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Time Warner Expanding Internet Transfer Caps To New Markets

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the sharing-the-love dept.

The Internet 394

Akido37 writes "Time Warner Cable is expanding its transfer capping program to new markets in Rochester, NY, Austin, TX, San Antonio, TX, and Greensboro, NC. It seems they have been testing plans with 5, 10, 20, or 40GB of data transfer per month, with prices ranging from $30 to $55 a month. BusinessWeek quotes Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt saying, 'We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business ... We made a mistake early on by not defining our business based on the consumption dimension.' Ars Technica adds, 'The BusinessWeek article notes that only 14 percent of users in TWC's trial city of Beaumont, Texas even exceeded their caps at all. My own recent conversations with other major ISPs suggest that the average broadband user only pulls down 2-6GB of data per month as it is. One the one hand, this suggests that caps don't really bother most people; on the other, it indicates that low cap levels aren't needed to keep traffic 'reasonable' since it's actually quite low to begin with.'"

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394 comments

Only 40Gb/month? (3, Interesting)

makomk (752139) | about 5 years ago | (#27432595)

Only 40Gb/month on the top plan? Here in the UK, TalkTalk's "free with any reasonably expensive phone package" ADSL is 40Gb/month... though it's not really enough these days, thanks to stuff like iPlayer.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432665)

Ah Talktalk, the ISP for the dumb masses.
I should know because I share a connection on Talktalk.

I'm not sure about iPlayer bandwidth or caps because I don't pay for it. I basically just rape the shit out of it with no regards to other users.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (2, Interesting)

NotNormallyNormal (1311339) | about 5 years ago | (#27432705)

I think my "basic" plan has a cap around 60GB/month for $35 CDN. There are still several residential plans above mine where the caps are over 100GB.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#27432883)

Maybe this is redundant but I think it needs to be said.

If you're on Time Warner, call and complain. Tell them that as a result of this new policy you are researching alternatives and as soon as you find one you will be canceling service. Let them know that you will be telling you family and friends who are less technically minded to start looking for alternatives too. Remind them that even if their profits on heavy users are slimmer, it is those same users who the rest of their customers go to for advice.

Then follow through, and make sure that everyone you get to switch tells the operator that "A friend who is very knowledgeable recently canceled your service because... and recommended I do the same."

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#27433049)

This is the correct answer if you are in one of their markets and are presently affected. If you are not presently affected, there is no sense in drawing attention to yourself. Presently, I am a Time-Warner internet user and prior to that, AT&T and Comcast... been bought and sold a lot. During this time, the market for ADSL has expanded greatly to the point that my download speeds are very very good as there are far fewer cable internet users in my area than DSL. I get over 1MB/sec downloads on my torrents quite often. I have no need to complain at this time.

But your suggestions for argument are exactly what is needed as feedback to the company. Eventually, they will listen... they will have to. If they brought it to my market, I would absolutely insist on using ADSL as leverage against their actions.

Many users have no effective way to measure their own usage and have no way to keep tally of their downloads either. This is especially true as P2P technologies are increasingly being used in Netflix and other such legitimate services.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (3, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 5 years ago | (#27433189)

Myself, my options are:

Time Warner (I'm paying $44.95/mo for Earthlink via TW, but I'm not in a capped area)
A ripoff artist phone company that claims $14.95/mo for ADSL, but they have about $50-70 in hidden charges on the phone bill, resulting in over $100/mo for basic ADSL and home phone
Dial-up for about $40 for the basic home phone and $10-20 for the dial-up
EvDO with a 5 GiB cap, and I don't have good cell reception here anyway
Stealing wifi from a neighbor that has the same options

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#27433403)

Sounds like you have done your shopping already. The ADSL rip-off sounds pretty typical... Just went over my mobile phone bill and while "the plan" sounds attractive, I end up paying a lot more after other things are included.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (4, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 5 years ago | (#27432891)

40Gb, as in gigabits??? I suppose they'll generously up that to 40GB as in gigabytes.

Now if they made it 400GB, we'd probably stay below the cap most months. There have been a few months when we've been above 500GB, but have never broken the 1TB level. Our service is capped at 100Mb per second, every second of the month. If we saturated it, we'd reach 1TB in about a day.

And in answer to the inevitable question: no we're not sharing movies or music. Having a high bandwidth means you access more stuff, and don't worry how many MB anything is.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (1, Funny)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 5 years ago | (#27433351)

There have been a few months when we've been above 500GB, but have never broken the 1TB level.

This just means that you are an abusive user who should pay a hell of a lot more than I do for Internet access. I only use 1 to 2GB per month, since I rarely do bulk downloading. I think every plan should include 10GB of throughput and each additional GB should be an additional charge. Then assholes like yourself can pay your own way rather than sponging off my payments.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (5, Insightful)

Yaur (1069446) | about 5 years ago | (#27432941)

"stuff like iPlayer" is exactly what they are afraid of. This isn't so much about bandwidth costs, though that is somewhat important, as it is about protecting their legacy video model.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433271)

ISPs here in the UK typically implement caps and they don't have a "legacy video model".

In fact, the mainstream ISPs which have the least strict caps/throttling are probably Sky (who have a genuinely unlimited option) and Virgin, both of who were in the TV business long before they set up ISPs.

