Time Warner Suggests $150/Month Internet Access

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News Posted: Fri, Apr 10 2009 5:08 PM

After having been stung by negative public reaction to the Internet data caps it is trialing in several markets, Time Warner has issued another public statement. The statement from Landel Hobbs, Chief Operating Officer at Time Warner Cable, explains how bandwidth consumption is growing exponentially. While more content on the Internet and more demand for bandwidth is definitely a good thing, it also means Time Warner must maintain and upgrade its network to meet the increased demand. Rather than raising prices on all customers or limiting usage, Time Warner feels the best approach is to move to a tiered model where users pay according to the quantity of bandwidth used.

 

Time Warner isn’t alone in this struggle to keep up with growing capacity: As Hobbs points out, several providers in Canada, the U.K., New Zealand, and other countries have already implemented consumption based billing. Here in the U.S., AT&T, Comcast, Charter, and Cox all have their own methods of managing and monitoring bandwidth consumption.

 

With more and more bandwidth-intensive tasks such as streaming video and cloud computing becoming more and more prevalent, we can’t argue with the fact that the demand for Internet is rising at a very fast rate. Time Warner warns that it’s possible the increase in demand could outpace capacity within a few years if no changes are made.

 

As Hobbs puts it, “If we don’t act, consumers’ Internet experience will suffer…. That’s why we’re beginning the consumption based billing trials.” To the company’s credit, it has been taking the feedback received from previous trials and changing policies as it sees fit. Whether you’ll agree with the changes or not is another story.

 

To accommodate light Internet users and users looking for a low-price option, Time Warner is now introducing a 1GB per month tier. This tier will offer speeds of 768 KB/128 KB for $15 per month. Under this tier, users will pay $2 per GB per month for overage charges. Time Warner says about 30% of its customers use less than 1GB per month.

 

For mid-range users, Time Warner is increasing the bandwidth tier sizes in all existing packages in the trial markets to 10GB (Road Runner Lite), 20GB (Road Runner Basic), 40GB (Road Runner Standard), and 60GB (Road Runner Turbo). The package prices will remain the same for these offerings, but overage charges will be $1 per GB per month.

 

Finally, for users who require lots of bandwidth, Time Warner is introducing a 100 GB Road Runner Turbo package for $75 per month. This package will offer speeds of 10 MB/1 MB. Overage charges will run $1 per GB per month and will be capped at $75 per month. In other words, you’ll get virtually unlimited usage at Turbo speeds for $150 per month.

 

Time Warner plans to give customers a little slack when the trials are first implemented: Instead of billing customers for overage right away, the company will provide two months of usage data and a one-month grace period where users will see overage charges on their bill but will not be charged for them. Under this plan, customers will have the option to assess their usage and change their package to suit their needs.

 

Time Warner will begin trials in Rochester, N.Y., and Greensboro, N.C., in August. Trials in San Antonio and Austin, Texas will launch in October.

 

It’s easy to say people should pay for the costs they incur. To that end, consumption-based billing has a lot of logic behind it. Still, we can image many people won’t be too thrilled about Time Warner’s pricing. Time Warner closed its note by encouraging customers to send comments and feedback to realideas@twcable.com.

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acarzt replied on Fri, Apr 10 2009 7:35 PM

This is retarded. I don't use a ton of bandwidth... but I want to keep my high speeds. I think they should just keep it the way it is.

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I have both Verizon FioS and Verizon 3G internet and I don't pay that much. WTF

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imAcpufan replied on Sat, Apr 11 2009 12:41 AM

I have a 6MB speed with a cap of 60GB/month for $45 a month. I think I have to pay $1/GB for anything over that. I have to keep an eye on what I've used when it gets near the end of the month.

It's going to take a while before I can afford enough bandwidth to support full HD video downloads. btw, I mean legal HD downloads vs buying actual Blu-ray movies.

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Dave_HH replied on Sat, Apr 11 2009 12:51 AM

Hmm... I like the idea of pricing tiers actually. It makes sense to me, as long as they can provide real QoS so that my phat pipe is always phat, if I pay for it. However, their pricing seems whacked. I pay $69/month for 22MB/6MB performance from Comcast and it's pretty damn spiffy. :)

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And here I was actually considering dumping my DSL for Time Warner. If this is what the future holds then I'll just stick with my DSL. Thanks for the timely article!

