×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Time Warner Shelves Plans For Tiered Pricing

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the meek-will-continue-to-subsidize-the-bold dept.

The Internet 210

The FNP writes "Time Warner has postponed their plans to test tiered data caps in Greensboro NC, Rochester NY, San Antonio TX, and Austin TX. This announcement comes shortly after the media started reporting on Eric Massa's opposition and protests planned for this Saturday outside of Time Warner's offices in Greensboro and Rochester." There's also a good piece at Ars on the fall of the current tiered-pricing plans.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

210 comments

TimeWarner == Niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27603565)

I hate Time Warner and, and the lazy niggers that work there.

Why do people get all in a tizzy about this stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27603657)

It's just entertainment. It's not like your all complaining about your health care.

But we already have tiered pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27603581)

You can have service that's crap for $X and service that's even crapper for a bit less from someone else.

Don't pick on Time Warner! (5, Insightful)

Dareth (47614) | about 5 years ago | (#27603619)

I never knew how "good" Time Warner was until they sold out, in our area, to Comcast!

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (4, Funny)

dwiget001 (1073738) | about 5 years ago | (#27603745)

OMG!

Time Warner was near the top of my list of crap customer service companies already.

I have no direct experience with Comcast, but have read various customer reviews over the years, so all I can say is:

Looks like you had a crap sandwich and now you get a crap sandwich with a side of crap. :/

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 5 years ago | (#27603883)

...crap sandwich with a side of crap.

TWC CEO: Well, there's crap egg sausage and crap, that's not got much crap in it.

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (0)

OttoErotic (934909) | about 5 years ago | (#27604229)

I'm sure this is a stupid question, but I'll be the 1st to admit that I don't really have any idea what ISPs actually do or how internet infrastructure works. I'm with Time Warner. I don't use their email servers and they don't provide usenet anymore, so it doesn't seem like I'm getting any use from any data they're actually hosting, just the connection. Could someone explain what purpose ISPs serve and why there's no option (or maybe just really, really expensive options?) that allows people to connect directly to...whatever they have to connect to to get online. I mean, so I can connect to a friend on a shared LAN and through him to an ISP and from there to the wider world. What component of the infrastructure design prevents people from bypassing the ISP in one big ad-hoc network?

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604403)

What component of the infrastructure design prevents people from bypassing the ISP in one big ad-hoc network?

Backbones and local nodes.

I'll assume you drive a car, and are thus familiar with the interstate. If you are in spot A, and want to get your car to spot B 1000 miles away, the fastest route is along the interstate.

Backbones are the interstate of the internet, and the "local nodes" are the roads. Sure, you COULD pierce together an ad-hoc network of ethernet to PC to PC to PC... but that'd be like trying to have a shipping business that not only avoided the interstate, but didn't even get in a car.

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (3, Informative)

AlXtreme (223728) | about 5 years ago | (#27604715)

Backbones are the interstate of the internet, and the "local nodes" are the roads. Sure, you COULD pierce together an ad-hoc network of ethernet to PC to PC to PC... but that'd be like trying to have a shipping business that not only avoided the interstate, but didn't even get in a car.

A better analogy would be for GP to build his own on-ramp to the interstate, because the local roads and the only existing on-ramp are all owned by companies that demand a fee for their usage. ISPs do form part of the backbone, but they also plug into a central internet exchange.

The problem is that a private on-ramp simply costs too much for only a couple of users, so you'd need to band together to make it worthwhile. In effect, set up your own community ISP. You'd also need to come up with a good plan to hook up all the homes to the on-ramp though.

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 5 years ago | (#27604933)

I don't really have any idea what ISPs actually do or how internet infrastructure works.

Magic(tm).

It works just like your ad-hoc "connect to a friend" example. Your friend is then the ISP. He's responsible moving traffic to those who are directly connected to him. All the homes in your neighborhood connect to one house who connects to a similar "hub" in a different neighborhood, etc. The global internet is just a (much) larger, more complex version (poluted by money and politics.) The job of an ISP is to forward traffic along a path towards the intended destination -- they do this using routing protocols (BGP) to know who's connected to who.

What component of the infrastructure design prevents people from bypassing the ISP in one big ad-hoc network?

The fact that, more often than not, the ISPs own the infrastructure. So, without running your own fiber or building your own microwave towers, you'll be dealing with them one way or another.

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#27604243)

Comcast isn't bad when you have another provider offering similar service. They're certainly not great, but Comcast here in Denver is definitely tolerable.

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604825)

Comcast isn't bad when you have another provider offering similar service. They're certainly not great, but Comcast here in Denver is definitely tolerable.

Yep. Provided you call...

multiple random reboots of your CM in a single day
multiple random changes of your IP address over the course of a couple of days
DNS outages lasting hours at a time
Being unable to watch netflix online movies several nights in a row
Going roughly two weeks without a single 24-hour period in which service was uninterrupted
A price increase of $2 per month associated with a (forced) claimed increase in service but with no measurable change

  "definitely tolerable".