Incidentally, I do a fair amount of browsing, downloading, streaming/downloaded video and do maybe 20GB per month on average. What on earth are you all doing to hit over 100 GB/month?

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (1)

ikono (1180291) | about 5 years ago | (#27433437)

"both of who were in the TV business long before they set up ISPs." -- how is that not a "legacy video model"?

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433491)

It is, that's my point. And they're the ones with the least restrictive caps.

Compare that to, say, BT, who weren't in the TV business but restrict and traffic shape all over the place.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (1)

metalcoat (918779) | about 5 years ago | (#27433397)

Didn't they recently split those companies? Anyway I always said as long as they don't bring it here. I am in Rochester and I have not noticed any of this. Does it only apply to new customers?

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 years ago | (#27433163)

'We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business... We made a mistake early on by not defining our business based on the consumption dimension.'

Lol what? Does he think we're fucking stupid?
Time Warner (aka Road Runner) started experimenting with cable modems in 1995, but didn't go big until 1997ish.
Is CEO Glenn Britt really saying that their business model hasn't been viable for over a decade?

More likely they've been overpromising for over a decade and it's only been recently that demand has caught up with the promises.

Re:Only 40Gb/month? (2, Interesting)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about 5 years ago | (#27433489)

Here in civilized Northern Europe, I don't even know anyone who has a transfer cap. Somehow the ISPs seem to stay in business.

According to Ars Technica, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432607)

"According to Ars Technica," what?

Re:According to Ars Technica, (1)

makomk (752139) | about 5 years ago | (#27432855)

According to Ars Technica, the editors screwed up again ;-). If you compare this to the original Firehose entry, it's completely rewritten, and the trailing "According to Ars Technica," is a leftover from that.

Conflict of interest (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432659)

Time Warner has an interest in keeping media businesses under control, therefore it cannot allow streaming services to gain traction. Video streaming in HDTV quality will easily reach these limits, but almost no other internet usage will.

Re:Conflict of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433183)

P2P traffic can easily consume all available bandwidth which causes problems for other people on the same node. Splitting nodes just gives the P2P users a bigger pipe to fill. The options for dealing with this basically come down to:
1) Throttle the P2P traffic
2) Make seeding expensive for the consumer

Option 1 has regulatory problems. Option 2 drives away customers, but only the customers that aren't profitable in the first place.
This is a real problem that TWC is seeing in the field today and based on what I've seen I don't think these guys think far enough into the future to really appreciate how threatened the video business is.

5gb is just ridiculous (2, Interesting)

qoncept (599709) | about 5 years ago | (#27432661)

I don't even know what you could do with 5gb a month. I have dd-wrt running on my router and UPLOAD more than 5gb a month using email and AIM to chat.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (1)

NotNormallyNormal (1311339) | about 5 years ago | (#27432751)

I'm sure my parents wouldn't use 5GB a month... my mom uses it to print her pictures and my dad uses it for work (i.e. writing word documents and sending the odd email) in the evening if he needs to get something done.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (3, Informative)

Jherico (39763) | about 5 years ago | (#27432753)

No you don't. Unless you're attaching huge files to the emails or transferring huge files over AIM, you would wear your fingers to bloody stumps before you could approach generating 1GB of data over a text channel carrying natural language.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433325)

Or he's a software developer and attaches lots and lots of patches/binaries/tarballs/images/powerpoint presentations/pdfs to emails and various bugzilla installs. Which is not hard to believe; I'm a (very part-time atm) software developer and on a good month I can do 900MB in email traffic alone (totalling up and down). If I were a full-time developer again I could easily see 10GB in traffic.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 5 years ago | (#27433369)

Just to add backing to that: by my calculations 5GB of text data in a month would require typing at over 20,000 words per minute, 24 hours a day. I'd be very impressed to meet someone who types at almost 350 words per second without the requirement for food or sleep.

Seriously, though, while a 5GB cap is pretty crappy (even leaving last.fm running on one machine would push that, let alone video streaming) it's just making ones own argument look invalid to claim you're going to exceed it with email and IM.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (1)

rotide (1015173) | about 5 years ago | (#27432771)

5 Gig in Email and IM alone, and just for outbound?

You're not a normal user, at all.

Even if you're sending Pictures, that's a crapload. If that's just text, I don't even want to know how many hours you spend typing to hit 5gig.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (2, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | about 5 years ago | (#27432823)

Even 40 gb/month is ridiculous. Back at my old job, I could eat that up in a week using my MSDN subscription to set up a development workstation. Nowadays, I could churn through that in a month easily just playing around with FOSS, Hulu, YouTube, Skype, XBox Live/PSN downloads.

I really hope this doesn't become a trend. If all my ISP options switch to a cap, then my internet usage is going to take a dramatic hit. Of course, I'm sure that's what they want -- they'd rather me buy their cable TV and phone plans, rather than use IPTV and VOIP. And they'd rather have me entertain myself with their offerings rather than my XBox 360 or PS3.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432873)

I agree. Obviously those 86% probably don't even need a broadband Internet connection at all.

