Time Warner Monthly Data Caps Detailed

Illustration for article titled Time Warner Monthly Data Caps Detailed

We'd heard about Time Warner Cable's test run of consumption-based billing in Beaumont, Texas, back in January, though details were scant. Now they're plentiful. The plans (for new subscribers only) start up on Thursday, but thankfully they're not as bad as we imagined-the overage fee is only $1/GB and is waived the first two months. Plans start $30 for 768Kbps downloads and a 5GB cap, and go up to $55 for a pretty sweet 15Mbps downstream and a 40GB cap. Not egregious, but we still hate it, especially since you'll probably be seeing this in lotsa places, sooner than you'd expect.

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Designed to thwart hardcore data slurpers (and soon HD video downloads that'll in time seriously compete with cable's offerings), consumption-based billing throws us back to the days AOL-sure, it's more data, but the principle is effectively the same, and it'll to regular consumers sooner than the cable industry would have you believe, especially once online video actually gets rolling. While Time Warner emphasized to us it's just a test, we don't expect this to stay in Texas for long, especially with Comcast mulling over similar plans. Long live internet in the US. [Yahoo]

DISCUSSION

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the internet connection Time Warner is selling has a limit in the speed based on the users. This is fairly typical.

So, I am Joe User, and I have purchased this connection, and I am downloading HD movies constantly. Jane User next door purchased the same connection, but is using it much less frequently. However, when she does, Jane User is not getting full bandwidth because Joe User is 'hogging it'.

If we are completely generous to Time Warner, this plan does not, necessarily, fix that, but it does take steps to try to minimize that problem.

Yes, I am being extremely generous, and ultimately there is a problem here that does need to be addressed somehow. However, bandwidth limits are probably not the best solution. The real 'solution' to such an issue would be paying based on peak hours of usage, so people using the internet during non-working hours would likely pay less than those who are working from home. Still, even that is problematic, at best.

Still, as a card-carrying Giz fan-boy, I am one of the major users of my connection in my neighborhood and would hate to have a limit in what I can download - even if I do recognize that it is people like me that Time Warner uses as an excuse for putting a limit on the connection.