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The Almighty Buck The Internet

Time Warner Broadband Cap Trial Rescheduled In Texas 353

jcrousedotcom writes "Time Warner cable apparently has heard that folks aren't too happy with their plan to meter their unlimited connections. From the first paragraph of the article: 'Time Warner Cable's proposed trials of consumption-based billing were originally slated to begin in several markets this summer, where customers would be a part of a tiered pricing scheme. Pricing would have started at 1 GB per month for $15, and go up to 100 GB per month for $75, and include a per-gigabyte overage fee. The public's reaction was less than favorable, and the trials in Texas have been rescheduled.'"
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Time Warner Broadband Cap Trial Rescheduled In Texas

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:09PM (#27590133)

    Look, one way or the other, almost every broadband ISP has overbuilt their network and was not prepared for the advent of HD video and streaming services. The hard fact is that they cannot (and never could) deliver "unlimited" bandwidth. So either they:

    a) Raise their prices considerably on all their "unlimited" plans--sucks for the light users, who are basically subsidizing the heavy users who want to stream HD video and movies

    b) Covertly start throttling back heavy users--sucks for everyone, since no one even knows how much they're being throttled and there is no option of paying a premium to escape it

    c) Set download caps--sucks compared to the "free ride" heavy users are getting now, but at least it's out in the open with no throttling bullshit (and light users don't get penalized).

    Personally, I'll gladly take c. But there is for sure one option that is *NOT* on the table:

    d) Everything stays priced the same as now, without throttling or download caps

    So pick a, b, or c. And stop kidding yourself that you can pick d.

    • by dykofone ( 787059 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:15PM (#27590207) Homepage
      They certainly will have to pass on the costs, and I would prefer openly, but why-oh-why do they pick the tiered level approach? It's the same way the cell phone companies do it: you have to guess how many minutes you're going to use ahead of time, then get shorted for what you don't use and pay huge overages for when you exceed you're initial guess. Let's get back to the electric utility model where you are charged for exactly what you use, and if anything, you get lower off-peak rates.
      • by Pooklord ( 49550 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:26PM (#27590407)

        . . . I'm going to guess it's much more fair by using the electric utility model and much more profitable by using the "heads-I-win_tails_you_lose" model of cell phone companies.

        Guess which model they're going with?

      • They do it because the cell phone companies are making money with it. Utilities use metered because electric load is fairly constant and predictable. Even the use of AC is predictable. With a phone though, I can go a month and use about 60 minutes, and then the next one, I can use up 3000 (yay conference calls). I prefer knowing how much I pay ahead of time to getting wildly differing phone bills.

        • They do it because the cell phone companies are making money with it. Utilities use metered because electric load is fairly constant and predictable. Even the use of AC is predictable. With a phone though, I can go a month and use about 60 minutes, and then the next one, I can use up 3000 (yay conference calls). I prefer knowing how much I pay ahead of time to getting wildly differing phone bills.

          The problem is that unless you get unlimited you'll more than likely still have differing bills. But if you pay for more than you use you're wasting your money.


          • by Lil'wombat ( 233322 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:32PM (#27591429)

            New Marketing Idea. Do what ATT does for cell phones

            Rollover MB's

            Sign up for a plan for X MB per month. Download capacity you don't use goes into the bank. Overages are charged at a set rate.

            Over the cap for two months in a row and get bumped up a level. Have too many MB's in the bank and get dropped automatically down a level.

            Fair and Simple.

            You could get even more complex if you desire, where MB's consumed vary with network load. Downloading a torrent during the busiest time of day counts double towards your cap, Download at 3:00AM and it counts half.

            I just wish these companies would man up and and have fair pricing. And for all of the people who signed up for Unlimited plans, suck it up and deal with the change or go elsewhere. Every other industry (credit cards, insurance, medical care)can periodically change the service agreement. Besides, as COMCAST I'd hope the heavy users got mad and went elsewhere.

        • Over the whole system phone calls are going to be stable too. While you are having a conference call party I just got a new computer and I'm running way more power than I used to. Shucks.

        • by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:36PM (#27591489) Journal

          I prefer knowing how much I pay ahead of time to getting wildly differing phone bills.

          I understand your viewpoint - you want one less thing to worry about. But in every other area of your expenses, you just budget for an average amount - gas, food, whatever.