My cable line is capped at 40 GB/mo and I hate that damn thing. At 10 Mbps you can blow out the cap in less than half a day. And you're suppose to use it for the whole month?!

Other countries don't seem to have a problem wiring up nearly their whole population with 100 Mbps connections and such. The problem in the US just that companies are just plain stupid and wasteful (bad designs, poorly managed, wasting money, etc). That plus there is not enough competition. You got one, maybe two broadband/TV/phone companies in every area.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#27433243)

What about the fact that the price is WAY too high for that 5GB, I pay $36/month for non-capped 10/1 cable.

Re:5gb is just ridiculous (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27433245)

I don't even know what you could do with 5gb a month. I have dd-wrt running on my router and UPLOAD more than 5gb a month using email and AIM to chat.

No, that's all the worms that you have on your system sending spam.

This is amazing... (2, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | about 5 years ago | (#27432701)

...there is going to be a broadband ISP worse than Comcast. I only wonder why they are expanding the test to larger markets where they don't have significant competition from other ISPs

Re:This is amazing... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432755)

Much like Time Warner's caps, my cock is expanding just thinking about all the nerd rage going on over the next installment of Watchmen. I need to jack off and clean my cum up with my tongue. Mmmm, man-juice.

Re:This is amazing... (5, Interesting)

Akido37 (1473009) | about 5 years ago | (#27432797)

I only wonder why they are expanding the test to larger markets where they don't have significant competition from other ISPs

That's the whole point. Here in Rochester, NY, we have no other option but DSL. In Buffalo, NY (about an hour away), they have Verizon FiOS.

We are getting screwed, they are not. We have no other option for broadband, and they do.

Re:This is amazing... (1)

Binestar (28861) | about 5 years ago | (#27433261)

The Road Runner here in Rochester is great where I live. Downloading games from Steam I get 1MB/s, so I'm maxing out my connection when I need to do that.

That said, I will have a very hard time staying under the 40GB limit, I work from home, have a Gentoo machine that I sync each night. I stream a couple of Netflix each week, along with other browsing. That doesn't even count the outside connections that get dropped by my Firewall from things like Blaster, etc that are still going strong.

Competition is DSL, and while the DSL isn't horrible, it's also not 1MB/sec either. I already give $120/month on cable/internet, I'm not adding $15 more to that to have a lower cap on my internet download. ($40/month now with no cap, will be $55 with 40GB cap after change). I'll switch to Dish and DSL.

Re:This is amazing... (1)

metalcoat (918779) | about 5 years ago | (#27433551)

I don't want to be that guy, but Clearwire advertises a lot here also. Then again you do have to be within their coverage area.

Hmmm (3, Funny)

krou (1027572) | about 5 years ago | (#27432721)

According to Ars Technica,

What, did Soulskill hit his cap or something? DAMN YOU TIME WARNER CABLE FOR KEEPING ME IN SUSPENSE!

Caps are... (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 5 years ago | (#27432733)

Caps are to stop the heaviest users, not the lightest ones. That 14% (which is a lot, not a little) that exceeded their caps are the ones they are targeting. That 14% ties up the majority of the bandwidth and light users get poorer service because of it.

For the record, I have always been one of the top users of every ISP I've ever been with. I was '#1 abuser' for the smalltown ISP I had back 12-15 years ago. I haven't ever let up. (Yes, that's what the ISP called me to my face.)

Overall, their customers are going to be a LOT happier without caps... Caps make customers worried about extra charges on their bill. Most customers will pick a slightly higher priced 'unlimited' plan over one with a cap, even if they would never hit the cap even on crazy months.

Time Warner will figure this out again soon when their competitors get a good hold on their market.

Re:Caps are... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433213)

Time Warner will figure this out again soon when their competitors get a good hold on their market.

Competitors? In the United States? That's a laugh.

Re:Caps are... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#27433435)

Light users get poor service because they refuse to buy more transport or to segment heavily oversubscribed nodes. You could argue that the heavy users are using too much for what they are paying, but I think you will find that's laughable since 40GB of transport costs maybe $4 at wholesale. Comcasts plan is MUCH better than TW's for just about everyone.

14% is a lot (2, Interesting)

averner (1341263) | about 5 years ago | (#27432749)

14% of users going over the proposed limit is a lot. This means one out of seven. In contrast, Comcast has a cap of 250 GB, and cites figures of around 1%. As web-based video services continue to grow in popularity, I can only imagine the amount of people having issues with their cap. Maybe this will be just the thing to spark some competition!

Re:14% is a lot (3, Insightful)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 5 years ago | (#27432819)

Comcast... Maybe this will be just the thing to spark some competition!

You must be new here...

Isn't this really pre-emption of competition? (4, Insightful)

the_rajah (749499) | about 5 years ago | (#27432765)

As people start to get movies and TV shows via the Internet, they're moving away from cable TV content. Cable wants to maintain their monopoly. It's time to get the Justice Department looking at this.

5GB/ MONTH? (4, Insightful)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 5 years ago | (#27432769)

FUCK. THAT. Thankfully I don't have Time Warner. Unfortunately I do have Concast. I already got warned once for being over my 250GB limit. Since they want to charge me $7/mo more for an HD converter box (that I can't buy anywhere, only rent from them) that my tv does natively (and at a higher resolution over the air than what they send compressed) and I actually pay for. The basic subscription I pay for includes HD channels but I can't watch them unless I pay for the converter box or plug the cable straight into my tv and lose the ability to watch On Demand programs. So I download the programs I do want to watch in high def.

