Time Warner: No Metered Broadband... But We'll Kick You Offline If We Think You Used Too Much

from the that'll-be-good-for-PR dept

So Time Warner Cable has supposedly backed off its metered broadband until it can figure out how to do a better job presenting it (though, it's also threatening to delay upgrades if people don't accept caps or meters). Yet, as reader Matthew Henry alerts us, it appears that Time Warner Cable has instead just started kicking "unlimited" users offline without much warning. Apparently, when the user called to ask what was up, he was told he shouldn't have used so much of his unlimited broadband account. This is the sort of stuff Comcast used to do years ago and which helped contribute to its awful reputation. Nice of Time Warner Cable to try to fix its own reputation by going down the same bad path.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Turnabout is fair play

    TW: "You have used too much of your unlimited bandwidth, so we're kicking you off".

    Tgeigs: "Fine, but you've been collecting way too much of the monthly rate you charge, so I'm going to pay less".

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Turnabout is fair play

    That would be absolutely epic.

     

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  3.  
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    the angry intern, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 4:03pm

    interesting

    but I'd be willing to be in areas that have Fios, they probably won't do this, just like they weren't going to implement caps in areas that had Fios.

     

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  4.  
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    another mike, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 4:15pm

    Cox, too

    As far as I remember, no one got kicked offline for using too much of Cox Cable's bandwidth. But most of my co-workers and I have gotten nasty-grams about our usage. We display them in the office. Threatening to cancel service in favor of a "real network provider" always shuts them up.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Turnabout is fair play

    Now that you've been kicked off, you aren't going to be paying anything.

     

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  6.  
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    Yakko Warner, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    They're making Comcast look good

    44 * 4.3 weeks = 189.2GB, still well within Comcast's 250GB cap.

    And if 44GB is a year's worth of internet usage, then according to them, I use up my year in two months. And I don't do a whole lot -- some Xbox gaming, a lot of web surfing (including YouTube videos, but typically short, not full TV shows or movies).

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 5:19pm

    TWC is really taking a chance here. They are trying to pass laws in NC blocking competition. They've attracted national attention for legislation against broadband caps.

    The problem is the bottom line. TWC lost $22 a share last year. I have no idea how a cable company does that.

    Comcast made money. My guess is the management at TWC is getting nervous, and they have to start shaking some things up.

    I could buy losing $22 a share if they were expanding and improving service like crazy. But they aren't. I guess all those lobbyists and lawyerrs add up.

     

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  8.  
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    Paul G, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 5:33pm

    Same in the UK

    I am a Tiscali subscriber in the UK. Last year I got 3 messages over the space of 9 months. Each was a warning that my usage was excessive and that I should reduce my usage. Strange as I was on an uncapped service but when I looked into it it had the inevitable 'fair use' clause.

    I responded by asking what was the maximum bandwidth I could use without being an 'unfair' user. I stated that I would do my best to remain within this.

    I NEVER got a single response. Further more, the emails stopped coming.

     

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  9.  
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    RD, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 5:35pm

    Wither the Apoligitards?

    Just waiting for the industry Apoligitards to roll out with "you should pay for what you use!" and once again COMPLETELY miss the point that these plans were sold to the public as unlimited, then TW changed the rules (but didnt, sort of, they wont actually give you a straight answer UNTIL you go over the "limit")

    TW is scum, their company is shit, their service is beyond abysmal. I just with our useless Govt would open up competition and when a story like this hits, competitors will JUMP at the chance to steal TW customers with better service. But no, they are bought and paid for by big telco, so the consumer loses.

