Meter’s Running In Time Warner Test

    June 3, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Beaumont, TX, earned the distinction of being the testing ground for metered Internet service for the heaviest users of network capacity.

Metering the Internet recalls a time when service providers priced connectivity dearly. Once the unlimited model set in and broadband speeds arrived, Internet growth in usage and in services exploded.

Yahoo News noted how the metered model is making a comeback. Not because of scarcity, but consumption. Time Warner claims 5 percent of users grab half the available capacity delivered via cable to broadband customers.

Time Warner will put an allowance in place for its Beaumont customers. Stay under the cap and the usual charge for service remains the same. Pull in more than the cap, and the meter starts dinging at $1 per gigabyte, the report said.

Broadband Reports said only new customers will be charged for violating the cap, but not during their first two months of service.

“You’ll notice that instead of capping just those users or forcing them to a business tier, they’re taking aim at all users,” Karl Bode noted at Broadband Reports.

GigaOm asked if Time Warner was “crazy” in implementing this program. Stacey Higgenbotham noted how the fastest available Time Warner package of 15 megabits per second with a 40-gigabyte cap would be exhausted after about 40 hours a month of watching videos, on top of regular Internet use.

The groundwork for this move has been laid in place ever since the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Act provided billions to the telecom industry to make broadband available to the majority of the population over ten years.

Instead of 85 percent of the population seeing speeds that would make South Korea, the pinnacle of high-speed broadband availability, tear up in jealously, the telcos spent their gains on other things. With no true competition in place for cable’s speeds, such as they are, we expect other cable companies to quickly follow Time Warner’s effort.