Want a good comparison? Take the amount of time the average customer spends per month watching tv. Calculate the relative bitrate for a tv program (including commercials) adjusting for resolution, multiply it by the average viewing time, and I guarantee you it will be greater than the any of the current bandwidth caps. Bandwidth caps are bullshit. They're just another way to milk more money out of the consumer. The system can handle it. If they need more bandwidth for the whole network, light up the dark fiber and/or upgrade the infrastructure we already paid for years ago.

Re:5GB/ MONTH? (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#27433097)

While I agree with the general tone of your comment, your comparison is not really valid. TV signals are broadcast, all users get the same thing. Furthermore, the TV signals aren't sent over the big pipes of the Internet, they are received at your local cable companies offices and sent through the companies cable lines from there. The Internet is different data for each individual, and ISPs do pay a per gigabyte fee to send data across the big pipes that make up the backbone of the Internet.

In all honesty, I would be ok with a per gigabyte fee if the fees were reasonable. Say, $10 for a 10 mbps link plus whatever the ISP pays to send my data through the trunk lines (I'll even throw in a +15% on that figure so they can make their profit).

Re:5GB/ MONTH? (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | about 5 years ago | (#27433567)

While I agree with the general tone of your comment, your comparison is not really valid. TV signals are broadcast, all users get the same thing.

Not anymore. Read up on Switched Digital Video. It's not fun when you try to watch something in the evening or on the weekend, and you get a "try again later" error 'cause too many people on your segment are watching unique content.

Thankfully, FiOS came to my area and I sent Comcast packing.

Re:5GB/ MONTH? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 5 years ago | (#27433229)

For another comparison, good dialup (44.6k) "caps" (maximum possible transfer) at a little over 14GB/month. Almost 25GB if you count both upload and download.

Re:5GB/ MONTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433239)

Wow, you're really dumb, aren't you? That's not how broadcast TV works. The idea is that you broadcast, so many people share the same bandwidth. The last mile to the customer doesn't matter, it's the infrastructure that matters.

Now, lets do some math. Follow carefully: DVD quality is around 2 GiB/hour. Now let's assume that we have 500 channels (at said quality) and that we watch all channels simultaneously for 24 h/day, 30 days/month. Furthermore, let's assume that it is too expensive to set up a cable network unless you have at least 100k subscribers, and we get the calculation
    2 * 24 * 30 * 500 / 100000 = 7.2
So, that's around 7.2 GB/month of bandwidth on the backbone per customer. Seeing as we broadcast, we also use all that bandwidth (but can of course tweak the quality - 2 BG/hour/channel - and number of channels - 500 - to allow us to diminish that).

(Ab)using the network by downloading HD versions at more than 7.2 GB/month increases the backbone traffic - even if we make HD content at 24 GB/hour for all 500 channels (using 7.2 * 12 = 86.4 GB of backbone per user).

So, your comparison sucks.

Re:5GB/ MONTH? (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 5 years ago | (#27433585)

I think you're missing the point. Broadcast has nothing to do with this. All the data (tv/on demand/internet) comes down the exact same lines to your home. Do they cut off my television service if I watch too much tv? Do I get terminated if I have too many tvs on at the same time? Nope. Why do they do it for computers then?

The bitrate that would be coming to my tv in high def would be at 1080p. I can't run 1080p on my computer. So I'm actually saving them bandwidth by downloading the programs at 720p (even less so since they almost always don't include commercials). By doing so I'm reducing their bandwidth usage and costs. And yet they punish me with bandwidth caps for doing so.

Re:5GB/ MONTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433593)

I plug the Component Video output of the converter into a different input of the TV and watch both TV decoded digital and On-Demand.

Makes Comcast look great (2, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 years ago | (#27432779)

Comcast allows 250 GB, this makes them look fantastic.

I don't really object to a super low plan for less, but 40 GB is a low max. I've done that with legal content plenty of times. I can imagine getting there binging on youtube and hulu even.

This looks more like an attack on their competition (internet eating away at TV viewing), than a need to meet customer demands.

Price fixing practically... (3, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 5 years ago | (#27432793)

They're attempting to force "heavy users" to pony up for bandwidth that already exists in abundance in their network.

My own ISP started bandwidth capping in the last year and a half and cut me down to 60GB without notice and I was pissed. Personally I wouldn't be surprised if the *IAA's of the world are influencing these decisions.

Re:Price fixing practically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432917)

Oh it's no great conspiracy. In a world where even peering agreements are being threatened, this is to be expected.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432795)

I live in Greensboro, NC and this really makes no sense as there is two larger cities in NC and it has no mention of these. Hell, you would think Atlanta would be on the list but nope, we've used Road Runner for 5 or so years now and they've always been great but this news will change that.

Online gaming usage? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#27432799)

So what about those who play games online through PC or X-Box 360? For example: if someone played WOW 6 hours each day for an entire month, what would it's monthly data transfer be?