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (3, Informative)

nwf (25607) | about 5 years ago | (#27604389)

I've had Comcast in three different cities. They were great in one, and sucked unbelievably in the two others. I finally had to cancel where I am now because they couldn't get me a static-free picture or more than 128 kbps Internet. They sent 7 technicians out, none of whom were authorized to actually fix anything. I have Verizon FIOS now and I'm relatively happy, other than their pact with satan (i.e. MPAA / RIAA) and the three strikes policy.

Re:Don't pick on Time Warner! (2)

The Analog Kid (565327) | about 5 years ago | (#27604743)

I have Verizon FIOS now and I'm relatively happy, other than their pact with satan (i.e. MPAA / RIAA) and the three strikes policy.

Verizon was one of the few ISP who stood up with the RIAA, and I don't believe they have a three strike policy. I might be wrong about that though, but a quick google search turns up nothing.

Mealy-mouthed bastards. (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27603593)

Anybody who tries to screw over their customers, gets called on it, and then says that they are defering until customers can be "educated"(no doubt with an expression of injured innocence) has a one way trip to the special hell waiting for them.

It's exactly like normal hell; but your nose also itches.

Re:Mealy-mouthed bastards. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 years ago | (#27603799)

Anybody who tries to screw over their customers, gets called on it, and then says that they are defering until customers can be "educated"(no doubt with an expression of injured innocence) has a one way trip to the special hell waiting for them. It's exactly like normal hell; but your nose also itches.

I believe China had special camps for that sort of "education" once.

Can't wait that long (was:Mealy-mouthed bastards) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604257)

Anybody who tries to screw over their customers, gets called on it, and then says that they are defering until customers can be "educated"(no doubt with an expression of injured innocence) has a one way trip to the special hell waiting for them.

I can't wait that long for them to land in that special hell. I want them to go there NOW!

Re:Mealy-mouthed bastards. (1)

Dextrously (1086289) | about 5 years ago | (#27604375)

I'm curious how they handle charging for unsolicited traffic. If someone decides to flood my connection offline, will I be stuck with the bill?

Re:Mealy-mouthed bastards. (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27604397)

Well, first you get to pay for the traffic. Next, they decide that, with inbound traffic like that, you must have been running a server; they then burn down your house.

It will be back (5, Insightful)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | about 5 years ago | (#27603597)

They'll just find another way to screw you. Internet connectivity should be a regulated utility.

Re:It will be back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27603755)

But regulation is COMMUNIST!! To even hint at that would be the first step towards the downfall of our great god-blessed capitalist nation!!!!

Re:It will be back (5, Interesting)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | about 5 years ago | (#27604083)

Here's why it will be back, or something like it:

From their recently filed 10-K report:

"Technological advancements, such as video on demand, new video formats and Internet streaming and downloading, have increased the number of media and entertainment choices available to consumers and intensified the challenges posed by audience fragmentation.
The increasing number of choices available to audiences could negatively impact not only consumer demand for the Companyâ(TM)s products and services, but also advertisersâ(TM) willingness to purchase advertising from the Companyâ(TM)s businesses.
If the Company does not respond appropriately to further increases in the leisure and entertainment choices available to consumers, the Companyâ(TM)s competitive position could deteriorate, and its financial results could suffer."
Full Document Here:

http://ir.timewarner.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=950144-09-1481 [timewarner.com]

Re:It will be back (3, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | about 5 years ago | (#27604405)

Yeah, but screwing your customers because you can't (or won't) adapt has never been a good business model.

Re:It will be back (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#27604343)

No, no, no, no, no, and heck no. Regulation in the style of power/water companies will end up with no innovation. Theres really no difference if I have water from utility A, B, C, or D. Neither really with electricity companies A, B, C, or D. On the other hand theres a heck of a lot of difference between NetZero, Time-Warner, Generic local ISP (which are a rarity these days), and Comcast. What this will lead to is board of regulators either approving rate increases for no real reason, or them not approving rate increases for increased speed. If ISPs had been regulated from day one, the fastest connection any of us would get would be possibly DSL. Regulation makes sense for utilities because just about everything is equal, you can't get really any faster water or electrical service and theres little need for more high-capacity lines to homes, so its all about reliability.

Re:It will be back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604429)

On the other hand theres a heck of a lot of difference between NetZero, Time-Warner, Generic local ISP (which are a rarity these days), and Comcast.

Other than usable bandwidth available and price, there really isn't practical difference between these different companies, at least from the customers' point-of-view. Right now NetZero's bits and Time-Warner's bits are the exact same thing, and the only "innovation" that will change this involves the loss of Net Neutrality.

Re:It will be back (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#27604651)

But usable bandwidth and price are the two things that really are the difference. Just because both can take you to www.google.com, doesn't mean that they are equal. Its equivalent if there were two roads to the same destination, one was a gravel road that was a few miles longer, and one was an interstate, sure, both get you there, but one is going to be a whole lot faster and better. Not to mention that there are some parts of the internet that you can't really utilize if you are using a low-speed connection, streaming video comes to mind along with VOIP.

Its things like this that would make regulation of ISPs a bad idea. Both a fiber optic network and a dial-up connection take you to the same internet, but I sure as heck don't want to be stuck with the dial-up speeds. Regulation would remove any competition for some customers and leave them stuck with last-generation speed, similar to if everyone in a certain neighborhood had to use a G3 iMac whereas someone in another neighborhood could use whatever computer they wanted even their brand new Core i7 box. Both are computers, so they are the same right?