          Unless you get unlimited, never-expiring rollover minutes/bandwidth - and good luck with that - the "plan" model ALWAYS favors the provider. It's like this:

          1. Estimate your usage and choose a plan.
          2. Did you use less than that? You paid too much. The carrier wins.
          3. Did you use more than that? You got charged fees. The carrier wins.

          The optimal price model for the consumer is where you pay for exactly what you use at a fair per-unit price.

          Of course, what's missing from these "metered" plans is to take it the other direction. If I'm going to pay extra for using more than a cap amount, I want to pay zero when I use zero and pennies when I use very little. It's only fair.

      • by tthomas48 ( 180798 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:49PM (#27590787) Homepage

        What costs? Their bandwidth costs have been going down, and their profits have been going up. There are no costs they have to pass onto the consumer.

        You mean the cost of losing their cable business because Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes do what they do, but better and cheaper? I think that's the cost they're passing onto the consumer. It's an anti-competitive penalty to lock consumers into the "Time Warner Family of Products".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fm6 ( 162816 )

        I've often wondered why we can't have packet meters. Too difficult to implement? Too intimidating to customers?

        But tiered pricing isn't so bad if you do it right. I agree that the way cell phone providers do it sucks. But it's not the only way.

        In Australia, when you hit your cap you start getting drastically throttled. That means you're pretty much limited to email and low-bandwidth web browsing. If that happens to you a lot (it wouldn't happen at all to most users) and if you care about it (I suspect most

      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        I'm generally opposed to this sort of thing. The reason is obvious: I use a lot of bandwidth compared to most folks, and wish to pay as little as possible.

        However, you raise an interesting point: "Lower off-peak rates." If I can only download torrents between 2 and 6AM without it costing me an arm and a leg, then so be it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Quite a number of Australian ISPs do allow this. For example, we get 7 gb per month, but we also get a "bonus" 14 gb of off peak data which is available from 12am to 12pm. You can guess when p2p gets scheduled.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jc42 ( 318812 )

        It's the same way the cell phone companies do it: you have to guess how many minutes you're going to use ahead of time, then get shorted for what you don't use and pay huge overages for when you exceed you're initial guess. Let's get back to the electric utility model where you are charged for exactly what you use, and if anything, you get lower off-peak rates.

        But there's one major problem with these metaphors: With the phone, and to a somewhat lesser extent with electricity, consumers can measure their us

    • by MagicM ( 85041 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:17PM (#27590253)

      d) Everything stays priced the same as now, without throttling or download caps
      So pick a, b, or c. And stop kidding yourself that you can pick d

      What's wrong with picking d? It just means that at peak times, when your ISP has to process more data than it has bandwidth for, everyone's transfer rate goes down. This happens until those watching streaming video get fed up with the "buffering..." and go do something else, at which point everyone else's transfer rate goes back up.

      Nobody has to pay more, no schemes are necessary, and those ISPs who also happen to be Cable TV operators get to rejoice in the fact that streaming video failed. Everyone is happy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chabo ( 880571 )

        What should actually happen is that they advertise the speed their infrastructure is capable of.

        If Comcast has 100Mbps of total bandwidth available for the 100 customers on my node, then they should sell me a 1Mbps plan, even if it costs the same as my current "unlimited" 6Mbps plan, capped at 250GB. If I happen to get more than 1Mbps at times because my neighbors aren't using their bandwidth, then that's better for me, and for my ISP.

        • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:01PM (#27590997)

          Back in the day when people had landlines, did they think that their "unlimited local calling" allowed them to use the phone while everyone else also was? They probably, if asked, thought so, but in reality if everyone in the city picked up their landline to place a call at 6PM, many (actually, probably most) of them wouldn't have gotten a dial tone.

          If your house has 200 AMP service from the electric company, do you think you can draw 200 AMPs at any time? Well, no, not if everyone in your area is also using "their" 200 AMPs at the same time.

          What do you suppose would happen if everyone in a town supplied with municipal water turned on all their faucets at the same time. Yep, they would get a dribble compared to what they would get if they just turned it on at a random time.

          Virtually all utilities "over subscribe". I'm betting that if you read the medium sized print in your residential cable broadband contract, you will find that they don't guarantee bandwidth. If you want bandwidth guarantees, try business class services.

