AfterDawn: Tech news

Time Warner's bandwidth cap plans are drawing criticism

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 12 Apr 2009 15:55 User comments (22)

Time Warner's bandwidth cap plans are drawing criticism This week we reported that Time Warner was to offer uncapped "Turbo" Internet access for $150, while also adding "tiered" Internet access, each with bandwidth caps.
That plan however, may lead to a federal legislation that will completely eliminate "unfair" tiered pricing structures from ISPs, such as that being made available by Time Warner. US Rep. Eric Massa of New York is already drafting the bill, which will curb all tiers, especially in places such as Manhattan or Rochester, where Time Warner has a monopoly.

On April 7th, before Time Warner hastily rewrote their plans for tiered pricing structure, Massa called the move "nothing more than a large corporation making a move to force customers into paying more money." One day later, Time Warner added an unlimited usage tier, but a price not even remotely reasonable given the slow speeds offered by the ISP. The move certainly did not appease Massa either.

"I am taking a leadership position on this issue because of all the phone calls, e-mails and faxes I've received from my district and all over the country,"
Massa added. "Time Warner has announced an ill-conceived plan to charge residential and business broadband fees based on the amount of data they download. They have yet to explain how increased Internet usage increases their costs."

The tiers would be as follows:

- A 1 GB per month tier offering speeds of 768 Kbytes downstream/128 Kbytes upstream and costing $15 USD per month. Overage charges will be an extremely expensive $2 per GB per month. Landel Hobbs, Time Warner COO, said about 30 percent of all TWC users use less than 1 GB per month in total bandwidth.

-"Road Runner Lite, Basic, Standard and Turbo packages will include expanded bandwidth caps to 10, 20, 40 and 60 GB, respectively, for the same price. Overage charges will be $1 per GB per month."

- A 100GB capped Road Runner Turbo package which offers 10MB down/1MB up for $75 USD per month. Overage charges cost $1 per GB. For all tiers, overages are capped at $75 USD per month, which means "that for $150 per month customers could have virtually unlimited usage at Turbo speeds," Hobbs concluded.

"Time Warner's decision has the potential to more than triple customers' current rates, and I think most families will find this to be too taxing to afford,"
Massa angrily noted. "Time Warner believes they can do this in Rochester, N.Y.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Austin and San Antonio, Texas, and it's almost certainly just a matter of time before they attempt to overcharge all of their customers."

Current Time Warner subscribers pay $40 USD a month for unlimited Internet with 10MB down/1MB up, and Massa expects most of those users will eventually end up being forced to pay $150 a month for the same service.

"At a time when millions of Americans have lost their jobs and businesses are struggling, I am compelled to fight against additional, unnecessary burdens placed on my constituents," Massa said.

Keep fighting the good fight Mr. Massa.

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22 user comments

112.4.2009 16:31

Fiddy Dollah says Mr. Massa is with Time Warner ;)

212.4.2009 16:37
david89
Inactive

let try get congress put a end to this price gouge and signup on https://secure.freepress.net/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=311 to take action i allready did please do your part.

312.4.2009 17:50

Wow, I feel sorry for the users of Time Warner. I don't torrent or anything and I use 1gb of just web surfing per week, and thats majorly just news articles and such, like afterdawn.

412.4.2009 18:45

1 GB/month is a JOKE. Can't imagine 1 GB/mth being enough for anyone but I suppose light users can get away with it. The least I ever used in a month was in the 3 to 4 GB range and I didn't do much in that particular month besides surf the web for doing research, school work, recreation and checking/sending e-mail. Didn't game online either that month. If I did pirate stuff that month, there was very little piracy going on.

512.4.2009 19:17

This is extremely dangerous. If they can get there customers to accept it than it won't be long before many more ISP's follow suit.

612.4.2009 22:28

I'm not happy about the bandwidth caps but I will say I'm glad that they're at least going to cap the overage charges at $75. At least that way people won't have to worry about a surprise $1,000 Internet bill like we do with cell phone bills.

Also, here in San Antonio RR Turbo is currently $52 a month with tax. It looks like according to this article I should be able to get the same service with a 60gig cap. That works, except it really doesn't work. Some months I do go up to 80 or 90 gigs. I don't want a predictable $52 bill turning into a $70 or $80 bill.

