back to article Time Warner gives America metered internet

Time Warner Cable is two days away from rolling out metered internet service in the Gulf Coast town of Beaumont, Texas. In January, Broadband Reports leaked a Time Warner memo that discussed this "consumption based billing" trial, and yesterday, in an interview with the Associated Press, the company finally announced the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Videotron and Bell sympatico have had these for a long time, especially Videotron who introduced it years ago.

    I hope they do honor the current plans however. When you lock your users in a contract, you have to respect it too. See the class action vs videotron regarding what can happen when you don't.

    Paris, cause she loves to blow caps

  2. Michael

    Up as well as down?

    That's one way to kill off torrents I suppose. Who wants to seed when it can end up costing them money?

  3. Scott


    down here in the arse end of the internet (NZ) we've always had data caps - either as described in the article for cable plans, or more commonly for DSL having your speed cut down to dialup speeds when you go over your cap.

    I wouldn't have thought this would take off in a country that has almost unlimited choice and so customers will just change to a provider that still offers all-you-can-eat plans.

    icon, cos it's obvious what the 5% are doing :D

  4. Greek Geek

    40gb makes Rogers look generous

    My Rogers meter shows around 300mb on days I'm only surfing, thanks to VOIP. Conflict of interest with Rogers Home Phone?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can that be right?

    "$29.95 a month for a 5GB cap and 768kbps"

    Where I am (Canada) we get 200GB month and 5 megabit speed for that price.

  6. Jim

    The official demise of unmetered access?

    But $30 for 5Gb @768? Surely you can get better 3G data packages than this?

    Oh sorry, forgot this is/was AOL...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    They'll lose their subscribers

    All cons no pros is not a marketing strategy.


  8. Jules


    "According to Time Warner, 5 per cent of its customers eat up half the capacity on its network. And the company says the Beaumont trial is an effort to make those 5 per cent pay for their bandwidth love."

    Then why aren't these metered packages much cheaper than competing, unmetered products? Seem more like an attempt to gouge the customers whilst avoiding investment in network upgrades.

  9. Nexox Enigma

    $1 / GB?

    Thats kind of insanely high. I don't know what you need a 15mbit line for if you can hit your monthly download cap in just a couple hours. I regularly pull down 100+gb in a weekend on my 12mbit connection. I also love that they're charging approximately the same amount for the 40gb cap vs the previous unlimited 15mbit connection.

    Obviously this will catch on, since it saves the ISP money while only pissing off 5% of their customers. It isn't like the customers generally have another option in the US, so the ones that want a lot of bandwith either A) don't get it at all or B) pay out the ass for it.

    Get ready for the end of an era.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Roll Over Bandwidth

    Fine! I'll pay your stinking price. But if I don't use up all my bandwidth it should roll over or pay me a dollar for every GB I don't use. Like thats going to happen.

  11. Andy Bright

    Nothing new

    I know many smaller ISPs that offer similar subscriptions and charge about the same for downloading additional content. The theory is that your average consumer doesn't download more than 4 - 5 gigabytes of data each month, but of course that was before the advent of youtube and hasn't taken into consideration IPTV or legitimate movie downloads.

    Of course these same providers also offer un-metered internet at a higher cost or if your broadband is bundled.

    Actually I've also seen what happens when it all goes pear shaped. A friend from work got a $320 telephone bill (instead of the usual $60) after his daughter discovered bittorrent. I tried my best, but ultimately failed, to not laugh.

    The thing is the people that say subscribers will ditch the service are dead wrong. At the moment the number of users that download more than 5 gigabytes of data a month is still very low. The general public tends to use the internet for Amazon, Google and email and not much else.

    But even when people realise they're being metered, there's no evidence they switch providers. At least not so far and not when unmetered alternatives are available from the same company.

  12. ZM
    Thumb Down

    @nenox enigma

    Yeah, you're one of the 5% using 50% of the bandwidth.


    Comcast is thinking about 250gb caps, which I think is more fair, but being from the States, I'm not a big fan of any cap, at all. Still, I don't really use THAT much bandwidth on a monthly basis, so it's not going to really effect me all that much...

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I smell a class-action lawsuit.

    I wonder if they had the words "unlimited Internet" and "flat rate" in their contract. If so, their users should let them have it with both barrels for breach of contract. I know I would. Then companies would learn not to offer what they can't deliver.

  14. James
    Dead Vulture

    $1/GB. I can beat that...