Re:It will be back (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 5 years ago | (#27604433)

other hand theres a heck of a lot of difference between NetZero, Time-Warner, Generic local ISP (which are a rarity these days), and Comcast.

No, there isn't. There are different tiers, but the internet you get from Time Warner, NetZero, AT&T, Comcast, or any others is the SAME INTERNET.

And if you think the power grid doesn't have the same market variety that the internet has, you've never held a job.

Re:It will be back (3, Insightful)

Cramer (69040) | about 5 years ago | (#27604775)

Utilities are regulated monopolies because of logisitical and physical limits. Imagine a world where you have 6 water companies all burying 16" mains in the right-of-way infront of your house. Or 12 power companies stringing lines all over the place. There's only so much room for water lines, gas lines, power lines, phone lines, sewers, etc. The more stuff hung from the poles or stuffed in the ground, the harder it is to keep track of it all to prevent them interfering with each other -- and eventually, something breaks and has to be repaired.

The internet is as much a commodity as gasoline. As NetZero says, they all take you to the same internet. What they leave out is how each gets you there. Bottom line, you have 3 ways of getting there... the phone wiring, the cable tv wiring, or an antenna of some kind. That limits you to DSL through the local telco -- or one of very few ISPs that maintain equipment in various COs, which is extremely rare these days -- a cable modem through the local cable company, or some radio based setup (cellular, WISP, HughsNet(tm), WiMax, ...) that's generally very slow and expensive.

The choice of dozens of different dialup ISPs died over a decade ago. Dialup is wholesale these days -- just like DSL and cable. It's very uncommon for the ISP to actually own/operate the modem you're calling.

Re:It will be back (1)

fortunato (106228) | about 5 years ago | (#27604619)

If they can't find a way to make the market competitive then I agree, but I think it would be much better if they had to compete like cell phone companies compete. Then instead of trying to invent ways to avoid upgrading infrastructure and rape their customers, they would actually have to provide decent service at competitive prices.

But until someone figures out how to bypass the need to "share" infrastructure, like phone wires that were paid for by the local phone company monopoly, I don't see how that can really happen. Maybe have the town or county own the local loop or last mile to everyone's house? I don't know.

Win for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27603599)

I was planning to call AT&T the moment they switched over their policy. You can't really fight millions of pissed off customers. Go interwebs!

Good riddance (4, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 5 years ago | (#27603609)

Glad to see some *real* grassroots movements working.

The ISP's usual quote of "Its only 5% of our customers using 40% of traffic" argument flew in the face of the "So we're going to cap things so low everybody will hit it" response they kept trying to ram through.

If it's only 5%, set the cap just below where they are and only punish the *actual* problem children...or better yet, don't 'cap' but rate limit. Doesn't DirecTV's internet access do this already?

Re:Good riddance (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#27603647)

Well not to mention the "we would have to spend some of our $billions of profit on infrastructure if everyone uses their connection fully wah wah!" argument only applies to prime-time, yet the plan they put forward in no way targeted peak usage hours. Download from 2am - 6am, you'd still hit the cap even though the cost to them for providing that bandwidth is marginal enough to be effectively zero.

Re:Good riddance (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 5 years ago | (#27603697)

Thats exactly right.. freaking rate limit them to 128k/s Painful, slow, horrible, but still able to pay their bills online if they need to, or send an email.. painful enough that they won't do it again...

Re:Good riddance (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | about 5 years ago | (#27603931)

That's what my university does, we have a 6 gb/24 hour bandwidth limit (inter university data transfer excluded). It's updated every half hour, and if you go over your download speeds are seriously limited, to the point where even web browsing is noticeably slow. When you can download at 2MB/s it's needed, and I presume that you get similar download speeds with cable in the states. I wouldn't know, at home we have telus high speed enhanced which gets me about 300 kB/s down and 70 kB/s up, with a 60 gb/month bandwidth limit. Throttle the speeds of people who are using "too much" bandwidth, but by raising the prices in this economy, they are going to lose money in the long run. Good that ISP's are finally starting to listen to their customers!

Re:Good riddance (2, Interesting)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | about 5 years ago | (#27604287)

See, we just set up a router in our room with the correct settings, then when one port hit its limit, we switched to another port. 3 ports per room, and 3 rooms jumped on this bandwagon. The downloaders could download, the laptops users could sit anywhere, and nobody could bitch.

You shoulda seen how we wired it though....each wall jack had a cable run to a 16 port hub, then the hub ran to a linksys router running dd-wrt with a few scripts to auto-switch the port it was using once a bandwidth limit was approaching. Was genius. We coulda sold them for cash on ebay.

Re:Good riddance (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | about 5 years ago | (#27604561)

i I can't say that I really know what you're talking about (I'm an english major), but it sounds like a good idea. What I would do was hop on wifi when i was close to the bandwidth limit, or sit in the library and get super fast download speeds with no limits. From talking to other people at UBC i heard that it's not easy to game the system, it was tied to your rooms IP/ethernet port I guess.

Re:Good riddance (1)

Yaur (1069446) | about 5 years ago | (#27604159)

How would that even work? It seems to me that rate limiting customers paying for a "turbo" connection below the rate of a "normal" connection is a class action suit waiting to happen.