Re:Online gaming usage? (5, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | about 5 years ago | (#27433073)

How about digital delivery? Steam, XBox Live Marketplace, and PSN? You can legally download original XBox and PS1 games through those networks, and plenty of games through Steam can top 5 GB by themselves.

Bait & Switch (5, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 5 years ago | (#27432809)

This is so clearly Bait & Switch that TW should be proscuted within an inch of their corporate lives. Their top officers should be in jail, to wit:

1: Promise unrealistic, unlimited downloads and speeds that discourage all competition.
2: Once you have the monopoly and the consumer has nowhere else to go, bring in onerous download caps that actually reflect the basic capabilities of your pitiful system.
3: Buy off Washington so that you won't be punished for #1 and #2.
4: PROFIT!

The really Big Lie in all of this is that the argument for caps is that the system only has a very limited capability. Yet WITHOUT CHANGING OUT A SINGLE PIECE OF HARDWARE you can get a much higher cap simply by paying a much higher amount of money. Where did all that extra bandwidth come from? Clearly cable companies lie like rugs, and the public and regulatory agencies continue to buy into those lies as we're all being screwed over!

Re:Bait & Switch (3, Informative)

Inglix the Mad (576601) | about 5 years ago | (#27433107)

This is so clearly Bait & Switch that TW should be proscuted within an inch of their corporate lives. Their top officers should be in jail, to wit:

1: Promise unrealistic, unlimited downloads and speeds that discourage all competition.

2: Once you have the monopoly and the consumer has nowhere else to go, bring in onerous download caps that actually reflect the basic capabilities of your pitiful system.

3: Buy off Washington so that you won't be punished for #1 and #2.

4: PROFIT!

The really Big Lie in all of this is that the argument for caps is that the system only has a very limited capability. Yet WITHOUT CHANGING OUT A SINGLE PIECE OF HARDWARE you can get a much higher cap simply by paying a much higher amount of money. Where did all that extra bandwidth come from? Clearly cable companies lie like rugs, and the public and regulatory agencies continue to buy into those lies as we're all being screwed over!


1) All ISP's do this. Most oversell bandwidth at a more ridiculous rate than they used to oversell modem ports.

2) Actually, they've done pretty good keeping prices low. If it were still only the bells running things we'd be lucky to have DSL.

3) Standard. All companies do this.

4) Not in the network division.



One of my friends works in TW Data. They've done checks and most people (read: over 95%) never break 15gb. Sucks to be high bandwidth users I guess, but if you're part of the minority, you're going to get charged more. As far as bait & switch, if you read your service agreement, they can change prices (et al.) at any time with notice. Now if you have a contract price, that will have to be honored through the end of the contract.

Mind you I'm not defending them 100% because I think the 5gb cap is low. 10gb would be far more reasonable for a mixed family (though I guess grandma and grandpa probably have a hard time breaking 2gb) situation. Gamers (especially consoles) and those downloading videos (incl. P2P) are the ones that are going to be hurt by this. I'd worry but my work pays for me to have a business line. Those are not being affected by this.

Re:Bait & Switch (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | about 5 years ago | (#27433383)

Yet WITHOUT CHANGING OUT A SINGLE PIECE OF HARDWARE you can get a much higher cap simply by paying a much higher amount of money. Where did all that extra bandwidth come from

Wow, really? That's amazing! I also found out I can buy more minutes from my cell phone company without changing my phone either! You'd almost think that there's a fixed amount of bandwidth at each node/tower and that if everyone used it to the higher cap, the node wouldn't be able to keep up and they'd have to spend money upgrading.

The "extra" bandwidth came from the fact that if everyone saturates their 20/2 Mbit cable connection 24/7, we're all going to have 500 ms pings and never be able to browse YouTube.

beating a dead horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432835)

This must be a last ditch effort in avoiding doing actual work.

I think we need to rally and stop this now, or be faced with the potential for multi-billion dollar personal bailouts to pay for this metered bandwidth bullshit. What's next, eaves drop on my voice call and charge me per-syllable? Please...

Anyone thinking to the contrary obviously isn't paying close attention to the pace at which the size of our information is growing. It already costs more to send less information cell phone to cell phone than from the earth to the Hubble Space Telescope. Looking back 10 years, applying the same pricing schemes, $30/mo for 40mb would turn todays pricing into $3000/mo for 40gb. Conversely, $30/mo for 40gb today, would mean in 10 years $3000/mo for 4tb.

Fair? No. Retarded? Yes. Fixable? Hopefully.

Cox Cable already does this (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#27432849)

Cox cable (Hampton Roads) has download/upload bandwidth caps [cox.com] based on what level of service you have.

At my current service level, it is 40Gb down, 15 up per month. Speeds of 10/2, which is quite consistent.
The strange thing is, I know I exceed this regularly. And have never gotten any notice about it, or seen a throttling of speed.

oops, I did it now.

Volume of bits (1)

codepigeon (1202896) | about 5 years ago | (#27432857)

I am sick of this crap. This is not natural gas or water or electricity. Data bits are not physical products that need to be produced.

If there is a problem with some customers being cut off due to someone else's 20 Xmen Origin torrents, i can understand; but just to throttle it to create a stream of revenue pisses me off.

