and dropped TW, I can remember only one outage, and my VPN seems to stay up all the time.

Now, I live in the older part of the Circle C Ranch subdivision and I’m told (by the TW techs) that the infrastructure here is not so great… it was bought from another “back woods cable company” (the tech’s words, not mine). So, maybe others are getting better TW speed/stability in other parts of town.

The real deal breaker for me with TW was not their speed or stability.. while not great, it was “good enough” for what I do. Rather for me, it was their infamous customer service (dis-service?). Not that ATT is perfect, mind you, but still, ATT seems light years ahead of TW.

Metered bandwidth, stifling growth of alternate TV delivery methods (or at least creating a TW revenue stream for them), extremely poor customer service, and wholly misleading TV ads, all combine to demonstrate TW’s total disdain for their customers. IMO, TW puts customers not “first”, but firmly in their rightful last place. They have invested in an infrastructure (even though it uses public right-of-way) at real business risk. This service exists to provide TV delivery and Internet access to a somewhat captive customer base. And so, by god, TW has the ordained right to milk that infrastructure, and their customers, for all they’re worth.

So for me, when ATT Uverse is offered in my neighborhood (hopefully later this year), TW will lose me as a cable customer too. After that, I really don’t care what TW does.

PS… my far right wing, pro-business wife just came in and commented: ” TW is a poster child for why State Utility Commissions need to exist.” It had to be painful for her to utter such words.

Steve

Bottom line, it’s evident by the comments that most people are dissatisfied with Time Warner’s attempt to reduce bandwidth on their network (or attempt to increase revenue as some see it). And considering none of us are really aware how we stand on usage per month, it’s difficult to say how many of us will be impacted by their decision. But this will most certainly impact the way web sites are designed and how media will be downloaded.

I guess since poor Time Warner is hurting so badly by the bandwidth hogs (gamers, downloaders), we’ll all just have to suffer with 5GB/month (which is the same dollar amount I am currently paying for unlimited). For their sake, I just hope it doesn’t drive all of their customers away. I never thought I’d go back to AT&T or a land-line phone, but never say never.

Richard Bennett

Steve, most of these comments are coming from people who probably aren’t TWC customers and simply enjoy complaining about the lack of free beer in the world. There is no reason to believe that the caps TWC is bandying about will cause a single person to redesign a single web site. Their primary effect will be on heavy gamers and heavy TV and movie downloaders. And unlike Comcast, TWC says it will offer a gas gauge to let its customers know how much BW they’re consuming.

The bottom line here is that despite all the malarkey about Web 2.0, social networks, and virtual communities, most of Austin’s digital elite see the Internet as the world’s biggest TiVo, and they’re upset about any attempt to limit the number of hours they can watch it every day. The other bottom line is that TWC has be lax in upgrading its internal network, and needs to get cracking on that. Limiting operational expense will make it easier for TWC to borrow the money they need to upgrade their infrastructure. If they follow through on that, their customers will be winners in the long run. And if they don’t, you can expect to see AT&T accelerate the rollout of VDSL.

Greg

Isn’t it funny that TW picks an area, where they have basically no competion to “test” the metered bandwith that we as customers supposedly want? ROFL They sure aren’t doing it in other states where they have to compete LOL! At least Comcast is doing it fairly…. I have been a TW customer for years, but I’d rather have to use DSL, than continue to line the corrupt pockets of TW….

Steve

Richard,
Just for clarification, because you have the ability to link to Mininova, does not mean you understand downloading video. Mininova is compressed, likely by a piracy group, therefore the file size will be MUCH smaller than the legal download size. The legal copy will also be better quality.

This is not a matter of opinion.

Richard Bennett

All video files are compressed, Steve, the question is really just a matter of how much. I can watch Netflix streaming in pseudo HD at 8 GB per movie, or I can watch Netflix on Blu-Ray at 40 GB. The Mininova/piracy standard of roughly 1 GB per hr of TV is actually better than SD, even if it’s not quite HD.