Re:Good riddance (2, Interesting)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | about 5 years ago | (#27604459)

I think the issue is bigger than that. When you start hearing reports that the cost of upgrading the infrastructure ends up only being $75-$100 to handle it, what is the consumer left thinking? We're getting screwed. But now, I'm not satisfied with them merely walking away from their cock-eyed ideas for caps. Where's my infrastructure upgrade? Can I pay the one time $100 upgrade fee to get the 20Mb service? (I know it doesn't work that way, but come on!)

I think they got more than they bargained for by opening up this can of worms.

Re:Good riddance (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#27603719)

If it's only 5%, set the cap just below where they are and only punish the *actual* problem children...or better yet, don't 'cap' but rate limit. Doesn't DirecTV's internet access do this already?

Better yet, get congress to give them a large sum of money to get better tubes. Pretty good idea isn't it? I wonder why no one has thought of it yet.

Re:Good riddance (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | about 5 years ago | (#27603783)

So, then everybody pays for effectively the same thing, through their tax money.

I find that idea just as pukey.

Re:Good riddance (1)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | about 5 years ago | (#27603819)

Better yet, get congress to give them a large sum of money to get better tubes. Pretty good idea isn't it? I wonder why no one has thought of it yet.

I'm picking up your sarcasm.

Re:Good riddance (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 5 years ago | (#27603893)

Last time that happened, they pissed the money away. The REAL solution is to have municipal owned fibre networks, that all connect to a community hub. ISPs would then run fibre to the hub. Home owners (or the gov't) would be responsible for the cost of the fibre installation, but would also reap the benifets of real competition.

It doesn't have to be gov't owned (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#27604005)

However, the wires should be owned by a regulated entity that doesn't play favorites with interconnection carriers and data providers.

If ACME Wire Company owned all the wires and local switching stations, and they invited all comers to install Internet, telephone, and cable switches in their switching centers, and they invited all data providers who could afford to do so to colocate at those centers, and they charged everyone - consumers, transport providers, and data providers - reasonable and presumably regulated rates, this would leave the telcos, cable companies, ISP providers, and data providers an opportunity to compete based on price, product, service, etc.

Re:It doesn't have to be gov't owned (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#27604391)

However, the wires should be owned by a regulated entity that doesn't play favorites with interconnection carriers and data providers.

That won't happen. Every regulatory body will play favorites, heck, just look at MS basically buying out ISO, an international standards body. Congress is supposed to be in the favor of the people, that doesn't happen. The truth is, regulatory bodies don't do anything good. In fact, I'd rather be screwed by a company that I have a power (no matter how limited) to get into the market and make a better product then to be screwed by the regulatory bodies where I have zero control over them.

It's unfair (4, Insightful)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 5 years ago | (#27603637)

It's unfair to sell and offer the service as "unlimited", which they did years ago when the idea of "unlimited" was big for dial-up companies, and then turn around and tell people they're going to limit them.

I would be more understanding of the situation of metered billing and usage if I was under the impression that they were doing all they could with the money they had and physically couldn't do anymore, but that's not the case here.

It's not a problem with any technology, it's not prohibitively expensive, it's greed and nothing else. And until they can prove to me and the rest of the people that it really isn't about greed then we aren't going to stand for them ripping us off.

Re:It's unfair (1)

yajnas (1530655) | about 5 years ago | (#27603979)

I have no problem with metered billing; if the cable company is so concerned with free-ish riders, why not just adopt the system that the electric, water, and gas companies do? Pay a reasonable price (well, maybe not for gas, but oh well) per unit used.

Oh wait, I forgot: they want a system that will gouge both light and heavy users.

Re:It's unfair (1, Flamebait)

ElBeano (570883) | about 5 years ago | (#27604717)

Thanks for the common sense post. So many here think they should just get a free ride. Give me a dumb, fast pipe, don't play games with blocking ports and services and charge reasonably for bandwidth and traffic and I'm a happy customer. I'm tired of being treated as a LCD (lowest common denominator) customer and not being given sensible choices. I'm tired of being lied to when the ISP's network has issues (i.e. told to reboot endlessly when I can clearly tell where the problem is). Sell me a bona fide business connection without expecting to charge me for integration services or unneeded bells and whistles.

It hasn't been unlimited for years (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | about 5 years ago | (#27604009)

It's unfair to sell and offer the service as "unlimited", which they did years ago when the idea of "unlimited" was big for dial-up companies, and then turn around and tell people they're going to limit them.

Can't we put this to rest? If they advertised their service as unlimited years ago, then they can't change it now? Things change.

Re:It hasn't been unlimited for years (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 5 years ago | (#27604385)

Wesley:

Quite a few of us have had the service since they were offering it as unlimited. So yes, when we entered the contract with them for "unlimited service", that's what we bought into. If they break that it is a breach of contract.

It is illegal, it is wrong. And if I had enough money to fight off their lawyers I would take them to court over it.

Re:It hasn't been unlimited for years (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | about 5 years ago | (#27604637)

In that case, you should have read the part of the contract (which has always been there) stating that they may change the contract at any time. They probably also have a section stating that if you don't agree to the contract your only choice is to cancel service.

