Last week Broadband Reports broke the story of Time Warner's decision to test overage charges
for their biggest users. I don't think it really makes sense for ISPs to charge in a way that makes their own services less valuable, but that's a different story. As long as the caps are clearly stated, it's worth seeing what happens. However, most of the talk about the caps seemed to suggest they would focus only on the off-the-charts extreme users of bandwidth in the "top 5%." However, Broadband Reports has another report now, suggesting that Time Warner will be testing a few different cap levels, including as low as 5GBs/month
, which seems excessively low. If you're doing perfectly normal things, such as watching (authorized!) online videos or doing remote backups, 5GB can disappear mighty quickly. That doesn't seem like a way to stop "excessive" use. It seems like a way to squeeze more money out of a large percentage of users. On top of that, this gives less and less incentive for Time Warner to improve their network. The more they can claim the need for these congestion charges, the more money they can make. That seems backwards. Of course, this wouldn't be an issue if there were serious broadband competition, but that's still a long way away apparently.