    Pffft - $1 per gig. If you want to see proper gouging you want to try Australia, where the incumbent will sting your for $150/GB:

    Oddly enough, amongst the knowledgeable, they're not the most favoured ISP here...

    Anyway, I welcome those Time Warner customers to our ridgy-didge Aussie internet experience.

  15. Steven Knox

    Lord High Sanvalvwag

    "If you saddle some users with a 5GB monthly cap at 768kbps, you're targeting more than just extreme bandwidth lovers. Comcast is also mulling a bandwidth cap, but it's thinking 250GB."

    Not fot 768kbps, they [Comcast] aren't. At 768kbps, the maximum you can download in a 30-day period is 237.3GB. The real news is that Time Warner is still selling cable internet access at 768kps! FOR $30!! 768kbps ADSL in these parts is priced around $10, FFS. For $30, you should be getting 3Mbps minimum.

    My guess is they selected Beaumont by looking for the town where they thought the population was most gullible, so they could "prove" that All Merika must love their insane plans.

    The joke? TW, of course.

  16. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    Thank goodness

    Sense is prevailing at last. I mean those Freetards were really ruining the interweb for the rest of us paytards you know.

  17. Ed Gould
    Paris Hilton

    Limits on traffic

    I am kind of curious on how other companies did the limit of downloads.

    I am using comcast which is a cable system AND I live in a building that has a bulk contract with comcast.

    We have a multi year contract with them. I am *GUESSING* they cannot change an existing contract to do limiting, would that be correct. IOW they can only alter the terms of the contract at renewal?

    I am not a legal person but that would seem to me that is correct. Am I incorrect?

    Paris for changing contracts in mid stream

  18. Long Fei

    Land of the free.

    Ha. I find this highly amusing! I live in China, where there's no cap at all. Mind you, the fastest (non commercial) speed I can get is 4Mbs. Still, good enough for me. (Cost is a bit less than 200RMB/month. About 7RMB = 1USD).

    And no, the great Firewall isn't a problem. Not many sites (that I go to) are blocked, (mostly blogging sites actually, and I that's actually a good thing IMO) and the ones that are, well, that's what proxies/proxy sites are for! :)

  19. Andy

    Wireless hackers

    So, who is responsible for the "over cap" charges if someone clones or otherwise hacks your connection and uses a heap of bandwidth, and how the heck would you prove it. Is it the people who provided the insecure modem or wireless network (i.e. the ISP)?

  20. Gav

    Yup - get used to it

    As said above - exactly the same here in Oz - as a recent arrival it frustrates the hell out of me - do they run out of data towards the end of the month? All the plans have caps, no-one talks bandwidth, just how much data you download each month.

  21. Frederick Karno
    Paris Hilton

    Its just a con

    The only thing that these firms listen to is profit if customers cant or wont leave then they will persue these tactics.

    They need all the bandwidth they can get to sell to other companies or use themselves to get streamed hdtv to people.

    So its up to the customers really, they will soon find bandwidth if 25% can leave.

    Paris cos its a no brainer

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Not a problem...

    If it's fair, but of course it's always tilted in favour of the company. I would be happy with 100GB a month for a fixed price, I pull down about 20 GB in a bad month, 2-4GB in a good one, I'm running TV episode torrents as well. If I step over my limit, then charge me 50p/GB for the extra.

    As a previous poster has said, simply metering from day one at a fixed rate $1/GB or whatever will kill everything, bar email and brief lookups for critical information, however I can see one thing that will happen, people will get savvy and start blocking all the images and flash junk that wastes bandwidth, so internet advertising revenue will be down! Shame!

    Hopefully market forces will "step in" and the ISPs offering un-metered services will be the real winners.

    @Nexox Enigma, what the feck are you storing this 100GB/weekend downloads on, you got a rack of EMC Syms in your garage?! More to the point, what are you actually pulling down?!

  23. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    "Hey, lets ass-rape our customers, they'll love that"

    What former AOL moron thought this one up, probably someone who still thinks that the average webpage is under 100k, and that movie/game/demo downloads are still a pipe dream.

    That disasterous AOL merger must have cost them big to attempt to claw back revenue with this abortion of an idea.

  24. david wilson


    >>I wonder if they had the words "unlimited Internet" and "flat rate" in their contract. If so, their users should let them have it with both barrels for breach of contract. I know I would."

    If they didn't also have "We'll never change the conditions" and "We'll never put up prices more than X% per year" in the contract, it'd be hard to sue them.

    Unless they have really incompetent lawyers, I'd have thought they'd have left some kind of wiggle room in the original (after all, how many customers actually bother to read the contract?) *and* checked their position before announcing changes.