There's a few alternatives for internet here, but TWC had the best speed for the cheapest price. I'm going to switch either to AT&T or one other company, I forgot the other companies name. But anyways, I'll still be paying nearly $50 a month but my speeds gonna be something like 6Mbps down and 792Kbps up instead of 15Mbps down and 2Mbps. Basically I'll be getting half the speed I have now, but the plus side is I wont have to worry about how much bandwidth I use.

712.4.2009 23:12

Originally posted by bomber991:
I'm going to switch either to AT&T or one other company.
Good. If everyone thought this way than they would have no leg to stand on.
They'll take as much from you as they can. It's up to the customer base as a whole to dictate how much they can charge.

I

812.4.2009 23:37

Quote:
Originally posted by bomber991:
I'm going to switch either to AT&T or one other company.
Good. If everyone thought this way than they would have no leg to stand on.
They'll take as much from you as they can. It's up to the customer base as a whole to dictate how much they can charge.

I
I got my dad in Austin to switch too. He's been looking for an excuse to dump cable and get some sort of Satellite TV service. I think he wants DirecTV, I'm not sure why though. Anyways, he uses magic-jack for the voip, and I think he really could get by just fine with one of those 768Kbps down DSL lines.

913.4.2009 0:33

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by bomber991:
I'm going to switch either to AT&T or one other company.
Good. If everyone thought this way than they would have no leg to stand on.
They'll take as much from you as they can. It's up to the customer base as a whole to dictate how much they can charge.

I
I got my dad in Austin to switch too. He's been looking for an excuse to dump cable and get some sort of Satellite TV service. I think he wants DirecTV, I'm not sure why though. Anyways, he uses magic-jack for the voip, and I think he really could get by just fine with one of those 768Kbps down DSL lines.
I stated in the other thread that I would dump TWC like a bad habit if they cap my current RR Turbo. I dropped their cable tv service for DirecTV after only a week. You can only take so much from their terrible customer service and unpredictable crappy tv line coming into the home.

RR has been reliable since I "upgraded" to Turbo. Before, my 700K line was only getting 400-500K typically, but the Turbo sometimes gets well past the 1500K advertised when d/l from Usenet.

1013.4.2009 1:42

Bandwidth throttling isn't new. But, as long as we make our disgust public (in good numbers) ultimately they will lose customers.

And then and only then will they change policies.

So, lets post this on as many sites as possible to help the people who only have Time Warner as an option get fair treatment.

1113.4.2009 2:03

Originally posted by bomber991:
I'm not happy about the bandwidth caps but I will say I'm glad that they're at least going to cap the overage charges at $75. At least that way people won't have to worry about a surprise $1,000 Internet bill like we do with cell phone bills.

Also, here in San Antonio RR Turbo is currently $52 a month with tax. It looks like according to this article I should be able to get the same service with a 60gig cap. That works, except it really doesn't work. Some months I do go up to 80 or 90 gigs. I don't want a predictable $52 bill turning into a $70 or $80 bill.

There's a few alternatives for internet here, but TWC had the best speed for the cheapest price. I'm going to switch either to AT&T or one other company, I forgot the other companies name. But anyways, I'll still be paying nearly $50 a month but my speeds gonna be something like 6Mbps down and 792Kbps up instead of 15Mbps down and 2Mbps. Basically I'll be getting half the speed I have now, but the plus side is I wont have to worry about how much bandwidth I use.

I spent half of today looking at the alternatives to TWC Road Runner where I live (my apartment complex provides free expanded basic cable) and have to check with the apartment maneger to see if I can get another cable internet (or wireless internet) provider in my apartment.

I've had RR since 2002, when the sale was $14.99 a month for the first 6 months, then $19.99 after that. Since then, I have seen the prices creep up, first once a year, then every 6 months, now the last one was just before last year ended. I now pay $45 a month for standard, and get a credit for Turbo. They charge me $10 more for turbo, and give me a credit for $9. With taxes, it comes close to $50.

One alternative (a local company, don't want to name them) wants you to sign a 2yr contract, a 1 time installation fee of $149.99, and 6 MBS up 4 MBS down for $95.99 a month.