Those routers will handle 10GB the same as it will 20GB.

We should heavily promote adblocking (1)

RGRistroph (86936) | about 5 years ago | (#27432903)

We should use this as an opportunity to convince as many TimeWarner customers as possible to install ad-blocking software, on the argument that if they don't they are more likely to exceed their cap. Perhaps we could develope a modified OpenWRT or similar type router that blocked as much of that as possible, and convince people to install it.

640KB is enough for anyone (3, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | about 5 years ago | (#27432959)

My own recent conversations with other major ISPs suggest that the average broadband user only pulls down 2-6GB of data per month as it is.

And, in the days of 56.6kbps modems, just about no one pulled down 100MB of data per month. Why don't we cap it there?

Oh yeah... because we actually like society advancing not staying stagnant.

Just because most users don't, currently, constantly bang up against capacity limits, that's no reason to cap them at it to ensure they will as their usage patterns grow. Well, OK, it is if you're terrified their usage patterns are going to include cancelling your hugely profitable cable TV service and watching their content online. Which, let's face it, is the real reason these caps are getting introduced almost exclusively by organizations who don't want you able to circumvent their other business model.

Doesn't follow at all... (1, Interesting)

MojoRilla (591502) | about 5 years ago | (#27432965)

The summary says:

My own recent conversations with other major ISPs suggest that the average broadband user only pulls down 2-6GB of data per month as it is. One the one hand, this suggests that caps don't really bother most people; on the other, it indicates that low cap levels aren't needed to keep traffic "reasonable" since it's actually quite low to begin with.

That doesn't follow at all. Low level caps are needed so that the very few don't abuse the network. Data that the average broadband user doesn't abuse the system means that the very few are spoiling it for the rest of us. Cue the Bit Torrent whiners.

Re:Doesn't follow at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433089)

Tell all the Telecommuters that.

Re:Doesn't follow at all... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 5 years ago | (#27433399)

Why should I subsidize the data costs of someone who uses their internet connection to make money? Telecommuters can damn well pay for their usage. You'll have to come up with a better scenario than that.

Re:Doesn't follow at all... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 5 years ago | (#27433241)

Bittorrent? I pulled 40+gb last month by watching hulu, netflix and other online content (it's like 1-2gb/hour or so). Granted, another 30gb came from perfectly legal bittorrents for videos I didn't feel like streaming at the time.

This is basically time warner deciding that they want to force you to buy their cable tv package.

Re:Doesn't follow at all... (1)

Rycross (836649) | about 5 years ago | (#27433423)

How about "cue the Steam users?" Or the Hulu users? Or the PSN/Live users? Or the MSDN users? Or the FOSS users? In case you hadn't noticed, there are a plethora of perfectly legal ways to bust a 40 GB cap in a month. The problem is that a lot of these legal uses compete with the companies' other entertainment options. So they'll cap it so that the legit users can't get their entertainment from the 'tubes, then turn around and tell you that you shouldn't care because all those other guys were filthy pirates anyway.

If they actually gave a damn about your service quality, they'd be upgrading their network.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27432969)

Also, I forgot to mention, in the past 8 months they've increased our bill two seperate times, $3 each time. So...they're charging more and your bill goes up, but now we're going to be capped. What a wonderful business model.

I think I might call them here in a little bit.

get caps in place now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433019)

The reason they want to cap is so once streaming video becomes main stream, and 40 gig is not enough, they can make more money charging for a higher connection. Then they can start doing things like buy their content and it wont count against your cap. It's all a plain get more $$ for doing nothing.

Re:get caps in place now (1)

tscheez (71929) | about 5 years ago | (#27433209)

and then time warner will have their own streaming service which is exempt from their bandwidth caps so that they get the revenue.

Heh. (3, Funny)

faloi (738831) | about 5 years ago | (#27433087)

It's neither here nor there, but I recently switched away from Time Warner in Austin. My cancellation call included the sales speech that they didn't cap usage like some other plans. I resisted the urge to tell her that Time Warner would be soon, because they're following the trends.

A coupel of things (1)

koan (80826) | about 5 years ago | (#27433095)

IMO they want to milk their existing network rather than upgrade to todays standards of data transfer (illegal or not) and a cap does that with the guise of "piracy is an issue" in addition it wouldn't surprise me a bit if the RIAA and MPAA had a hand in this as it benefits them as well.

We need regulation on broadband ownership and split these corps up to foster some competition, other wise we will all be using 3G and 6 MB cable well into the future.

Just my opinion.

DSL is better anyway (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 5 years ago | (#27433117)

I am sick of slow cable modem service in the evening when everyone gets on at the same time. Time Warner is a shared service, but DSL is a per user service.

Re:DSL is better anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433527)

per user til you hit the actual internet connection of your isp, then its shared like everybody else. though possibly a hop or two up stream. Most of the time, the far end of the connection is limiting your speed, not your local connection.

Only 14%??? (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about 5 years ago | (#27433137)

That's 1 in 7 people using their service, hardly an "only" that can be ignored.

Hell, I use over 5GB/mo on my friggin iPhone and I'm not even tethering!

