Time Warner Backs Away From Metered Billing, For Now

imageMounting pressure from consumer-rights groups, legislators like Sen. Chuck Schumer and angry subscribers has led *Time Warner* to pull the plug on its metered broadband access plans — at least for the time being. In an official statement, the company said it “will not proceed” with the trials until “further consultation” with customers and legislators (via DSLReports.com).

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) intended to test the metered access plans in four markets, including Rochester, N.Y., and Austin, Texas; the plans initially had bandwidth caps ranging from 1 gigabyte for $15 per month to unlimited access for $150 month (about three times the current price). The company argued that it had become too burdensome to offer unlimited access on the cheap, particularly with increased use of bandwidth-hogging activities like streaming video and multi-player video games. But consumers pushed back, writing blogs, letters and speaking out at meetings with their local legislators (per Mediapost).

Find out why the battle’s not over, after the jump.

That’s not to say that bandwidth caps and metered billing won’t eventually be the norm. Time Warner is not the first internet service provider to propose a pay-as-you-go plan (*Comcast* proposes a 250 gigabyte limit on all users and *AT&T* is testing metered billing), and it’s ludicrous to think that at some point, we all won’t be forced to pay a bit more for the Hulu clips, *Netflix* downloads and marathon Halo 3 sessions that have quickly become the norm. Meanwhile, Time Warner said it plans to focus on the “consumer education process,” including doling out usage meters so people can be more aware of just how much bandwidth they use (to better prep subscribers for the inevitable caps when they do come).

Photo Credit: Meg Marco