Another alternative offered wireless internet of 6 MBS up 4 MBS down, with a wireless card for my laptop for $75 a month....and another 2yr contract.

I'm just about stuck with no alternative to TWC's Road Runner. Not for their prices now, I just have to wait and see.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Apr 2009 @ 2:05

1213.4.2009 2:38
mrk44
Inactive

that's really ridiculous...how can they go from $40 a month unlimited to $75 a month for 100gb??
I really do feel sorry for people with TW in the capped areas.

where i live, att offers 18mbps (1.8 MB/s) down for $65 a month with no bandwidth cap that I know of through their Uverse service. As far as I know, where I live, that's a pretty good price for that speed.

1313.4.2009 10:21

The situation is even worse in Canada, where competition is close to non-existent. Bell owns all the DSL networks and Rogers owns all the cable internet networks. Both these companies have bandwidth limits. Because Bell and Rogers own the networks, competitors are forced to be resellers who can either choose to buy bandwidth from Bell if they want to set up a DSL service or Rogers if they want to set up a Cable service. That's about it. So even if you want to switch, the most you can do is defect to a reseller that has it's hands tied by either Bell or Rogers.

1413.4.2009 10:55

Originally posted by inagasake:
The situation is even worse in Canada, where competition is close to non-existent. Bell owns all the DSL networks and Rogers owns all the cable internet networks. Both these companies have bandwidth limits. Because Bell and Rogers own the networks, competitors are forced to be resellers who can either choose to buy bandwidth from Bell if they want to set up a DSL service or Rogers if they want to set up a Cable service. That's about it. So even if you want to switch, the most you can do is defect to a reseller that has it's hands tied by either Bell or Rogers.
Same here in Ireland. Outside of Dublin, you cannot get more than 3mb, which in actuality is 1MB and slows to 512 at peak times.

1513.4.2009 11:08

Originally posted by inagasake:
The situation is even worse in Canada, where competition is close to non-existent. Bell owns all the DSL networks and Rogers owns all the cable internet networks. Both these companies have bandwidth limits. Because Bell and Rogers own the networks, competitors are forced to be resellers who can either choose to buy bandwidth from Bell if they want to set up a DSL service or Rogers if they want to set up a Cable service. That's about it. So even if you want to switch, the most you can do is defect to a reseller that has it's hands tied by either Bell or Rogers.
Utilities need to be deregulated, especially telcos. I can only get TWC or AT&T for broadband, but for natural gas or electricity, I have many options since the government saw them as a monopoly.

They did the same thing years ago and split up the telcos into the "baby bell" companies, which are now pretty much under control of AT&T or Verizon, neither in direct competition. So what's the difference this time around?

1613.4.2009 11:54

Quote:
Originally posted by inagasake:
The situation is even worse in Canada, where competition is close to non-existent. Bell owns all the DSL networks and Rogers owns all the cable internet networks. Both these companies have bandwidth limits. Because Bell and Rogers own the networks, competitors are forced to be resellers who can either choose to buy bandwidth from Bell if they want to set up a DSL service or Rogers if they want to set up a Cable service. That's about it. So even if you want to switch, the most you can do is defect to a reseller that has it's hands tied by either Bell or Rogers.
Utilities need to be deregulated, especially telcos. I can only get TWC or AT&T for broadband, but for natural gas or electricity, I have many options since the government saw them as a monopoly.

They did the same thing years ago and split up the telcos into the "baby bell" companies, which are now pretty much under control of AT&T or Verizon, neither in direct competition. So what's the difference this time around?
Semantics and better lawyers.

1713.4.2009 17:10
atomicxl
Inactive

Originally posted by mrklean:
Wow, I feel sorry for the users of Time Warner. I don't torrent or anything and I use 1gb of just web surfing per week, and thats majorly just news articles and such, like afterdawn.
Have you actually measured your usage and found that to be the case?

I'm not trying to jump on you specifically, but I always hear people say stuff like, "I use X-Box Live, so that's like 6gb per hour!!! No caps!" and I wonder if anyone of them have actually measured how much data they transit on a monthly basis and used that info to determine how the caps will affect them. For time warner, not so much cuz their caps are pretty low, but like for Comcast who is considering capping at like 150gb or 200gb.