All of this misses the point, however. Time Warner is not a Tier 1 carrier, so they have to pay for transit just like an independent ISP does. Their business issue is how to allocate the fees for the transit they pay across their customer base. In their position, a cap of some kind is eminently reasonable.

Chris Baker

Austin has FIVE candidates running for mayor, not three.

RG

TW Sucks. They say this is about bandwidth, but they are looking to charge in the neighborhood of $0.80/GB. For comparison’s sake, Amazon is at $0.17 on their CDN and the average for video delivery is in the neighborhood of $0.40 for global delivery. TWC isn’t paying all that much more for their bits; this is a naked monopoly power play.

Ed

Let’s let Grande in and screw these guys. This would not be happening if there was more competition in the market.

I’ll be getting univers or FIOS when available.

-Ed

bb

Of course this has absolutely nothing to do with usage and everything to do with TW trying to save it’s crappy TV programming. They can see the writing on the wall (i.e. Netflix streaming). They chose Austin as it is very much a tech savy and activist town. The city council, however, is very pro business and will eventually back down. If they can ramrod this bs down our throats they can probably do it anywhere. Others will then follow. We have to draw the line in the sand now before it’s too late.

Kyle

I’m in Austin and am a current (and soon to be former) Roadrunner customer. I don’t use a ton of bandwidth – no p2p, just an occasional Netflix movie and online backup. I pay for their highest ‘Turbo’ tier, because I want them faster upload speeds.

I’ll be moving to UVerse later this week. Hopefully, if enough ‘good’ customers defect, both TWC and ATT will see this as a failure and move away from metered billing (or at least establish much more reasonable caps).

PJ

Time to switch to Earthlink’s “Cable Internet” I think… they claim that even though they run over TW’s infrastructure (due to a lawsuit some years ago, I believe), they won’t be affected by the bandwidth caps.

MarcO

I just spoke to an Earthlink rep about the status of my Earthlink/TW cable come October. My connection will become tiered/capped just like a regular TW customer. Switching to Earthlink will not shield you.

Will

I have to completely agree with Mrktmind here. Caps are created for two reasons. The first being to protect their premium content (VOD, and Cable TV). The second is to create a cellphone like inflated bandwidth economy.

ISPs don’t actually pay by the byte, they pay via 95% billing. So if you use all your transfer during peak they pay just as much.

IMO, a much better system would be to have a ratio of bytes transfered per user, users with lower bytes transfered get better QoS on a congested node until that node is split. However, they’re not out there to provide good service, they’re out to protect premium content and be as far away from a utility as they can be.

Is it time we now consider cable companies a utility? Should we kill franchise agreements and promote over builders like RCN?

IMO, all of this would be a moot point if we had decent competition and/or serious regulation.

Richard Bennett

The traffic engineering system you propose resembles the one used by Comcast, but they still have a cap; albeit, much higher.

Stacey Higginbotham

Richard, if caps are used to enforce some sort of QoS on the network, which is what Comcast is after with its cap, that’s far less objectionable to most people. Especially given that Comcast has gone on record saying they plan to raise their cap as their average usage increases (and the higher cap leaves most subscribers unaffected).

You seem to be confusing Time Warner’s caps with a network management effort, which is actually what they tried to use as justification back in January 08 when they proposed this. However, since then they released the incredibly low caps back in June, and tried to justify them as a way to offset the cost of network upgrades and as a way to ensure” fairness” between those who consume different amounts of broadband. This is a revenue grab. It wouldn’t be as bad if there were real competition for broadband, or possibly if these rate hikes were tied to a DOCSIS 3.0 rollout, but absent that, it’s going to raise the price of broadband for many Austinites who will pay more and get less.

Not only is that monopolistic behavior, but since access to broadband is so vital to the information economy, it hurts the city’s competitiveness. All of this is pretty hard to defend, even if you’re one of those who will save a whopping $5 a month by accepting the 5GB per month plan.

Richard Bennett

Sorry, Stacey, but you’re off the mark. TWC isn’t a Tier 1 carrier, so they have to pay for transit just like a little independent ISP, and unlike the telcos and Comcast. Hence, they’re buying transit at wholesale and reselling it at retail with some assumptions about overbooking. A small number of heavy users make these assumptions go to hell, so TWC needs to kick them off.