          I'd agree, if the advertised "Up To X Mb Per Second" isn't available much of the day, the advertising would be dishonest, but in my limited experience, most times of the day, ComCast meets their "up to" bandwidth advertising.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by fredklein ( 532096 )

            Those analogies suck.

            YES, If I pay for "200 AMP" service, I damn well expect to be able to pull 200 amps. If I can't, then it's not 200 amp service! If I pay for 30/5 (Optimum Online BOOST), then I should get 30/5. (I understand getting slightly less due to line conditions, etc, but when I pay for 30/5, I expect to at least get somewhere close to that thruput.)

            You seem to be fine with an ISP giving you a 64kbps connection under a "Up To 10000000MBps" plan, simply because it says 'up to'.

            I'm betting that if

      • Everyone is happy.

        Except for me... If it weren't for streaming video I'd probably settle for 768k service from Verizon DSL for $14.99/month.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:43PM (#27590693)

        The problem is the issue behind this whole thing has nothing to do with internet traffic and the poor ISPs who can't keep up. It's about keeping people from watching content on the net rather than on the TV, or on the Cable Provider's website which they charge for. Hulu has deals with the networks, not with the cable providers. TWC doesn't like that.

      • Thats a really crappy solution....for everyone.

        At the minimum there should be a premium service where the packets are prioritized. If I'm running a business or just want to play a game I should have an option to get decent performance when I want it.

    • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:19PM (#27590295)
      Time Warner can do what ever they want if they pay back the $200 billion in infrastructure they received from taxpayers enabling a monopoly in some areas. All the data so far shows that a very small percentage of people are very heavy users and it remains to be be seen if that is actually causing any problems for Time Warner. What is clear is that Time Warner is trying to protect their outdated cable tv business model, and as long as we paid for the infrastructure they should have limits to what they can do with it. They should publish data on their problems if they want any reasonable resolution. Until then, "d" is the only option that can be picked.
      • by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:48PM (#27590777) Journal

        Well said.

        Besides that, I don't see how throwing more money at them will magically clear up the problem. We already tried that[as you mentioned], yet here we are again. "Bury us in money, and everything will instantly be OMGZ!!! Ponies!"

        I read my TOS with my ISP before I signed. There is no clause or restriction on usage of bandwidth/data amounts.
        What limits there are involve not setting up a webserver, or connecting more than three computers to the net at a time.

        The service I get now for $40 USD/month would jump to a minimum of $75 USD/month.

        Sounds like a raw deal to me. I'm not with TW, but don't like the thought of this becoming an 'industry standard'.


        When networks are built out, the level of bandwidth consumption must be projected in advance; when those projections fall short, networks encounter serious congestion problems. Now that online gaming, streaming video, remote console and hard drive access, VoIP, and video conferencing are all increasingly common uses of the Internet, bandwidth consumption has exploded. According to Time Warner, it's exploding 40% faster than previously expected.

        [my emphasis]

        Yet all of those services have joyously and lavishly been advertised and marketed by these very same ISP.'s. What did they expect? Was this not what they were aiming for by promoting them?
        I'm not buying this load of BS.

      • by fm6 ( 162816 )

        You're basically arguing "As long as they're being dishonest, it doesn't matter whether they have a sustainable business model".

        That's morally satisfying, but doesn't solve any problems. If a business can't sustain itself economically, it will die. The fact that the business was started with stolen money doesn't change anything.

        If you think that TW should be made to pay the money back or spend it on infrastructure, go for it. But that's really a separate issue from pricing models. The whole all-you-can-eat

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dan667 ( 564390 )
          No I am not. US Taxpayers own $200 billion in Time Warner infrastructure. It is not their to do what they want with it. And you are making assumptions about their profitability. Time Warner is making a lot of money as is even with the AOL boat anchor.

          Time Warner 2009 Q4 - Excluding one-time items, profit was 23 cents a share.

          If they are having problems, the data is certainly not showing it. Of course yelling and whining is very popular with them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I, like anyone else, would love to have unlimited internet.

      But, if this metered approach is going to work, there needs to be a way to provide a real time, accurate way to view how much of your allotted data has been used. Without this there will never be a fair way to do it.

      Maybe they should ship everyone a mode with a digital meter right there on the front that starts to change colors the closer you get to your cap.