     

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  10.  
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    ToySouljah, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 5:40pm

    This ought to be interesting

    I do a lot online and so if they are doing this then I should be either getting a letter or shut off...lol. I live in San Antonio, TX (one area they wanted to put caps). They really are shooting themselves in the foot. I recently switched over all my services to TW since my mother was going to switch from satellite to cable and since I already have RR through them I told her that I'd add the stuff she wanted to my account and for her not to worry about the bill. So if I subscribe to all they have to offer (digital cable, digital phone, and RR turbo) do you think they will still shut me out? I pay a little over $200 a month to them and so if they did I would switch to AT&T out of spite even though I'd still be getting ripped off. I'm just one customer and my account is worth over $2400 a year to them alone so hopefully they won't be @$$holes and try to disconnect me.

    Standard definition of "unlimited": 1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined
    2. boundless; infinite; vast

    TW definition of "unlimited": 1. not limited until you use too much*

    *we reserve the right to cut you off if you dare utilize what you paid for to its fullest potential.

    Pulling in about 6 gigs per hour means I could theoretically download over 4TB a month...lol. That sounds like a challenge to me :) On average I only use about 200 to 300GB, but again I use my internet connection for EVERYTHING from work to play so I don't mind paying for their top service, but at the same time they have to realize jumping the price 300% is a little over the top. I emailed them and said I would be willing to pay up to $75 a month (which is about 50% higher than the $50+ I'm paying now). I wouldn't have even signed up for their other services, but since my mother is at home all day (semi-retired) she needs some entertainment as well lol. In my opinion the bundled price is decent since we got all the same services we had before for about $30 less per month instead of having the Dish Network for TV, AT&T for our phone, and I had TW for the internet (since 1999 or 2000...I forgot...almost a decade though).

    So a lot of people complain about their service and I really haven't had any problem with them besides this little snag. As far as customer service goes...it's great here, but I guess that depends on the actual people that work there and not the company itself.

     

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  11.  
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    Not RD, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 5:49pm

    @ RD

    ...
    Spoken like a TRUE ignorant asshole...
    You do realize that there is nothing keeping competition in the broadband field. You have plenty of options.

    Satelite
    Bell Services
    MicroWave (if it still exists)
    Cellular (actually starting to be viable)

    But it's the cable company's fault that it's competition is not upto par and is not worth considering for most, and because they are so superior, they should have to mnake up by making their own service to cater to a niche croud that can even download 250gigs worth of material in a given month...

    yet you wanna sit here and complain that the company sucks and that their fair use sucks. I would like to know what you do to use up enough bandwidth to even come close to this invisable cap. I know that when i recieved a letter from my provider at the time (which was Cox Communications in Arizona) I had downloaded approx. 35gigs worth of stuff within a month. This was nearly 10 years ago (comperatively we use more nowadays)
    If your downloading tons of movies/games/application which your probably doing illegally to begin with.
    You want to complain that a company so long ago, had a service that used to run @ 1.5mbs (@ 50.00/month) and is now providing you with 12mbs (still @ 50.00/month)... and you are STILL complaining.
    You should seriously take a look at your life, find out where you turned left on ignorance road and see if there is any hope left at all for you
    Good Luck

     

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  12.  
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    Not RD, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    @ ToySouljah

    You sir, are more level headed then the gentleman above you.

    Only thing to point out is that you are using a residential class internet service for work reason (which i'm guessing involves large file transfers)
    but if you are in the top tier service, you likely will not recieve such letters to stop usage.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Wither the Apoligitards?

    Wow, you were right and the industry response is laughable.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 6:34pm

    Re: @ RD

    "Spoken like a TRUE ignorant asshole..."

    With arguments like that I'm sure you will convince many that you have something intelligent to contribute.

     

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  15.  
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    Dustin, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 6:44pm

    Re: @ RD

    You want to know what can breach a cap? Simple:

    - Using Steam for all game purchases and downloads.
    - Downloading Linux distros or MMO clients.
    - Downloading XP service packs and program updates.
    - Using Apple's Apps store and music store.
    - Youtube, Hulu, and any of the other streaming video sites.
    - Listening to Pandora radio or any of the other internet radio stations.
    - Downloading podcasts & vidcasts daily.
    - Skype and other internet telecommunications services.