  25. Steve

    Not a problem...

    "@Nexox Enigma, what the feck are you storing this 100GB/weekend downloads on, you got a rack of EMC Syms in your garage?! More to the point, what are you actually pulling down?!"

    He's saving the internet to disk.

  26. Law
    Black Helicopters

    250GB p/month is alright

    I download all my HDTV from the interwebs and it rarely comes to more than 250GB a month... so if the price is right, a 250GB should be fairly acceptable to me, I would rather a set cap than a non-neutral net. Having said that, it would be awesome if they just left my unlimited connection alone and just dropped the price a little more!! :)

    Ahem - if they are reading this:

    I for one welcome our new bandwidth-bean-counting overlords!!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CF mobile phones

    With mobile phones you pay a set amount per month and get a corresponding amount of inclusive calls / texts. Anything over that and you get disproportionately charged. If you are a light user you buy a light plan and if a heavy user you buy a heavy plan. If your usage changes you change plans.

    If you are an extremely light user you use someone else's phone, a payphone or you get pay as you go.

    This seems to work quite well. Most people are reasonably happy and as a business model it seems appropriate.

    Interweb access will go the same way. you want to download 250Gb of "linux distros" per month then you will need to pay for it. If you want to use VOIP services to keep your phone bill down or play online games 24/7 then fine. You will just have to pay more for it than those who don't.

    I am well aware that the heavy torrent users are only downloading linux distros and nothing else but you will have to decide if you really need all of the additional SuSe , Ubuntu, Slackware, Xandros, DebbieDoesDallOS, AmyWineHouseGreatestHitsOS etc. distros or not.

    I for one welcome not paying for you to download porn/music/movies in future so I say bring it on.

  28. Jeff Tank
    Thumb Down


    If I was Netflix or one of those other sprouting companies that provided legitimate movies over the internet, I'd sue Time Warner claiming anti-competitive business practices. For if TW wants to cap peoples bandwidth, people will try to conserve bandwidth, and if people try to conserver bandwidth, then our business will be ruined.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Re: CF mobile phones

    Lee, nowhere in the article it says that the remaining 95% of the users would be "not paying for you to download porn/music/movies". $30 for 768kbps is outrageous, and $55 for 15Mbps is what an "unlimited" connection would normally cost, so nobody is getting a discount. You may be hoping that other ISPs (if they eventually adopt caps) will be nicer than TW but we all know how unlikely that sounds. Also cell carriers with their abusive overage charges, termination fees, phone-as-modem restrictions, etc are not a good example here.

  30. William Bronze badge

    Bad News For News Sites

    If this catches on, then you can rest assured there will be a raft of people saving bandwidth by getting rid of all the adverts.

    Why should I use up by limited bandwidth night by downloading bleeding adverts? I mean, what % in data of this very webpage is made up by adverts?

  31. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    Abject failure to be

    This has been tried before and it

    failed miserably.

    The only time this kind of thing ever works is if all of the ISPs act lockstep but as soon as someone needs customers out comes the buffet.

  32. david wilson

    @Eduard Coli

    >>"The only time this kind of thing ever works is if all of the ISPs act lockstep but as soon as someone needs customers out comes the buffet."

    Which ISPs actually *want*, (let alone *need*) the top few percent of bandwidth-consumers?

  33. Lance

    What contract?

    I keep hearing about contracts. What contracts? The three times I have had TW it was month to month, you can leave when you want. There is no contract.

  34. Anthony Bathgate

    5% use 50%

    I usually hear this statistic as 1% uses 50% - so let us 1% users have a god damned unlimited plan that YOU WILL NOT NAG US ABOUT USING that costs twice as much as your silly metered plans.

    Oh, wait - Comcast already has this service tier - it's called their "Business class" service and it's CHEAPER (and comes with some SaaS Exchange action, too)

  35. Nexox Enigma

    What /do/ I download?

    I suppose I am in that top 5%... I don't download 100gb every single weekend, but it isn't uncommon. I mean I have a 15 mbit connection, I need my fill of movies, TV, and porn, plus I like to keep personal mirrors of my favorite distros and apps, local copies of VMs from work, plus some errata. And I have a fileserver with around 4.5TB of raid5 arrays to make sure that none of that pirated TV evaporates in a freak hdd crash.

    I suppose as someone always offers an unlimited business class connection I'd be willing to pay extra for that. With the amount that I already spend on computers and harddrives, a little extra for a real connection wouldn't be too big a problem.

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