      Even then, certain things, such as security updates, need a way to get passed through witho

      • "Maybe they should ship everyone a mode with a digital meter right there on the front that starts to change colors the closer you get to your cap."

        Well, they'd better do it for free.

        I bought and paid for my own cable modem to save money...I don't like having to pay rental fees, or the high $$ they charge you that you can buy for significantly less elsewhere.

      • a 5 screen flash heavy page with 98% ads and the actual info is on screen 3 but is a graphic bar thing that has about 15% shimmy

        what we want
        an RSS feed and email alert at the 70-80-90-95 mark

    • The biggest problem here, as far as I can tell, is dealing with privacy laws or fear of reprisal in dealing with privacy issues.

      No ISP worries just about the overall network, they worry about the last mile connections just as much. Since neighborhoods share a certain-sized pipe to the backbone, that pipe's overall usage is their major cause for concern. I know everyone here thinks this has to do with profitability, but when you run a business and see a limited-supply item skyrocket in usage (i.e., everyon

      • by uncqual ( 836337 )

        What the ISPs need to do is offer ALL users upgrades immediately to routers that will display their current monthly usage in a simple LED/LCD screen. This would not be hard to do, but it would be costly.

        Why not just provide a web site that you can access that shows you near real time usage for your connection and maybe pretty shiny graphs, RSS feeds, and email alerts as desired. Since the GB/month caps are not maintained by the modem, why involve the modem in the display/monitoring of them? Naive users usually install the "ISP Software" anyway and the software could include an access to the monitoring website with cool bent paperclips popping up when the customer is getting close to limits. Besides, I only

    • by swilver ( 617741 )

      I pick d) -- healthy competition proves it is possible. It's not like the technology to move more data over the same lines hasn't improved over the years.

    • Look, one way or the other, almost every broadband ISP has overbuilt their network and was not prepared for the advent of HD video and streaming services. The hard fact is that they cannot (and never could) deliver "unlimited" bandwidth.

      Oh, of course not -- nobody is saying that they could. So where are the bottlenecks? Are they bottlenecking? Or are they just sore that they're losing 5% of their profits due to increased metered charges from their upstreams?

    • Look, one way or the other, almost every broadband ISP has overbuilt their network and was not prepared for the advent of HD video and streaming services.

      Who says? Anyone without a vested interest in you believing it?

    • by Thraxen ( 455388 )

      Throttling is easily better caps if the throttling is transparent and fair. With caps you will either hit a wall and your connection will cease to work or you will be hit with overage charges. I'd much rather see a sensible throttling scheme that is applied ONLY when the system is hitting maximum capacity. But how about this for option D:

      d) Spend some those billions in profits to upgrade the network.

      As recent reporting has shown, TWC profited over 4 billion on their data services last year and their exp

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Or you could have a set cap with a high speed. When you hit your cap, they limit your speed to some minimal number for email and web browsing. I've heard of that system before, I believe in Australia and/or New Zealand.

        Of course, I'd rather they upgrade their network, but there are other options...

        • by Thraxen ( 455388 )

          Yeah, a combo of quota + throttling. But if you're going to throttle when you hit the cap, I'd just rather see throttling when the network maxes out. This way you can still get good speeds during off-peak hours.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
      Or, just get a business connection. I pay about $70/mo, with no caps, no blocked ports, I can run servers, I get a static IP.

      At least that's what I get from Cox cable....

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BenFenner ( 981342 )
      e) Spend a portion of net profit on replacing costly/limited connections with cheaper, higher efficiency bandwidth connections to allow your business to remain competitive in the marketplace. --Remember, this is what any good business does and what stock owners should be insistent on. Otherwise, due to competition and natural market forces, your company will become stagnant, outdated, irrelevant and surpassed by nimbler, smarter companies.
      Competition ladies and gentleman, a wonderful thing. For some reason
      • We're talking about ISP's... WHAT competition? In my entire life I've never met anyone that had a choice between more than 2 ISPs for either cable or DSL.
    • How would A work? Do you mean reduce demand for bandwidth by charging more, or do you mean charging more and using the increased money to expand? I'm just somewhat confused, it seems you're saying they don't have the capability, so I'm not sure how charging more is going to increase their capability.