    Funny thing... none of those are illegal and if you do all (or even some) of them often you'll probably blow through their "cap" in no time.

    Quite frankly, the rest of your response doesn't even dignify a retort; monopoly/competition claims have been covered on this site and others for years and anyone who thinks most American's have a free-market internet provider situation is either deluded, ignorant, or a shill.

    Which are you?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    RD, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 7:20pm

    Wither the Apoligitards? Part Deux

    Oh really? There is AMPLE competition in the broadband space? REALLY? Are you REALLY that ignorant, or are you just bought and paid for by the industry? Because ANYONE who has broadband knows that there is almost ZERO competition outside of a few regional areas, the NE being the main one (NY area). Everywhere else you have almost no choice for broadband. You have at best: Incumbent monopoly, *MAYBE* a super slow DSL if you are lucky, and dial up. Dial up is not broadband and satellite is simply not practical, as it carries even WORSE caps at several times the expense and much worse performance. Apparently, you dont actually comprehend what B R O A D B A N D I N T E R N E T means. It means FAST. Large capacity. Speedy. Your "competitive" examples fail as they do not compete.

    The cable companies most definitely DO have local monopolies in most areas, this has been WIDELY documented and verified. Your assertion that its the fault of the COMPETITION not doing enough that is the reason people like TW are the only game in town is not only ill-informed and incorrect, its disingenuous and flat-out PR spin.

    And your "if you need so much you must be engaging in illegal activity" smacks of industry-speak as well. You are one heck of a shill there. I guess you have never heard of windows updates, game demos, Xbox gaming, Valve's Steam, Streaming HD movies, Netflix streaming, or even youtube. Its VERY easy to hit a 40gb cap in a month just doing a moderate amount of this kind of stuff. Your defense of such caps smacks of collusion and payoffs from the industry. They advertised unlimited, so I expect unlimited.

    Also your complete misdirection about "it used to be 1.5mb and now its 12mb and you are STILL complaining" is, of course, another disingenuous attempt to argue the wrong points. This entire issue turns on the CAPS and the lack of competition that would allow competitors to offer better service.

    Really, do you expect to shill this much and not be called out on it? Really, do you think you are SO much smarter than anyone else here?

    Really?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 4:37am

    The 1st time I get a letter from my ISP telling me I used to much of my UNLIMITED access, I will be history on their customer list!!!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: This ought to be interesting

    So if I subscribe to all they have to offer (digital cable, digital phone, and RR turbo) do you think they will still shut me out?

    Dear naive,
    Are you kidding? Of course they would.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    The 1st time I get a letter from my ISP telling me I used to much of my UNLIMITED access, I will be history on their customer list!!!

    What are you going to do, shoot yourself?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    Re: @ RD

    You do realize that there is nothing keeping competition in the broadband field.

    I think we all realize that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Zaphod (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

    True competition.

    There is no competition when it comes to cable companies since they do not have to play by the same rules as the telepone companies.

    They can't claim there's competition, until they accept designation as COMMON CARRIERS, just like the telco. This is where they can be paid a reasonable rate for unlimited short-haul data services to a local ISP, that then bridges that network, to the internet. I know DOCSIS can do this, but they don't want you to know that. This would be more like what DSL ISPs have to deal with.

    And like DSL short-haul providers, they can play the doubledipping game, by getting most of the customers to sign with them, and thus get both short haul fees, plus ISP fees (Qwest is set up as such, all other ISP users must pay their access charge, plus their ISP fees). This in the end would bring more profit to the CableCos... but they are too antiquated, and unadaptable to realize this, or reap the rewards.

    Since they aren't broadcast, they also skate around alot of FCC regulations, even if their lines leak like a sieve and cause much interference. Also, most cablecos have such bad equipment, the source of said RFI, they cannot take advantage of DOCSIS 3, so it's only a matter of time before the DSL in the area surpasses their speed.

