Time Warner: No Metered Broadband For Now, But We’ll Be Back


tw_mod_logoThe good news is that Time Warner has “backed away from its controversial efforts to price broadband based on consumption” in the cities where the trials were implemented.

The bad news is that it’s clearly not an admission of failure on their part. In their confirmation they stated this (emphasis mine):

It is clear from the public response over the last two weeks that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing. As a result, we will not proceed with implementation of additional tests until further consultation with our customers and other interested parties, ensuring that community needs are being met.

Ah yes, it’s just a “misunderstanding”. We’re doing the right thing, you just don’t get it.

This isn’t the end of it, they’re simply regrouping. The translation is simple: Our PR group screwed up and wasn’t able to successfully fool enough people into believing the other guy will pay big bucks, not you.

Sometimes don’t you just wanna take a ball bat to the heads of companies like this?

There’s a wave of technologies converging for which broadband will come out of the “luxury” category and move more to the forefront. VOIP, video streaming, etc. Wouldn’t any far-seeing (dare I say it, “visionary”?) company say to themselves, “Wow. All these technologies are going to have lots of new people interested in our bandwidth. We better fatten the pipe and get ready for the onslaught of new customers”?

And not just streaming, more and more file downloads are requiring a larger pipe. In Apple’s case, they recently opened the gates for HD movie sales to Mac users (i.e., HD is not just for Apple TV owners), and could be a large beneficiary of more users having broadband in their homes.

Sadly, TW instead said, “Wow. Here’s the perfect chance for us to grab more money from our base. Why bother with improvements to add more customers when it’s easier just to milk the ones we have”?

This is why people hate the cable companies (and, yes, the phone carriers as well).



They can’t do metering right now because their customers are too stupid to understand that it’s OK to gouge them in situations where TW has a monopoly. Once they properly educate their customers, they will readily accept paying more.


I too do not understand what these people are griping about. It seems to me that thewy are conflating the very real issue of corrupt and greedy monopolist carriers with the idea of paying for what you use. They are ripping you off already, they will rip you off no matter what plans or tariffs are in place.

The fact that they are ripoff merchants has nothing to do with it. Most likely the ones who are making all the noise about this are the ones who use loads of bandwidth, but they can’t admit their real objections, so they obscure it with nonsense about… charging more… even though that is a separate issue and not related to the method of charging.

It would be fairer to charge for the amount used. If there is a problem with them overcharging, then for sure something should be done about that, but the underlying problem is the carriers.


Totally agree- why pay more for the same crappy infrastructure. TW needs to realize that making their service more attractive is going to make them more money- not charging existing customers more. At least in Rochester Verizon FIOS was becoming a more attractive option by the day.


Someone has to pay for the bandwidth. Why should I – with my 5GB/month consumption – have to subsidise people who chew up 400GB/month? It doesn’t cost the same amount per month to serve us that much data, since you can have 80 customers like me paying the same rate, served by the same bandwidth that the one 400GB/month customer is using.

Once quota based plans are in place, the companies providing bandwidth will be able to plan for future upgrades because people who want more bandwidth will be paying for more bandwidth.

Think of it this way: a 5GB/month plan is equivalent to a 2% utilisation budget for your upstream pipe. You can afford to have 30 of those customers and still have very good latency on your upstream. If someone wants to raise their utilisation to 60% of your upstream bandwidth (eg: someone wants a 150GB/month plan), you charge them more because they’re using more of your pipe.

Is this really that hard for you Americans to understand?

Here in Australia you can buy a truly “unmetered” 40Mbps link for about $1500 a month. This translates to about $37.50 per unmetered Mbps per month, with no support calls and no staff required to manage the ISP infrastructure. So add about 250% markup to allow for people to respond to your phone calls and make sure the RADIUS server is kept up to date, take your money and issue receipts, and we should be able to buy “unmetered” bandwidth at a retail cost of about $94/month.

Sadly the closest we get is about 40GB for $80/month.

I guess there’s a way to go yet for ISPs to beat each others prices :)


Yeah, you said it! The business practices of the cable and phone companies are detrimental to the economic success of this country. There is no real competition in the broadband market.

Andrew Bednarz

In Australia all data is metered, DSL, Cable and mobile (GPRS, Edge, 3G etc). Its just the accepted thing.

One advantage of data being metered is that data is data – thus there is no issue with the content of the data, ie tethering phones to laptops, or streaming video over 3G to your phone – you’re paying for the bytes one way or another so they don’t care.

I’d rather this than be artificially limited as to what I can do by a contract.

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