    • by pembo13 ( 770295 )

      What's the point of having bandwidth limits _and_ download limits? And really, I don't think customers should have to pay because TW couldn't do the algebra to determine what hardware they needed based on the bandwidth they sold to each customer. THEY are the ones who marketted the bandwidth, its not like they had no idea how many bytes a month people could download.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by S77IM ( 1371931 )

      e) Implement Quality-of-Service pricing. If the network really does get congested, you can pay extra to give your bits priority. If the network isn't congested, you pay the same as everyone else.

      (This maintains net neutrality if all customers pay the same rate for high priority. When Time Warner Cable gives a higher rate to FoxNews.com than to CNN.com because they are partners with CNN, that would break neutrality.)

        -- 77IM

    • I pretty much agree with you, except for the part where you blame the problem on the recent growth of streaming media. This problem has been around since commercial ISPs started appearing. Streaming media has just made the issue impossible to avoid.

      Somehow geeks can't get it through their heads that providing bandwidth costs money. Back around 1992, I started to watch a talk on CSPAN about the potential of this new thing called the Internet. I tuned out when the geeks in the audience started flaming the spe

    • Look, one way or the other, almost every broadband ISP has overbuilt their network and was not prepared for the advent of HD video and streaming services.

      If they overbuilt their broadband networks then they should be able to handle HD, HD uses broadband. Fact is is they didn't build enough broadband and oversold their services.

      The hard fact is that they cannot (and never could) deliver "unlimited" bandwidth. So either they:

      a) Raise their prices considerably on all their "unlimited" plans--sucks for the l

    • I think you're papering over the real problem. Download caps can be set in such a way that they aren't an issue even to power users. Restrict caps to peak hours. Throttle all bandwidth after cap has been exceeded. Meter bandwidth after cap has been exceeded. All can be done such that even if I happen to download the latest WoW expansion twice (once for Mac, once for PC), watched a few Netflix streaming movies and tried out Ubuntu, Suse and Redhat in a free for all, I don't get royally shafted in my connecti

    • by Endo13 ( 1000782 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:42PM (#27590681)

      Actually you skipped the only options that should even be considered.

      a) They need to pony up and install the extra infrastructure they've already been paid to install with our tax dollars and then actually provide the service they are currently selling.

      b) Since they're apparently unwilling or incapable of doing A, relieve them of their monopolies and introduce more competition.

    • Or they could come up with a sane progressive billing system.

      Say $2 a month for each mbs so that if I wanted a 10mbs connection my base bill would be $20. Then offer pricing that actually coincides with costs. I highly doubt that TW is paying 1$ per gb to transfer data through the big pipes. I don't know the actual cost because that information isn't readily accessible to the consumers but I can't imagine it's more than 10 cents per gb. Whatever the cost is, bump it up by 50% and pass it on to me. Let

    • by srh2o ( 442608 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:47PM (#27590755)
      All the evidence I've seen shows that d.) is entirely possible. Time Warner Cable has been making large profits already with the current system and their is no evidence that there is a bandwidth crunch. In fact all the evidence points to bandwidth caps having little or nothing to do with network management and everything to do with a cash grab. Best of all the COO of Time Warner Cable Lendell Hobbs agrees with me. "Mr. Hobbs tried to strike a balance, saying that while the company is concerned about the cost to maintain its broadband network, investors should not be worried. He said it was "absolutely not" true that Time Warner's profits were being squeezed by the cost of heavy broadband users. "If you are getting feedback that there is an immediate problem, nothing could be further from the truth," he said." http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/time-warner-cable-profits-on-broadband-are-great-and-will-grow-because-of-caps/ [nytimes.com]
    • Really they are only (supposedly) oversubscribed during prime time.

      If top tier users get some QOS that sounds reasonable. As a top tier user, I don't care that all my bandwidth is at 10meg all the time, I just want to be able to use the internet without worrying it's THIS episode of The Office or SUSe ISO or Ubuntu update that will push me over the edge.

      They Could make QOS transparent, If you use more than X (say 100Gigs a month) You will be QOSed between the hours of 6 and 12PM. All your traffic will be "b

    • by Eil ( 82413 )

      I wish people who've never owned or worked at an ISP would quite making these inane arguments. And since you used bold, I will too. Stop advocating the punishment of users for wanting to actually use the service that purchased. Bandwidth is not (or should not) be this precious non-renewable resource that must be conserved at all costs.

