Free Press Warns Against More Metered Broadband

Last year Time-Warner Cable began a metered use trial in Beaumont, TX, with tiered caps of 5 - 40GB. On Wednesday's earnings call Time Warner Cable COO Landel Hobbs said that the cable operator would be expanding the experiment into additional cities this year.

Time-Warner didn't say which cities will be "lucky," but TWC has to be thinking metered broadband will help get it some additional revenue. 2008 wasn't a good year for TWC, with a net loss of $7.3 billion, or $7.52 per diluted common share compared to net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.15 per diluted common share, for 2007.

Meanwhile, noting both this example as well as Charter Communications' plans to impose a 100GB cap on any connection below 15Mbps, and a 250GB cap on connections over 15Mbps, S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, an organization dedicated to reforming the media, issued the following statement:
"With Congress poised to spend billions getting Americans connected to a better, faster Internet, we're concerned that caps discourage Internet adoption and stifle economic growth. In general, we're wary of any roadblock to the development of applications and services that drive experimentation and innovation online. We need to be expanding our digital economy, not shrinking it."
We should also get the ISPs working with, rather than against media companies. While ISPs are increasingly opting for metered broadband, media companies are increasingly trying to feed us more content via the Web.