Re:It hasn't been unlimited for years (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 5 years ago | (#27604787)

First off, a clause in the contract stating that one side has the ability to change the contract is more than likely something that wouldn't hold up in any reasonable court anyway. It just hasn't been tested.

Secondly, keep in mind that these companies generally charge you a fee to cancel service prior to the contract expiration (which is usually 1 or 2 years). So in some cases it makes it prohibitive in actually reasonably cancel the contract.

They can change the contract any time they want without reason and without notifying me but I cannot break the contract any time I want without giving them money to do it?

This is hardly fair, and if it went to court chances are you would be able to make a case against them for this.

Third of all, you have to keep in mind that in the case of cable companies: they usually have monopolies in their respective areas. It's either NOTHING or them, and that's the only "choice" people have--which isn't really much of a competitive choice.

Because of the aforementioned lack of choice in which service you're provided, the rules of engagement between company and consumer are different than the standard "free market" rules of engagement. You need a 3rd party to step in and make sure that the powers that be are playing nicely, and in this case, they are not.

Re:It's unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604037)

It's unfair to sell and offer the service as "unlimited", which they did years ago when the idea of "unlimited" was big for dial-up companies, and then turn around and tell people they're going to limit them.

Unfair?

It's more than unfair. It's illegal. It's lying. It's immoral and wrong and nobody should be doing it, but that's precisely what they're doing because they don't care to treat their customers in an ethical fashion. They're beyond ideas of fairness.

Not quite gone. (4, Insightful)

Rayeth (1335201) | about 5 years ago | (#27603689)

More likely the plans have been shelved for only long enough to let the public outcry subside and for some other thing to take hold so they can be quietly rolled out under a different name and with slightly different wording.

It really does matter.... (1)

MasseKid (1294554) | about 5 years ago | (#27603721)

For all of those people who think it doesn't matter when you submit an e-mail to TWC on an issue such as this. Or post on the internet, I think it's quite clear that it does in fact matter. If you didn't send in an e-mail, perhaps next time you should.

Re:It really does matter.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604623)

E-mail? I canceled my service. I think that's a clearer message.

My neighbor thanks you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27603751)

On behalf of my neighbor who has an open WiFi access point and uses Time Warner, thank you TW!

eh heh (3, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | about 5 years ago | (#27603781)

Back in the mid 90's, Japanese telecoms decided that they would charge for a piece of each 'type' of phone action...one rate for voice, another for data, etc., while billing was based on quantity (metered.

This was while it was trivial to find service in North America that was flat rate, but still unique per type.

It didn't take much to find ways around the J billing hassles, such as dial-back for international LD. And it only took a few years for the J telcos to wake up to what they were not getting and alter their methods to at least keep them in the game.

Metered use is just an example of the free reign that domestic telcos have - they can dig into the client's pockets....so they will. Rather than build it so they will come, they cling to business models that are increasingly going out-of-date. And with no one to stop them, the domestic phone market will once again become a killing field of grand proportion, with the victim, as usual, being the consumer.

Wha? (1, Interesting)

icedcool (446975) | about 5 years ago | (#27603831)

Wow... this actually increases my confidence in Time Warner. That they actually listened to public opinion.

Huh.. well cool.

Re:Wha? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 5 years ago | (#27604007)

No, they basically just avoided committing seppuku and it's only a matter of time before they try again. Only next time around they'll go to outrageous lengths to sucker people into it so that they don't realize they're getting totally screwed. I predict some type of awful cell phone style plan - They start offering free internet and then they charge you some an insane amount of money for any bandwidth over 100 MB/mth.

Re:Wha? (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | about 5 years ago | (#27604495)

No, they basically just avoided committing seppuku and it's only a matter of time before they try again.

No, having to commit seppuku would indicate that they have some honor to save in the first place. This was a straight-up attempt at fleecing that fell apart when the word got out. The honorable thing to do would've been to upgrade their network when they were supposed, and failing that to offer a fair pricing plan.

Re:Wha? (4, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | about 5 years ago | (#27604581)

That they actually listened to public opinion.

More like they tried to pull a fast one on their service areas and got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. If anything, this should make you more alert to sudden changes in their pricing structure - not more confident in them.

Thank god... (2, Interesting)

surfdaddy (930829) | about 5 years ago | (#27603863)

...that the power of the internet has caused us to rise to defeat this proposal. As a TWC subscriber myself, I'm out of DSL range and would have been SCREWED if this happened. I'm paying enough already at almost $50/month for my broadband. TWC is very upset that they are becoming a utility and want to find a way to grow their $$ even while their traditional cable business is under pressure. I suspect this is not the end of ways they will try to feather their caps at our expense.

Viva FiOS (1)

carterhawk001 (681941) | about 5 years ago | (#27603899)

It's stories like this that make me glad to have Verizon FiOS. In the years we have had it, I can't remember if we have ever had a service outage, the speed is always outstanding, and I have yet to find even a hint that Verizon is going to cap, limit, throttle, or otherwise impair the service. If you ever get the chance, switch to FiOS right away.

Re:Viva FiOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604359)

Your days are numbered. FIOS has the same problems that TWC does once they hit market saturation. See Brooklyn, NY.