      The ISP business model isn't terribly difficult to comprehend:

      1) Buy a bunch of bandwidth and infrastructure,
      2) Resell the bandwidth in many smaller portions,
      3) Adequately fun

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      C is fine, but then there should be a fee for the service and a fee per GB, like all other metered services. That fee should not be anywhere near $1/GB. Perhaps $15/month + actual bandwidth cost + markup. Just like your electric bill. No utility monopoly should be able to set their own prices, due to a total lack of competition.

      The price tiers they proposed did not lower the prices for light users at all, just raised them for everyone.

    • by octaene ( 171858 )

      Your post is great, and well thought-out. The only concern I have with plan C is for folks like myself who are work-at-home employees. I can't really predict how much bandwidth I use for work, and I also have a tough time separating out my work bandwidth versus my personal use bandwidth...

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:10PM (#27590145) Homepage Journal
    Are they trying to no LIMIT people who have and have had for awhile, the advertised 'unlimited' plan?

    Yeah, I could see how they'd get pissed.

    I could see Time Warner trying to set this up with NEW customers, but, with existing ones...how can they change it in the middle of the game? I know they say in the TOS they can change some things, but, can they legally change the basic service agreement on what a person contracted with them to provide?!?!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
      "Are they trying to no LIMIT people who have and have had for awhile, the advertised 'unlimited' plan?"

      I have got to start reading before I hit submit:

      Are they trying to start to LIMIT people who have and have had for awhile, the advertised 'unlimited' plan?

      • by cabjf ( 710106 )
        Yes. The plan is to let existing users see their usage for a couple of months then let them pick which tier to sign up for at the end of the summer.
  • by DarKnyht ( 671407 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:10PM (#27590149)

    TW Exec 1 - "What was that?"

    TW Exec 2 - "That was the sound of a million subscribers switching to DSL and our stockholders crying in pain."

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Yeah, because AT&T and other DSL providers aren't going to set download caps just as soon as Time Warner does.

      Seriously, you think they want a bunch of heavy users as customers--when they lose money on each one of them? If you're the kind of user who wants to fight download caps, odds are your the kind of broadband customer that NO ISP WANTS; cable, dsl or otherwise.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

        AT&T owns most of the phone lines and has their own backbone connections, the cost of lighting up more fiber and even running more fiber along the existing right of ways they're using is minimal compared to the amount of money they're fleecing out of their customers. I get even worse service than it was back in the pacbell days, arguably they ought to have figured out how to give it to me cheaper by now, but it's ten bucks a month more. And for what? Crushed by the Death Star. They bought my fucking cel

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cpt_Kirks ( 37296 )

        Seriously, you think they want a bunch of heavy users as customers--when they lose money on each one of them?

        As soon as Granny figures out she can get her soaps anytime, we ALL will be "heavy users". Streaming video, in any acceptable resolution, is a resource HOG.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Aqualung812 ( 959532 )
          There is a reason that Sat and Cable still work. Multicast was rejected by the ISPs, and Unicast just plan sucks when dealing with video on a large scale. For example, video on unicast of a guy showing how to install Linux on a PS3 perfect. Video of the SuperBowl over unicast = FAIL.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by peragrin ( 659227 )

      Why bother with AT&T?

      In most areas you can switch to earthlink using the same modem, same lines and switch the service over by phone in less than an hour.

      Be sure to call time warner and tell them your canceling your internet with them due to unsavory business practices.

    • DSL? We've got fiber to choose from in Austin (AT&T U-verse). Plus we have a third-party cable provider (Grande) with limited availability. I think Time Warner is actually actively committing suicide.

