Stop Time Warner Cable's Unfair Bandwidth Tier System


Time Warner Cable (TWC) is planning on introducing a tier-based bandwidth allocation system in Austin TX, San Antonio TX, Greensboro, NC and Rochester NY.

This system is similar to current cell phone plans that charge consumers based on minutes used. TWC is introducing 5GB, 10GB and 40GB plans priced from $22.95 to $54.90 a month. Users that exceed the limit will be charged $1 for each GB they go over. TWC is marketing this as a cost saving option for consumers when in fact this is not the case. The maximum 40GB cap is so low that consumers can easily exceed it and encounter huge fees. Technologies such as the iTunes store, Apple TV, Netflix Watch Instant, Xbox LIVE and PlayStation 3 Marketplace all use large amounts of bandwidth to deliver content. Consumers that use any of these products will have a very hard time staying under this extremely low cap and will likely have to adjust their habits in order to avoid extremely large fees.

With more and more content being delivered online, TWC is making the wrong decision. The bandwidth caps will hinder the deployment of new bandwidth-intensive technologies like online marketplaces, cloud computing and streaming media, while creating extremely large profit margins for TWC. Users will be forced to give up newly adopted technologies while being forced to pay more for what they already use. This is clearly a step in the wrong direction.

Interesting Facts

40 GB is:
Around 9 hours of high def video. (Hulu HD, Netflix HD, etc)
Around 45 hours of SD video. (Standard Hulu, Netflix, etc)
Around 4,000 hours of X-Box Live/PS3 Network
The average American watches around 150 hours of TV per month
The average size of a song on iTunes is 4MB
The average size of a SD movie on iTunes is 550MB

Our Views

We understand TWC's position and the need to limit the top 1% of internet users from downloading extreme amounts of data. If the caps were more fair and honest, this wouldn't be such an outrage, but $22 for 5gb is a ridiculous price, and $55 for 40gb is even more so. Comcast, one of Time Warner Cable's competitors, has limits at 250gb; a more reasonable limit. Unfortunately switching providers is not an option since many areas really only have one broadband service available.

Worst of all is that it sets a dangerous precedent for the internet in general. As the internet grows, our sites and content has grown massively in terms of data size, and limits like this, and in such small quantity threaten many companies such as Hulu, Netflix, iTunes and several other sources of new media content. If this comes to pass, those companies will suffer a massive loss of customers which will effectively destroy progress in this area which has just recently become accepted by the big media companies.

Hopefully a compromise can be reached, We understand the need to limit people, but the released limits by Time Warner Cable are unrealistic by any standards.

Links to more information:

Inside Tech
DSL Report story

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