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replied on Sat, Apr 11 2009 1:56 AM

I pay $79 for Time Warner's Turbo Service and personally I think a 60GB cap is whack. Maybe its time to invest in a ultra high gain directional WiFi antenna :)

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Dave_HH:

Hmm... I like the idea of pricing tiers actually. It makes sense to me, as long as they can provide real QoS so that my phat pipe is always phat, if I pay for it. However, their pricing seems whacked. I pay $69/month for 22MB/6MB performance from Comcast and it's pretty damn spiffy. :)

The tiered pricing is ok, but that is some high prices. I pay $60 a month for Fios 20Mbps down and up. If there was real comptition in all areas you would not be charging those prices for 1Mbps up.

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realneil replied on Sat, Apr 11 2009 8:44 AM

Internet content will always grow exponentially and capping bandwidth is going to stymie it for many users. Rich content equals more data flow.

Time Warner is part of the problem with the internet today. Their "stick It To Ya" attitude will drive away customers and make sure that guys like me never use their service.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Apr 11 2009 9:03 AM

/agree with what you two said.

Tiered pricing would be okay... but at the rates they're proposing they're setting themselves up for local competitors to steal all of their customers.

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So what would this mean for video gaming over the net.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Apr 12 2009 7:05 PM

Lol, I actually find this funny. The way the world is rolling toward 3G/4G wireless communication right now, that means that upper avaialbility of it will be solid in what a year or a year and a half. Meanwhile the fiber offering capabilities and cost platform is both becoming widely available, and the capacity and signal throw are growing. This also therefore drives the cost down for anything but the top end fiber. So Time Warner and the others who can't meet the demand and do it to customers satisfaction will loose in the end. Also don't forget Comcast and Linksys/Cisco are supposed to be rolling out the new wider cap modems later this year, or earlier next. I am not saying Comcast is the best but what I pay for what I get seems pretty sweet to me even if it has a 250GB cap. Thats way better than 60 or any price tier Time Warner (roadrunner) is discussing here.

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Not to mention Verizon with there Fios rolling out. At least with Comcast they give you a warning the first month and not just start tacking on to your bill.

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Devin_P replied on Mon, Apr 13 2009 3:54 AM

My parents live in Greensboro, and after the newspaper picked this up and ran an article on it the entire town is in uproar (well not literally). The problem is there are no other viable options in the area other than time warner. While my parents aren't incredibly tech savvy, I've hooked them up with netflix on their blu ray player, and have a laptop running hulu off their hdtv. Thats the big bandwidth gobbler...HD movies. Just a couple a month and you're already well past all but the upper echelon pricing options. Not to mention when I'm home, I guess I'll have to go to starbucks next time I buy that game off steam and need that 4 gb dl, won't be able to do it at home anymore.

Anybody know bandwidth usage statistics for heavy console gamers, and how this might affect them?

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Hey I have been to Greensboro many times. Used to live outside of Charlotte. My parents live in SC now and there only option is a local DSl provider. They use netfix and have no bandwith cap at the moment, but they get less than a MB up and down. It is not the fastest, but it is better than when they lived in Rutherford, NC when they only had dial up as a option.

As far as online gaming. Most games take up a very small amout of bandwidth. I would say your ok unless you play all day long. I can do some more searching if you are looking for exact numbers, but you might wanna look into getting a router that logs internet usage or calling your ISP about a meter that will tell you how much you have used. Downloading demos and such will take up much more bandwidth of course.

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I still reckon you guys are lucky when it comes to internet. I pay NZ$60 ($30 approx) per month for Broadband which is apparently 'unrestricted' from Telecom. The usage was 10GB per month, but they doubled it to 20GB for free. I rarely use over 20GB per month, but if I do it is restricted to dial up speeds. Thats pretty good compared to other NZ ISPs. The plan I used to be on charged 2c per MB over, or NZ$20 (US$10) a GB!

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Devin_P replied on Tue, Apr 14 2009 1:12 AM

yeah well I'm at school in chapel hill so unlimited "free" bandwidth for me!! I'm mainly wondering as my dad is fairly into photography and he also streams from espn extremely frequently, so with all the photo-uploads and stremaing, combined with netflix all starts to add up. I'm living at home this summer to do an internship and will be petitioning Verizon to get their lazy butts to lay down some FiOS in the neighborhood, which my parents are hoping for in the future.

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