      Actually, what I think they're doing is checking to see if customers will get off their butts in a fairly competitive market and switch. That's the experiment. If everyone just rolls over and takes it in a competitive market, they can know they can roll it out to their monopoly markets without fear.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:14PM (#27590199) Journal
    TW Scam Artist: So this is how it works. See this graph here? Stats are showing that 80% of your users lie in monthly usage between 1GB and 100GBs of usage and they're paying about $45 as it is. So we reward the ten percent below 1GB with 1/3 their normal cost and we hit the 80% in bell curve here with 66% increase in price.
    TW CEO: And the 10% above 100GB per month?
    TW Scam Artist: Fuck 'em. We don't even want their business and what they're doing is probably illegal as it is. We hit them with one crippling monthly payment and they leave. There will be splash back but nothing our mitigation team can't handle.
    TW CEO: I see. How on earth are we going to market a 66% increase to 80% of our users?
    TW Scam Artist: We aren't. We're going to cherry pick stats. That's 1,000 songs downloaded from iTunes. Do you download 1,000 songs a month? No. That's 1,000,000 webpages and we point out that that isn't humanly possible to do in a month. We gotta be careful and skirt some of the obvious stuff like if you stream netflix, youtube, vimeo or any video site just a few hours and you're already in the $75 range. Avoid that. And avoid questions on people who download DVDs or even large updates to popular software like Warcraft and Windows.
    TW CEO: So we just unleash this on them?
    TW Scam Artist: No, we do a trial run and expect bad feedback. Then we say "oh gosh, some people didn't like it, so we're doubling the lower limit to 2GB!" and that loses us like 1% of the bell curve but we don't care. The people feel like they're vindicated blah blah blah they don't even realize or sign anything when this goes into effect. After that bullshit trial run, we are free to unleash it because it looks like we've done our homework and compromised our profits in the interest of the consumer.
    TW CEO: Why are we doing this, are we having network and hardware problems?
    TW Scam Artist: No, are you stupid? That shit gets better daily. Oh, did I hurt your feelings? I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was employed by a bunch of dumbass hippies waiting to roll over whenever an opportunity of epic proportions gets dropped in their lap.
    TW CEO: My apologies, here's your sack of money.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by compro01 ( 777531 )

      You had me until "So we reward the ten percent below 1GB with 1/3 their normal cost".

      • To be precise, reward should be in quotes and be said sarcastically. It's the cost of the lipstick they're applying to the pig.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bFusion ( 1433853 )

      That sounds about right.

      Hell, the latest major patch for World of Warcraft was closing on a gig by itself. If I have two computers and two laptops that need to download it (for girlfriend and other visiting friends) I'm completely boned.

      Granted I can copy/paste the patch file from one computer to another, but it's the principle of the thing here! There is this feeling I get from these revisions that "If you use more than a few gigs a month you're probably a pirate anyway" ... it's REALLY easy to burn throug

  • by Drakin020 ( 980931 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:23PM (#27590363)

    It's not bandwidth they need to cap, it's download speeds.

    Seriously, just because someone downloads 3TB's of porn doesn't mean the internet is going to run out of fuel. The kicker is how FAST they are downloading.

    If everyone in the world started downloading at 4MB/sec then we would have problems. It's not how much they download.

    • A cap on download speeds is a cap on bandwidth implicitly. You can't download more than [(seconds in that month) * (kilobyte/second) / 10^6] gigabytes in a month.

      A cap on bandwidth is a cap on download speeds implicitly. Assuming you don't want to pay overage, your effective constant download rate is [(cap in gigabytes * 10^6) / (seconds in a month)] kB/s.

      So for the month of September (it's round with 30 days):
      2592000 seconds in September (30 days * 24 hrs/day * 60 min/hr * 60 sec/min = 2592000)

      Assume tha

      • I know it's lame to reply to myself, but take a look at it from the other way: 100 GB cap in September:

        (100 GB / 1 month) * (10^6 KB/ 1 GB) * (1 month / 2592000 seconds) = 38.6 KB/s * (8 bits / 1 byte) = 309 kbps.

        So Time Warner wants you to pay the same for your large pipe as for a 300 kbps pipe, around six times faster than a 56K modem.

  • Rochester (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mc1138 ( 718275 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:26PM (#27590401) Homepage
    As a Rochester Time Warner customer myself and my friends who are also customers are pretty upset about all of this. The big problem is that as far as broadband goes choices are slim. Either Time Warner, or Earthlink, who buys its bandwidth from Time Warner. Beyond that its either Clearwire, Frontier DSL, both of which suck, or shell out a ton for a commercial grade installation in your house/apartment, which probably isn't actually an option. I've already said that if someone like Verizon were to introduce FiOS to the area at the same time Time Warner did this, they'd probably have a lot of people jump ship...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cabjf ( 710106 )
      They probably will still lose a lot of customers for this. This is just an extension of their initial tests. They want to see how hard they can squeeze before losing too many customers. The markets they're planning to roll this out in have limited competition. They aren't likely to lose too many customers, but they can use that data to project what would happen in an area with more competition. If they cannot be convinced to either put reasonable caps in place or abandon capping at all, I think the best
  • Squeak louder (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MasseKid ( 1294554 )
    It's clear that squeaking is doing some good. So lets squeak louder and harder. Personally, I don't use TWC (thank god), but if I don't say something now, it will be a matter of time before this is an "Accepted" practice.
  • And Verizon Says... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Silentknyght ( 1042778 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:38PM (#27590617)
    from stopthecap.com [stopthecap.com]