    Let us not forget fiber drops. New homes, at least in my area, are getting direct fiber to demarcation (telco). This will totally blow the CableISPs completely out of the water.

    If they want to survive, they had better learn how to play nice, act nice, and provide value. If they don't, they will be something I tell my grandkids about with much laughter, as a parable about why one should not mess with customers.

     

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  22.  
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    Cait, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 12:46pm

    Ah, you get it from big and small. The landlord for the network of college apartments I lived in a few months back signed a deal with a small service provider to put wireless into all the landlord's buildings. The'd managed hot spots in the nearby city for a year or two but were somehow shocked that *gasp* people actually used their service in the college town and used it to capacity. They had no usage caps. No policy at all on their website or paperwork. And yet after setting a few big things to download and going to work, I came home to discover my access shut down. I called their HQ and asked if they actually had caps and if I'd violated any policy. After all, I said, I'd happily comply with their terms of usage. They were confused by that question. Nope. No actual policy. They just felt I was using my unlimited service too much.

    I don't understand the logic. Do companies like this and TW really think that they're going to get people to pay for services that they never intend to use?

     

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  23.  
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    Derek Currie (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 2:46am

    Time Warner Marketing Morons At Work

    Could Time Warner have any WORSE marketing morons working for them? The abuse they are inflicting *on themselves* in this ongoing debacle has to be unprecedented. Why would any customer want to put up with their blatant LIES and PRICE GOUGING?

    (It has been discovered that 1 GB of downloads costs Time Warner 10ยข. This reveals that their price gouging 'tests' have perpetrated between 10x and over 17x price markups. Time Warner is your friend, NOT).

    A 'How to fight back!' shortlist:
    1) Write your local government and demand broadband ISP competition in your area.
    2) Write to Time Warner and let them know their mask has been torn off.
    3) Write to all the high bandwidth Internet sites you use and tell them Time Warner is preventing you from using their service via price gouging.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Sos, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    Buffet

    "Do THESE sound like the actions of a man who had ALL he could EAT?"

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 5:33am

    Re: Buffet

    Hutz: This is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film, 'The Never-Ending Story'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:35pm

    "Apparently, when the user called to ask what was up,..." Who is "the" user? If said person(s) can get TW stating that on record one would be able to sue and most likely help change regulation.

    The problem with the Constitution is that it only applies to government, NOT private business. You seek the consultation or services of a private business and they may, legally and seemingly, break all the laws of the Constitution that apply to the federal and local governments. The private sector runs on contracts which are rules that either party agree on but also rules that come and go and flex. You have the option to change a contract before both parties agree on it. Take the paper home, edit it real nice, sign it and hand it to them, and if they break the rules for which they accepted to provide you your service then you have a case. They want you to sign their contract, you can have them accept yours.

    The Constitution should apply to the private sector.

    The problem with internet companies is not the illuminati hating that people are able to access knowledge (only), but they are acting as sadistic companies rather than capitalistic. over 300 million people (U.S.) crave entertainment, knowledge, stimulation, and we want it all through our cable lines. Why aren't the billion dollar corporations not taking some of that money to create jobs and re-wire the country with the latest technology; fiber optics? On any connection speed one can already communicate with someone on the other side of the world in the blink of an eye, all that is happening is an electrical signal is passing through a copper wire, how troublesome is it really for these companies to unclench their fingers from around wads of money and do what the people want.

    The choices of SPs is very limited in the US, most of the US is open land where there is no infrastructure, many people rely heavily on the only possible option, satellite. How the SPs have come to be the monopolies they are, i do not know but i know that the fed ordering them to split into the major companies we now have today (suddendink used to be cox) has not helped much at all for those who want the service.

    What i would like to see is a worldwide wireless network of long-wave radio signals. No more need for wires, radio signals go around the world in little over a second.

    If you have problems with torrents set your port number below 10000; check common ports list for suggestions. If you would otherwise need the com port for a specified, common web service, the automated ISP axe will not get you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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