I don't understandall the hoopla surrounding this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27603907)

Why don't they just charge a simple fixed rate? This way you only pay for what you use. They could also have a limit above which you will be charged extra. This is how all the other utilities work; why should internet access be any different?

Re:I don't understandall the hoopla surrounding th (1)

glitch23 (557124) | about 5 years ago | (#27604329)

Why don't they just charge a simple fixed rate? This way you only pay for what you use. They could also have a limit above which you will be charged extra. This is how all the other utilities work; why should internet access be any different?

Many people are not against the idea of tiered pricing or even metered pricing although those who are against it are against it for good reason because it goes against the advertised "unlimited" usage. But it is the way that TWC has gone about setting the prices that is making people mad. Basically for many people their cost will go up because they would use more than the low tiers that TWC wanted to set. If the true problem is a top % of users hogging the bandwidth then they shouldn't be structuring the tiers so low to encompass more than that same % of users, whatever that % is. Because they haven't many people think that the reason for TWC rolling this out was to make people instead pay even more money to TWC for media content to their TV instead of getting it from someone else to their computer. The way the tiers were priced is bad enough but many people think there were ulterior motives as well. Besides, other utilities are indeed priced based on metered usage however those prices are very, very cheap so why are photons and electrons so expensive?

Re:I don't understandall the hoopla surrounding th (2, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 5 years ago | (#27604367)

Sure. Sounds great. Like my other utilities, let's go ahead and heavily regulate them and reduce profits (or deregulate them and let Time Warner's lines be a free-for-all). I'd be happy to pay about $0.07/GB. which is approximately what my hosting provider charges me for bandwidth. This was part of the problem. $5/GB is a tad high for me. $150/GB for what I currently get for $50 is ludicrous.

So sure, let them charge like utilities, and we'll regulate them like utilities. That will lead to massive price drops for consumers.

What I won't support is Time Warner's Consumption Priced Billing. They were planning on using their near monopoly to raise prices for the majority of their consumers, while touting the "price drops" for consumers using less than 1GB per month. What they charge for bandwidth is still way over market rate, and their SEC filings show that they're paying less for bandwidth and getting more income for consumers, so they have no reason to charge more.

This was also an anti-competitive move to stifle companies like Netflix, YouTube, and iTunes. A move they should still be investigated for.

In short, this is a consumer rebellion to keep from being price gouged, not a revolt against consumption billing per se.

Damn (0)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#27603923)

While I'm happy this particular plan was shelved, I hope it's not the end of metered billing.

If you charge your customers based on how much service you are providing them plus a reasonable markup, it lets you keep prices down for those who use only a little, while still letting you give high-end users what they need without bankrupting yourself.

Personally, I'd love to pay a reasonable charge per GB with a reasonable monthly minimum. What's reasonable? In a monopoly or near-monopoly or for an essential or nearly-essential service such as basic telecommunications, it's something that leads to a positive net not outrageous profit from the ISP. In a true free market for non-essential goods, it's whatever the market will bear [wikipedia.org].

By the way, while low-end Internet is arguably an essential service, sucking down 10GB/day is not. However, in America, ISPs operate as a monopoly or near-monopoly, so they have a moral obligation to restrain their profits to something reasonable.

Re:Damn (0)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#27604327)

"By the way, while low-end Internet is arguably an essential service, sucking down 10GB/day is not."

"640k ought to be enough for anybody"

(I know the second one is misattributed to Gates, but the comparison is still valid)

Re:Damn (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 5 years ago | (#27604447)

While I might be willing to agree that we should be charged like utilities. The charge needs to be in the pennies per megabyte range. That's what my hosting provider charges. Why exactly is Time Warner different? I'd say it's because they have no real competition.

10GB a day is not ludicrous. If I watch one HD movie, and two hours of HD television I've crushed that. If I and everyone in my family were average Americans and shifted to watching all of our television online, we would need hundreds of GB per day. And that's what this is really about. Time Warner wants you watching TV on their heavily compressed cable network. They want you buying Movies-on-Demand(TM), not watching Netflix. They don't want you watching YouTube. They want to have a cable channel wherein they repackage YouTube content with their own commercials in between.

But past that, I can't believe anyone on Slashdot, especially after the amazing technological advances of the past 30 years would make a statements like 10GB/day is a good limit. You reading Slashdot with 1MB of RAM and a 20MB hard drive?

Re:Damn (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#27604807)

The Chinese have been fitting full-length movies on 2-CD VCD sets for years. That's about 800MB/hour. Let's be generous and call that 1GB/hour. 10GB/day is 10 person-hours of TV watching. OK, in a family that would be tight but for a single person who doesn't watch several hours a day of programming, it's not. For HD, multiply the numbers by 4. Yes, IF we all shifted our TV watching we would need that much. However, we would then lose the economy of broadcast. One of the great things about "tv channels" is the cable company can play it once during a day or a week, and everyone can record it and play it back when they want. Unlike video-on-demand, where everyone gets their own stream, putting a much bigger strain on the network.

By the way, any number I throw out there today will need to be adjusted for "inflation" tomorrow. 640KB WAS enough for just about everyone, once upon a time.