Re:Only 14%??? (1)

cwiegmann24 (1476667) | about 5 years ago | (#27433353)

Data suggests that only 49% of TW users would have a problem with this policy, and since that is less than a majority, they expect no problems when they integrate it next week...

Awwwwwww (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 years ago | (#27433157)

We need a viable model to be able to support the bureaucracy of the communication business

      Fix'd.

      Because everyone knows how unprofitable the communications industry is. Poor things. Even breaking up Ma Bell resulted in several companies swelling each to many times Ma Bell's original size in under 30 years. Yep, a very unprofitable business. I almost feel like donating something to them via paypal, poor fools.

Have They Considered... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 years ago | (#27433177)

... offering an affordable, open (as in some way to get the recordings off) DVR service? The standard DVR isn't bad, but when you run into the space limitation, you have to get rid of something. If they offered something that would allow you to either copy the shows to another system, or burn them to DVD, that could be a step in the right direction.

At least, if the number of people I hear about downloading huge torrents of movies and TV shows are any indication.

Hulu...and etc...all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433211)

1Mbs per second for a decent video, for an hour.

so...I watch 1 hour per day....and we get 21G +/- a month.

LoL (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 5 years ago | (#27433223)

I'm capped at 200GB. I probably would use 250~300 or so were I not capped atm i hit 185~198(close call). Honestly with just 1 or 2 users without running a big server it is more than enough (at the moment). It is enough for unlimited chat/browsing. You can get every new movie that comes out lets say 15 a month. In addition you can get a few thousand songs and maybe 10 seasons of tv. Maintain an even upload ratio. And still have a bit left over. Unfortunately they are offering 1/40th of that making them totally useless.

That said. I'm ok with this. Let them, clearly /.ers aren't part of their market. I think they should spread out just so that their is more competition for our business not less. But that is ok something will pop up to replace them, even if it is on their rented lines.

Faulty Logic (1)

crymeph0 (682581) | about 5 years ago | (#27433237)

[the fact that most people don't exceed the caps] indicates that low cap levels aren't needed to keep traffic "reasonable" since it's actually quite low to begin with.

If the few who are exceeding the caps are putting out five times as much traffic as the rest of the crowd, then no, traffic is not low to begin with.

I believe as strongly as anybody that the telcos and cable companies are out to screw the little guy at every opportunity (see the nonsense fees and charges added to every bill, instead of them being honest and including those in the advertised price), but paying for what you use is not a bad concept. In the long run, it will make internet access cheaper as they put more bandwidth in the high traffic areas (the same areas that will make them the most money under this plan), as long as there is viable competition encouraging them to keep the prices in check. I know competition isn't where it should be in ISP-land right now, but the wireless companies are starting to make some significant moves that should shake the scene up.

...Beaumont, TX. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433267)

Wait, that place is their test location? Has anyone actually BEEN to Beaumont? I spent a couple months there and would be surprised to learn that 14% of the people know how to use a computer.

Austin's a tech town. Let's fight this! (4, Insightful)

OpenGLFan (56206) | about 5 years ago | (#27433289)

Let's fight this, Austinites. My gf and I are engineers, and we VNC into work on weekends and for late nights, and we use more than 2GB/month just on that.

Here's the letter I'm sending to my senators and representatives. I need to figure out who to send it to at Time Warner and the Statesman. (The big newspaper, for out-of-towners.) I'm looking for advice and critique and sources for some of the arguments I've heard here. (Look for the [brackets])

Dear ________,

I am an electrical engineer with *company*, and like many engineers in the emerging high-tech center of Austin, I rely on high-speed Internet connections to my home. In these times of economic hardship, it is more important than ever for working professionals to be able to access work computers and other information quickly and economically.

Time Warner Cable has announced that they are implementing tight limits on the amount of information that they will provide to users of their cable modem services. While Austin's workers attempt to reach a compromise between work and family life by accessing critical business operations over the Internet, Time Warner plans to restrict their networks for these heavy users. They are instituting these caps in spite of the fact that a vast capacity of their fiber-optic lines remain unused, and in [year], Congress gave [millions] of dollars to cable companies to improve our nation's digital infrastructure.

For Time Warner to pocket this investment and make no improvements, then attempt to extort outrageous fees that infrastructure from Austin area workers, is outrageous. Only the fact that there is no significant competition for broadband access allows cable companies to unilaterally impose these restrictions on those of us who depend on the Internet for our livelihood. As Congress has given heavily to cable companies and has seen no improvements, I would urge you to closely examine the stranglehold this company has upon Austin's digital infrastructure and the abuse of monopoly power that this upcoming cap represents.

I look forward to your quick action in this matter, [and I anticipate supporting you in [your next election] (for elected officials) ].

*OpenGLFan*

Flailing Around Looking For Ways To Kill Hulu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433317)

This is being done because Time Warner is absolutely terrified of Hulu gaining traction, and is grabbing at any weak option for any possible way to stop Hulu from becoming the dominant source for watching television. A tiny, easily-exhausted cap of 40 gig a month with hefty penalty fees for going over will stop people from migrating from pay-cable to a Hulu-only model. Even Comcast gives 250gig a month -- this isn't even 20% the size of the Comcast bandwidth limit. Christ.

