Time Warner Cable Experimenting With Overage Charges For Top Users

from the bait-and-switch dept

Broadband Reports notes that internal memos from Time Warner Cable suggest the company is experimenting with overage fees for their highest bandwidth users in Beaumont, Texas. If those overage charges work, the idea, of course, would be to then roll them out nationwide. On the whole, overage charges are a lot more palatable than unpublished traffic shaping rules or "fuzzy caps" where the top users are cut off without any explanation of what line they crossed. The key, of course, is that with both of those latter "solutions," the subscriber is told they're getting unlimited service, but the reality is different. Assuming that the overage charges and the rules surrounding them are clearly communicated, such charges are more reasonable. However, there are still questions about how consumers will react to such a change, especially after being sold on an "unlimited" service. The bigger issue is that capping bandwidth usage is a way to slow down internet-based innovation. If there had been overage charges a few years back, services like YouTube might never have caught on, as people would be too worried about how much bandwidth it would suck up. If the cable companies can't provide enough bandwidth, that's clearly an issue -- but most reports suggest that claims of a bandwidth crunch are overblown. Update: Just saw Adam Thierer's amusing pre-emptive reply to me on the topic. I'm not as against the idea as he suggests, though I do think, in the long run, it's not a very good solution.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2008 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Time Warner Cable Experimenting With Overage C

    Just change to another provider and get your friends to do the same. Don't forget to tell them why you are leaving. If enough people do it they ether will drop the idea or sell off that part of the company that actually has a brain.

    Or how about this for government problems:
    Just move to another country and get your friends to do the same. Don't forget to tell them why you are leaving. If enough people do it they ether will drop their ideas or separate off that part of the country that actually has a brain.

    Yeah, right. I'm sure that strategy will work.

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