Caps are a network management effort, and a very effective one for dealing with P2P hogs.

Will

Richard, they actually do have Transit AS which is Adelphia’s network (AS7843) which makes them more of a tier 2.

I’m also not sure how TW Telecom plays into their corporate structure? Are they now part of TWC since the split? If so, they’re like Comcast (IMO, still a tier 2).

In any case, they’re getting a hell of a better transit deal than any of the CLECs/indie telcos who offer consumer level service.

Richard Bennett

Comcast is effectively a Tier 1 within the US, they only pay transit on the trans-oceanic links. So TWC’s status as a Tier 2 still gives them higher costs than the Tier 1’s, even if their costs are lower than Bubba’s ISP and BBQ stand out on Bee Cave Road. That being said, TWC is also squeezed in their interior aggregation links and hasn’t moved as quickly as some others to upgrade them.

The main point is that rolling out the conspiracy theories about stifling VoD is satisfying in a Charles Whitman in the Tower sort of a way, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story. Internet access is a business, not a charity, and TWC has to do what they have to do to make ends meet. They’re not exactly thriving as it is.

John

Great story.

Richard Bennett, you’re not related to the Richard Bennett who was/is the VP of Finance for Time Warner-Raleigh, are you?

Mrktmind

Well Richard has sure taken the bait hook line and sinker. This has nothing to do with “bandwidth hogs”. It has EVERYTHING to do with TWC taking the RIAA way out to try and kill video over the internet. You’ll notice that only TWC and Comcast have talked about bandwidth caps as the DSL providers don’t have video to protect. I also read another article today about DOCSIS 3 and how the cable companies could be offering 10 times as fast bandwidth for $100 (installation costs) per house modem included. This is the same technology Japan is using. By contrast Verizon is spending $875 per house for it’s FIOS. So the technology is there to offer MUCH more bandwidth at a very low capital expense to the cable companies – so why haven’t they done it yet? Same reason they are talking about the caps – they don’t want people to have enough bandwidth to enable video over the net.

Now the big question is what are WE the people going to do about it????

Richard Bennett

Austin is a funny little town. I lived there for 18 years, mainly in the era before it adopted this fantasy that it was the center of the tech universe – in those days Austin was mainly about sex, drugs, and music – but the dynamics are pretty much the same. It’s a pretentious little burg.

The problem that broadband carriers have with pricing stems from the undeniable fact that a small fraction of users consume the lion’s share of the bandwidth, and the rest (over 99%) are effectively subsidizing them. The TWC experiment will show that the typical user gets better performance for the money when the bandwidth hogs are throttled. There will be a lot of whining from the faux technologists who dominate the net neutrality debate, but the mainstream user will see a noticeable improvement in his web access.

And as to the crazy notion that FNL takes 31 GB/episode to download, that tells you all you need to know about Austin Activism – all heat and no light. Watch it on Hulu and you’ll consume no more than 1 or maybe 2 GB/episode. It’s not like Hulu is raw Blu-Ray, for heaven’s sake. And for the record, the typical Austinite looks more like Landry than like Lyla.

Tommy

Richard, the quote reads “downloading the *first season* of my hometown’s favorite TV show, “Friday Night Lights,” would require almost 31 GB.” That’s a whole season, not an episode.

No idea why you used this issue as a launching pad for a diatribe about Austin’s tech-savviness, but you may want to shore up your own reading comprehension before you decry others for being “all heat and no light.”

Richard Bennett

Did he say season instead of episode? But he’s still off the mark. People who would like to download the first season of the Texas religion show “Friday Night Lights” can check out its size and shape on Mininova, the sweet piracy enabler:

http://www.mininova.org/tor/2435338

You’ll see that you get 22 hrs of programming for less than 8 GB. This is not a matter of opinion.

I tend to agree that a 40 GB/mo cap is a bit restrictive for heavy users, but it not actually going to effect most people. The hue and cry over this issue on the web is larger than the actual public reaction is going to be in real life.