For your case, assuming you measured it, you're using like... 4.3gb.

1813.4.2009 23:06

@atomicxl

I have Comcast who imposes a 250GB/month cap. When they started capping their service, I started measuring my usage. Without too much effort, I can break their limit in about two weeks. This involves heavy downloading, Netflix streaming, Internet radio, YouTube, and gaming.

I fail to see how this is all going to work with future technology moving to digital online distribution. It is like all of the ISP's just woke up and said "Hey! Lets make a roadblock to our own future growth!"

1914.4.2009 5:40

Haha all you guys in America and Europe are lucky. In Australia the major ISP is Telstra. They have a monopoly and are half owned by the Government.

If you don't live near the major cities they're your only option. I'm on a 12 GB "liberty plan". for $59.95 AUD a month. At max I get speeds of 25 kilobytes per second.

They still sell plans of 400mb a month at speeds of 1.5Mbps. If you go over that cap they will charge you 25c per megabyte. Note quite as bad as $1 per gigabyte but even so it is expensive.

After I use 12GB I get shaped to 64kbs in which I get speeds of 6 to 8 kilobytes per second. I can barely watch streaming videos such on websites as YouTube, let alone bother to use p2p. So that means if I play games such as World of Warcraft it will take me 3 days to download a patch.

Our Prime Minister wants to upgrade us to fibre but it will take 8 years and 43 billion AUD to do so, and there are politicians complaining that there's no need to do so, and it will be a waste of money.

So consider yourselves lucky heheh

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Apr 2009 @ 5:43

2014.4.2009 6:46
onya
Inactive

Originally posted by mrk44:
......that's really ridiculous...how can they go from $40 a month unlimited to $75 a month for 100gb??.....

Aahhhh sounds very reminiscent of what happened here in Oz. Take the company soul for example, they advertised on a very highly rated Sydney radio station that for a short time only you get unlimited usage for $30 per month. A great deal in anyones language true? Problem being is that they had intentions to sell off to a rival company, TPG. So up went the value of soul with all the new cascade of customers in tow. Just a few months later, TPG decides to strong arm these customers by increasing the price and placing severe caps upon the unsuspecting faithful. Not only are caps in place but the usage has now been relegated to "peak" and "off peak" times..what a joke. All this goes un-noticed by our corporate watch dog the ACCC.

My current provider allows me five gigs "peak" and five gigs "off peak". Use either one to it's capacity and prepare to get throttled to 32Kb/s for the duration of that months allotment. I can however purchase an extra gigabyte for $AUD14.95 (yep...fifteen bucks per gig). So for the princely sum of $AUD49.95 I get ten gigs at 512k. What was that AuWolf was saying?.. ahh that's right..those overseas are very very lucky. We do have a very good mobile infrastructure here and dare I say it? yes, you guessed the phrase "world class". Pity the powers that be, didn't have the foresight to lay down an equal foundation for internet usage...but wait..
Originally posted by AuWolf:
..it will take 8 years and 43 billion AUD to do so, and there are politicians complaining that there's no need to do so, and it will be a waste of money.
....and this is what we have to deal with. Shame on the federal government(s) and shame on the providers for making this a grab for cash exploit.

If you ever have the time or get house bound, I invite you to watch "question time" (parliamentary broadcasts) on the ABC. Sit back with a few beers and prepare to laugh until you pee yourself silly. It's the best comedy around.

Cheers all.

2116.4.2009 12:07

so whats the average bandwidth usage for gamers (360, ps3, wii)? would you say an avid gamer goes well over the upcoming caps easily by the end of a week? Parents of gamers would drop dead at the overage charges lol

2216.4.2009 19:37

Well before I went on my "liberty" plan I would use it very quickly, back when I was a heavy gamer as I was on 400mb a month. If you play a game such as World of Warcraft you will use your download cap very quickly due to the patches and all and because what is going on in the game.

I don't play wow much, it uses my quota too quickly. Even at speeds at 26 kb/s it's possible to play. But when I get shaped to 8 kb/s it is not possible to play due to lag.

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