Oh, pennies per MB is way too expensive. 1p/MB is $10/GB. Did you mean pennies per GB? That might be about right, or it might be too cheap.

Here's the way to cost it out:
If you are a cable company and you've got 100 people in your neighborhood, and you've got your neighborhood with as much extra capacity as you want but no more, what would be your cost if, over the next 2 years, all of those customers doubled their usage? If their usage went up 3x? 4x? On the flip side, if all of them went to 10% of today's usage and were expected to remain that way indefinitely, how much could you lower their bills and still make a profit?

The minimum cost to make a profit represents either the base customer charge or the monthly minimum, depending on whether you want to include an allowance or not.

The incremental cost if your usage doubles or triples for the same set of customers represents what you should be charging them for their extra usage. If you only need to raise the total bill 10%, do it. If you need to raise it 200% to stave off bankruptcy, do it. If your profits are already so fat that you don't need to raise rates and can even cut them 50% even with the increased demand, then you should do that.

If you are charging your users $30/mo. and they are averaging 90GB/month, but you realize you can charge them $15/mo. and still make a modest profit, cut your price to $15. If a year from now they are sucking down 180GB/mo. and you realize you need to either convince people to use less or raise the rate to $24 for high-end users, then set your rates at $15/mo. with a 90GB allowance plus $1/10GB thereafter. Or, if you can service your low-end users at $7/mo, set your rates at $7/mo. for the first 10GB and $1/10GB thereafter.

The actual numbers above are just placeholders, real numbers should be created after looking at your ISPs cost structure.

rochesterian responce (0, Offtopic)

voudras (105736) | about 5 years ago | (#27603929)

They put a cap on my data im putting a cap in their ass! /* relax hoover, its a joke */

Pay-for-use makes sense only if you lower prices (5, Insightful)

code65536 (302481) | about 5 years ago | (#27604173)

In the NPR piece about this, one TW representative compared the current scheme to someone buying a salad and someone else buying an expensive lobster dinner, and the two of them splitting the cost 50-50. In other words, the heavy user is subsidized by the light user. But if this is their rationale, then making the heavy user pay for his/her fair share would mean that the light users would no longer have to subsidize the heavy users and that the light users should see lower prices.

But that was nowhere in TW's plan, which is why this all seemed disingenuous. I, for one, think it's fair for people who use more to pay more. But not when that is used as an excuse for price gouging. It seems much more likely that TW is just trying to protect their content delivery services from people getting movies digital competitors like Netflix's download service, which would been an abuse of market powers.

Re:Pay-for-use makes sense only if you lower price (2, Insightful)

lenehey (920580) | about 5 years ago | (#27604411)

Mod parent up. These pricing plans need to be looked at very closely to make sure that media companies aren't illegally tying their content to their monopolistic delivery channels, in an effort to squeeze out other content providers like Netflix.

I think its equally unfair for the price to jump when the customer exceeds an invisible threshold, requiring customers to constantly check -- using more bandwidth -- what their current usage is to make sure they don't go over. This is the problem with cell phones. The companies should be required to inform you when your paid-for minutes or text messages are used up and you will be forced to pay extra -- WHEN you make the phone call or BEFORE you send that next text message. The practice of waiting until the end of the billing cycle to inform the consumer is not consumer-friendly, and should be banned.

Re:Pay-for-use makes sense only if you lower price (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604425)

Fully agreed. I'm not paying $150 until my parents can pay only $1.50. Until then they can suck me.

Time warner, not my parents.

Re:Pay-for-use makes sense only if you lower price (4, Insightful)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 5 years ago | (#27604487)

Or the companies could build their networks to support the increased load. It's greed and nothing less than greed.

Let's break down this salad dinner analogy a bit more.

The analogy REALLY works like this.

Two people walk into a restaurant and buy dinners. One buys a lobster dinner, and one buys the salad dinner. Though all the dinner prices are advertised at the same price, in this case, it's advertised at the price of the lobster dinner.

Eventually, everyone starts coming in to the restaurant and starts buying the lobster dinner. The owner of the restaurant realizes that the cost of feeding everyone the lobster dinner is too high because they assumed that very few people actually wanted lobster and most would stand for the salad. Eventually, they start running out of lobster to feed everyone and start telling people you all can't have your lobster dinner. We assumed that most people just wanted salad and offered lobster as a bonus, we didn't expect everyone to jump on to the bandwagon and start buying the best thing we offered.

Rather than find another supplier of lobster and expanding their business, rather than overhauling their operation realizing that people really don't care for salad as much and want the lobster--they start placing the blame on the people that eat lobster. They tell the people eating salad that the people eating lobster are keeping all of their dinner costs high, and that the business owner isn't to blame for the high prices but the people eating the lobster that they offered are.

Meanwhile, the owner is walking away complaining about money when he's got a few million bucks in his bank account ripping off the people buying salad by charging them for lobster, and telling the people eating lobster that they can't have as much of it and need to start eating salad.

If my entire analogy sounds completely absurd, because it does to me, then you get an idea of how absurd this entire fucking scheme is from these cable companies.

Re:Pay-for-use makes sense only if you lower price (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | about 5 years ago | (#27604669)

I'd mod it up if I had any good karma.

to rephrase "It's like we sell all you can eat turbo lobster dinners and only expect vegetarians to show up."