    Samuel Greenholtz, a retired manager from Verizon, offered this absolutely impenetrable thinking on why broadband providers needed to impose caps on customers and were forced to charge way too much for them:

    While a tiered pricing structure may have been inevitable in the long run, if the corporate bashing horde stayed out of the way, the vast majority of users would have avoided paying more for additional capacity. Time Warner Cable does give the politicians what they are looking for â" more bandwidth availability for all of its subscribers. Still, the lowest speed package is not going to be enough for most of the consumers â" and so they will have to take the higher tier offerings â" along with the new overage charges. Had the MSOs been allowed to just cap excessive users, most of the subs would have continued to receive a reasonable amount of bandwidth at the same flat price.

    Ironically, all of the illogic obsession with net neutrality will result in even more of a usage-based pricing scheme. There will now be several layers of capping. The anti-ISP crowd has actually created a more beneficial pricing system for these companies. And there is certainly nothing unfair about this development. But the clamoring for so-called equality resulted in an acceleration of the removal of the all-you-can-eat advantage for consumers.

    Stopthecap.com is referenced in the article to which Slashdot linked. The citation above from Sam Greenholtz was so outlandish, so clearly showing pro-corporate stances, I had to call it out. I didn't think the corporate side was so violently opposed to net neutrality and unlimited bandwidth, but with gems like "illogical obsession" and "corporate bashing horde", I'm surprised that there's not any active raping and pillaging.

  • Actually. (Score:5, Informative)

    by tthomas48 ( 180798 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @04:45PM (#27590719) Homepage

    They haven't rescheduled anything. This is the exact same start date I got when I called them. This is just more fluff.

    I called and emailed (to make sure I cost them the most money) to verify that my price lock guarantee wouldn't allow them to charge me an extra cent or restrict my access. Once I'm done with that I've notified them I'm leaving.

    This is going to be really unpopular once people understand their marketing. My mom and dad don't have cable, but they do have Road Runner. They watch Netflix Watch Now movies (as they really like old movies and British TV shows, a place where Netflix excels). My Dad mentioned that he was hoping it would lower his bill. I pointed out that he was exactly the sort of user they were trying to get more money out of. He doesn't utilize their enormously profitable cable division and he's downloading movies from a competitor. He's going to be a direct target of this price gouging.

    If my Dad (who's decently tech savvy) didn't spot this then the "unpopularity" they're seeing now is going to be nothing compared to what happens when they try to attempt to bill people for it.

  • NO change at all (Score:3, Informative)

    by jsalbre ( 663115 ) <jsalbre@gmaiCOWl.com minus herbivore> on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:05PM (#27591055) Homepage Journal
    The rape^H^H^H^Htesting hasn't been delayed at all. October is the date TWC has been saying it would start in Texas since they announced the whole thing. The San Antonio Express-News is just clueless, and sadly other media sites are picking up on their article and repeating the nonsense.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:08PM (#27591115)
    Tried to go visit the stopthecap.com site through my Comcast account and guess what? Connection interrupted during negotiation.

    Okay, F-them, I'll read it out of the Google cached page. That completely stalled out also. How long has it been since you've seen the Google cache stall out for minutes? Sniff, sniff, something stinks here.

    Where to I find a service that gives me the IP address for a DNS lookup?
  • Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:52PM (#27591661) Homepage

    When I read the headline, I was hoping TW was getting sued over the cap.
    Then I RTFS (this is /., I didn't RTFA).

  • by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:34PM (#27593027) Homepage

    Remember those Slashdot articles a few years ago about Google buying up dark fiber? [slashdot.org]

    And more recently, building massive data centers near power stations? [datacenterknowledge.com]

    I wonder if they might be waiting for something like this to open up their ISP division and bury Comcast and TWC by offering unmetered service?

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"