This is nothing but a completely transparent attempt to prop up cable's dying business model. If they can strangle Hulu to death with ridiculously tiny bandwidth allowances, they'll be popping the champagne corks.

How to measure my bandwidth (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 years ago | (#27433385)

Every time this comes up, I think that I really should find a way to accurately measure how much bandwidth I'm using. We have three computers in my household. (Well, four, but the fourth is never used.) A desktop computer upstairs used as a file/print server and to downloading log files. My wife's laptop which she uses most of the day. And finally, my work laptop which I bring home with me at the end of the day. Unfortunately, my router is older and doesn't support log files. (It claims to, but then doesn't give a way to get at those log files.) I could install an application to track our usage on each computer, but then I'd not only have to add it all up, but would need to turn the application off while I'm at work. (Since that bandwidth usage wouldn't count.) I might just need to get a new router. Any suggestions for an inexpensive wireless/wired router that will allow me to track how much bandwidth I use per month?

Those caps aren't good enough (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 5 years ago | (#27433391)

I've used capped Net access for most of my life (having lived in countries that don't have the misadvertising of "unlimited"), and all of them had higher caps for lower prices. Currently, here in British Columbia, I get a 60Gb cap for $30 (Canadian, obviously) a year. In Moscow, I paid $50 for real unlimited (or at least never hit the cap, even with heavy downloading - so it must have been in excess of 100Gb - and I do not know anyone else who hit the cap and was asked to stop).

I live there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27433477)

I live in Beaumont, TX. I have ATT 3.0/512 (supposedly). My parents here have TWC, and thus far I haven't heard anything from them about a cap. Not that they would go over.

FTA, ATT is also capping here, albeit at 250GB. I guess they're both doing trials here in Beaumont because it's plain to see that we're some of the most goose-stepping fucking people in the world, and we love to get anally raped, as long as the rapist has a badge, a robe, or a government granted monopoly. It's 250GB now, what will it be in 5 years? Not to mention all the other crap that ATT pulls. If we ever decide to pull our heads out and break out the ammo box, then government granted monopolies need to be on the list.

You know what sucks? Watching hulu and seeing the ads telling me to "Demand FiOS". Indeed verizon, I do demand it. So what's the deal?

New rule: if your options are just the telco and the cableco, you'll have to get a T1 if you don't want your connection screwed with and need decent speed.

In Other News (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about 5 years ago | (#27433479)

I opened my mailbox yesterday to some junk mail that actually caught my eye. Embarq is now offering DSL service to people who don't have or want a home phone line. Suddenly there's competition that makes sense, so if TWC wants to apply a bandwidth cap that my household exceeds then I'm changing providers.

So your grandparrents hate you? (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | about 5 years ago | (#27433511)

Most of the arguments for the cap is that granny is paying a little more than she uses and grandson pays a bit less. Now you could ask granny: hey, your bastard grandson is using modern technology more than you and the cost is shared because of un-transparent pricing of telcos.

I don't know how it is in mighty USA, but in my place granny would kick you in the nuts just for the question an say it is fine as it is.

Actually, there were plenty of capped and flatrate packages around here some time ago. Nobody wanted caps, so they get rare.

Also, maybe I'm a bit mistaken, but I was thinking that we entered the 21st century, the age of information society a few years back. On the other hand, if I follow the current trend, then we will use telex in a few years again.

Am I the only one OK with caps? (0, Flamebait)

keithpreston (865880) | about 5 years ago | (#27433531)

Am I really think I'm the only geek that think caps really aren't a bad idea. Although they can be implemented correctly and implemented horribly.

First of all there is the wrong way to implement caps. Companies implements caps to try and push their average revenue up for the majority of customers. This is the main reason why I believe Cable TV as a service will nearly die over the next 10 years. Cable companies keep charging more for the same channels and happen to push "popular" channels up to higher tiers replacing them with unpopular channels. If caps are implemented where today's unlimited turned into the lowest capped tier (5-20gb) at the same price, then customers are screwed in the short term.

Then there is the correct way to implement caps, with pricing. I would be more then willing to accept a 5GB cap if I was paying $10 a month for internet. I can change my usage for a cheaper price. Even right now I have 768k internet because it is only $20 a month. If caps correlated with pricing this would be a win for everyone.

Consider the pricing plans 5gb - $10, 20gb - $20, 100gb $40, 500gb $80, Unlimited Business Line $200. Honestly this seems to solve the problem of "excess" bandwidth users and pricing.

For too long have ISP advertised based on speed and not real bandwidth. The real solution to this is to pass a law saying that all advertising of Internet Connection speed must be accompanied by the "continuous" usage speed (continuous usage = cap per month divided by seconds in a month). This continuous usage speed must be equal or more obvious to the consumer (based on size of font or time shown). Think about "New Time Warner 20MBPS (.0001 MBPS continuous usage) internet!" compared to a truely unlimited connection "New ATT 6MBPS (6 MBPS continuous usage) internet!"

At least they claim to be listening... (1)

boowax (229348) | about 5 years ago | (#27433569)

from a TWC rep on twitter: Time Warner wants to hear from you about Consumption Based Billing in Tx email at realideas@twcable.com

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