Re:Pay-for-use makes sense only if you lower price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604727)

A better analogy would be both diners getting the lobster dinner, and one of them leaving most of it uneaten.

Re:Pay-for-use makes sense only if you lower price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604765)

TW's plan was like someone buying a salad, but they are only allowed to eat one bite. Someone else buying an expensive lobster dinner, but they are only allowed two bites. In order to finish dinner you are charged $1 for every bite over the limit.

What the...? (2, Funny)

S77IM (1371931) | about 5 years ago | (#27604181)

The customers raised a big stink, and the company listened?

The system actually works?!?!?

behold - your future does not include new lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604185)

This provides TWC no insentive to update their hardware to support heavier traffic. /sigh

Still Voice your Opinion (1)

j_kenpo (571930) | about 5 years ago | (#27604207)

They are just shelving it, not putting it to sleep. We still need to convince them that that "educating" us is stupid. We need to put this issue to rest. Continue to send emails and sign petitions, and join a boycott.

Time Warner Petition/Boycott [appspot.com]

Sir, we're seeing a rapid increase in cancellation (2, Funny)

Statecraftsman (718862) | about 5 years ago | (#27604223)

I bet it was fun watching the Time Warner Customer Service dashboard/control panel over the past few days.

"Look, the cancellation rate is dipping....oh, no it isn't. Doh!"

It ain't over yet... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#27604253)

Just as with nearly all other "unpopular ideas" they will find a way to sneak this in secretly or quietly. They WANT to do this and it doesn't matter to them that some people oppose it. They believe it will bring in more money and they are obliged to do it somehow...right? People can either keep watching for it or we can get with someone or some organization to finally get ISPs regulated as a utility.

I for one dont know how to react to good news (1)

koutbo6 (1134545) | about 5 years ago | (#27604285)

hurrah?

I'm also positive some will find a dark side to this, being /.

hey /. overlords, "/." should be replaced by /. icon every time it occurs in posts.

Good idea, bad implementation (5, Insightful)

nobodyman (90587) | about 5 years ago | (#27604453)

I'm torn on this one. Personally I think that metered bandwidth is the most equitable way charge customers, but I think that the way TWC went about it was a shameless money-grab.

We're already accustomed to consumption-based pricing. We see it all the time: electicity, water, gas, food, etc. Same should go for internet access. And in fact, metered bandwidth is the pricing model that many ISP's use for hosting companies and other ISP's.

But here's the catch, if TWC went to a per-GB model with the aim to keep their revenues the same as when they had per-month pricing, 95% of their customers would pay less. A LOT LESS.

But that's not what they were proposing. They wanted that 95% of customers' costs to stay the same, and have 5% of high-usage customers to pay more. Under that scenario, TWC would make TONS MORE MONEY. Essentially they wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

If somebody wants to do metered pricing right, here's what they gotta do. Send each of your customers a letter saying "based on your monthly usage, we predict that your bill would be $AMOUNT under our new pricing model". However, seeing as how the cable companies have totally pissed away consumer trust, I doubt anyone would believe them.

 

Re:Good idea, bad implementation (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 5 years ago | (#27604837)

Agreed. Tiered pricing is the way to go. Unfortunately, Time Warner's bad-faith approach to this is going to make it tougher for companies to do legitimate consumption-based billing without getting knee-jerk backlash from users.

Re:Good idea, bad implementation (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 5 years ago | (#27604899)

Oh I could imagine it now.

"Based on our estimation of your internet usage, the cost of your internet service would go down by X amount."

Then on the bill...

Cost of Internet Service: $15.83
Internet Delivery Fee: $4.99
Line Maintenance Fee: $2.99
Cable TV Service: $49.99
Cable TV Delivery Fee: $4.99
Cable TV maintenance Fee: $2.99

YOU CAN NOW PAY YOUR BILL ONLINE FOR ONLY A $2.99 PROCESSING FEE!

You may not do A, B, C, or D with your service. We reserve the right to cancel your service at any time. Early termination fee of $149.99 applies if cancelled within 2 years of signing of the contract.

What's the Problem? (3, Funny)

DeanFox (729620) | about 5 years ago | (#27604613)


"Yes" said the Time Warner representative, The $55 Lobster dinner was subsidized by the $5 Salad eater when they both equally split the bill at $30 each.

Now, under our new pricing plan, the Lobster diner will pay $95, their fair share after we total their usage and the Salad eater will continue to pay $30. Well actually they'll pay $35 after our proposed price increase. That seems fair to us. Why would any consumer have a problem when we level the playing field so everyone is treated equally? Currently only one consumer, the Salad diner, is getting screwed. With our new pricing plan both the Lobster diner and the Salad diner will be treated equally.

That makes sense to me.

Pay for what you watch TV. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604667)

I'll accept pay for what you use internet from a cable company as soon as I can pay for what I watch on Cable TV.

What the fuck do I need the Lifetime channel for?

You guys have to get our leaders to back us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27604823)

I almost never e-mail government figures, mostly because I'm lazy.

I've emailed Congressman Massa twice on this issue and other people should as well. Show the guy some support, you know TWC has lobbyist money in the government.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...