You’ll see.

Uncle Ron

Richard Bennett: Malarky. Nonsense. RR is profitable for TW. Very profitable. Performance is fine. Incremental performance (bandwidth) costs TW very nearly nothing. Providing the basic 2-4 Mb/sec represents 99.9+% of their cost. The “hogs” add -very- little incremental cost and have -very- little, if any, perceivable impact on performance. In any case, the real “hogs” that use multiple hundreds of Gigs per month can be -easily- identified and either throttled or hugely billed.

If TW was willing to fully open up it’s records it would be clear that truly less than a HANDFUL of users fall into the “hog” category. This is a money grab on TW’s part pure and simple. They should be regulated or the franchise should be opened up to -true- cable competition. Just because TW, or Cox, or Cablevision or any of them “got there first” shouldn’t mean that the citizens of an entire region should be held hostage forever to a monopoly in cable service.

This stinks real bad. We have to do something about the monopoly of cable service. Austin is a good place to start. It is a funny “little” town? A smart -city- of 680,000 and a million metro is a good place to start.

Uncle Ron

MarcO

Uh, @Richard Bennett… have you bothered to do your own math? How many episodes are in a season?? 1-2 GB/episode would put you at 12-24 GB for a 12-episode season and 24-48 GB for a 24 episode season. Under most of TW’s new plans, this alone might cost you around $15-30. For ONE season of one series.

Dick

Really? Better performance? I bet they’ll notice even much better performance when Time Warner (or any company that follows suit) stops overselling their services (at least how it’s currently done). This is not a phone service, and certainly not cable TV with which it may work near infinitely. Broadband internet is advertised as always on. Last time I saw limits on bandwidth use was in the early-mid 1990s, and it was in a “third world” country.

The less savvy consumers (over 99% as you say) subsidize the service? Well, whose fault is it? Why is Time Warner relying on their unused bandwidth to provide the “geeks” with the advertised service? In fact, will Time Warner rebate them for the unused bandwidth if they implement metering? They’re just adding insult to injury by metering broadband. I’m sure the “geeks” won’t put up with such practices.

CapsTooLow

The caps are too low and are extremely anti competitive! Especially when compared to Comcast’s current 250 GB, which is very fair!

The reality is caps make economic sense as more and more ppl drop their cable TV for an Internet TV solution (connect Mac Mini to LCD TV use a wireless hand-held mouse (Gyration works good) for a remote).

Those these types of caps TWC has will stall the Internet TV market. They definitely need their asses handed to them for such low caps and should be force to provide caps equal to what Comcast provides!

desqjockey

Smart, now lets show them that geeks just wont bite on the concept of metered broadband and make their test a failure.

Stacey Higginbotham

I don’t get Grande in my area, not do I get U-verse. It’s a cap or DSL for me, and Time Warner knows it.

texaslabrat

Look into Earthlink in Austin…share TW’s last mile but they have their own internet connectivity and (at the moment) have no announced plans for bandwidth caps. This move by TW might single-handedly be responsible for doubling Earthlink’s subscriber base in Austin by the end of the year LOL.

MarcO

I just spoke to an Earthlink agent about whether my Earthlink re-branded Time Warner cable will be exempt from the metering/capping. IT WILL NOT BE.

I am so hoping Grande rolls t my neighborhood in the next six months.

denisedubois

Stacey,

This is the kind of journalism that makes a difference – thank you.

Per my last comment on your first post concerning Time Warner’s bandwidth caps, have you been at all able to find a connection, if any, between the aggressive roll-out of the 2-year contract lock in and these major service-plan changes/reductions??

Don’t stop digging – you’re almost there I think :)

Sunflower

…I wonder how long they are going to have this ‘test’ go on? A year? Two? Forever?

Terry

The story is that TWC wants to see if metering “works” in Austin. Curious — if that means “succeeds,” then what are TWC’s conditions for success? An acceptably low level of objection and opposition from the public?

They imply that at some point they will make a go/no-go decision about metering, but they seem pretty coy about what they’ll base the decision on.

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