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Time Warner Axes Tiered Bandwidth Plans

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 58 comments

Time Warner Cable has officially caved in to public outcry on its tiered bandwidth program.

After weeks of public outcry and criticism from politicians and consumer watchdogs, Time Warner Cable put the kibosh on plans to charge its Internet customers according to their bandwidth consumption.

According to Reuters, TWC has decided to shelve a nationwide implementation of the tiered bandwidth program. Despite the tier program expansion being put on hold, Time Warner plans on "continuing consumer education" on the matter, leaving the cancellation of the plan somewhat open-ended.

“It is clear from the public response over the last two weeks that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing," said Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt. "While we continue to believe that consumption based billing may be the best pricing plan for consumers, we want to do everything we can to inform our customers of our plans and have the benefit of their views as part of our testing process.” Part of the consumer education TWC plans on offering includes free software that will allow customers to see how much bandwidth they use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. While there are already bandwidth reading programs out there (like the aptly named Bandwidth Monitor), getting such software straight from an Internet provider could smooth things over with some wary customers.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer chalked the move by TWC up as a win, stating, “By responding to public outrage and opposition from community and elected officials, Time Warner Cable made the right decision today. I will make sure that any changes going forward are in line with what...families and small businesses need.” Sen. Schumer became an outspoken critic against the tier program after his constituents in Rochester, N.Y. began complaining about being "guinea pigs" in the expanded testing.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Schumer, our customers and all of the other interested parties as the process moves forward," said TWC's Britt.

Time Warner Cable recently revised the different tiers of Internet bandwidth it planned on offering. If customers went over their allotted bandwidth for the billing cycle, each extra gigabyte would cost $1. The "Super-Lite" package, which would give subscribers only one gigabyte of bandwidth to start with, has overage fees of $2/GB. The 10Mbps Turbo package, which comes with 100 GB of bandwidth for $75, would see overage fees stop after an additional $75, allowing for "unlimited" Internet that would cost consumers a cool $150 per month. Compare that to Verizon FiOS, which charges $65 for its 20Mbps (both up and down) service with no bandwidth caps, and you have to wonder what the logic is behind Time Warner's desire to tier its customers. Other bandwidth tiers include 10, 20, 40, and 60 GB, with prices ranging from $30 to $60 a month.

While it's doubtful that we have seen the last of tiered bandwidth programs, you can be sure that the next tier strategy from TWC will be more consumer-friendly. After the seven page response we got from our recent bandwidth-related Question of the Day, it doesn't look like THG readers are too crazy about tiered offerings. What kind of bandwidth plans would it take for you to hop on the tier wagon?

[TWC's claim that consumers are frustrated because of the lack of education into the tiered program is entirely a bogus notion. When a mass of people across the country are up in arms and even Congress gets involved, it's clearly an indication that's something's wrong with the corporate bigwigs that make these decisions, and not the consumer.--Ed./Tuan Nguyen]

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  • 5 Hide
    jecht , April 16, 2009 10:05 PM
    Finally some sensibility. I can't see why they think bandwidth caps would be "the best pricing plan" when they prices they came up with were worse than ever. It would take some extremely competetive per GB pricing to get me on the caps wagon.
  • 6 Hide
    waffle911 , April 16, 2009 10:10 PM
    The customer has spoken. And the customer is right.
    Now, about those available data speed prices...
  • 5 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , April 16, 2009 10:17 PM
    They are just bullshitting us until they come out with something less extreme. They still want to line their pockets they just won't be able to quite as much as they hoped for.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 16, 2009 10:38 PM
    ppl should still jump ship if there are other ISP options in their area. This move by TWC just delays the implmentation of a cap. They have to learn the hard way that even thinking about a cap like what was initially imposed is absurd. This way they will not have the excess marketshare to make any foolish decisions...
  • 0 Hide
    cliffro , April 16, 2009 10:51 PM
    Down_TWCppl should still jump ship if there are other ISP options in their area. This move by TWC just delays the implmentation of a cap. They have to learn the hard way that even thinking about a cap like what was initially imposed is absurd. This way they will not have the excess marketshare to make any foolish decisions...

    Unfortunately Ilive in an area where AT&T is the only other option, and having been a customer in the past, from experience its not an option for me.

    The main deal breaker for me is, Uploading a file while downloading at the same time. I'm not even referring to Bit Torrent, if I am uploading a few files to my website, and I'm also downloading lets say a patch, my download speed is nearly crippled while uploading.

    Sure it may seem minor to some people, but to me I can't stand it.
    Oh and their equally unsavory "up to" 3Mbit down and 512Kbit up statement, When I had them I was lucky to get 2Mbit down and my up speed never got close to 512Kbit. I was close enough to the CO to get 6mbit speeds, yet couldn't actually get the full 3mbit.(6mbit tier has limited slots available)

    So no AT&T please.
  • 3 Hide
    haze4peace , April 16, 2009 11:11 PM
    Yes! the little guy wins! I take offense about the being trained to enjoy their caps comment. The CEO's in their ivory towers assume we have no brains and will take whatever they decide to let us have. I think we have just proved them wrong.
  • 1 Hide
    cadder , April 16, 2009 11:24 PM
    "the best pricing plan for consumers" would be to leave the maximum usage level at the current pricing, without a cap, and lower the price for people who use low amounts of bandwidth. They will never be able to explain how raising prices are best for consumers.
  • 0 Hide
    descendency , April 16, 2009 11:40 PM
    *applauds* Thank you Time Warner.

    Also, they don't need an intrusive program to tell you what you use monthly in bandwidth. A simple email from them would tell you. They have the ability to track it themselves. So much for caring to "educated the consumer" though.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 16, 2009 11:40 PM
    I wonder how well these bandwidth monitors work on wifi accesspoints (with multiple pc's).

    I also wonder howmany customers it will lose.
    I guess they carefully analyzed the situation,and thought there weren't enough customers to start worrying.
    I'd only say, if possible,get you and your friends to another internet connection!
  • 0 Hide
    terror112 , April 17, 2009 12:37 AM
    No Problems with my Bell line. I pay $30 a month and get 6Mbit up and 1Mbit down with no bandwidth cap and no throttling. I will never switch to cable.
  • 0 Hide
    terror112 , April 17, 2009 12:37 AM
    Correction: 6Mbit down 1Mbit up
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , April 17, 2009 1:03 AM
    horray, the consumer won...
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 17, 2009 1:55 AM
    $55 a month 30/5 never been "throttled" and I have CABLE. Everyone throttles at some point though...if its not our cable modem then its "throttled" at some peering point...so I guess every service provider is screwing their customers by not having unlimited bandwidth every hop a session takes....... The academics already figured out that it is counter-productive to throttle in a world with no politics and money but in the real world it must occur in some form at some point.
  • 3 Hide
    thundercleese , April 17, 2009 2:46 AM
    "Despite the tier program expansion being put on hold, Time Warner plans on 'continuing consumer education' on the matter, leaving the cancellation of the plan somewhat open-ended."

    Yes, we are all stupid, stupid folk. TWC is oh so smart. In fact, they are shocked that they weren't smart enough to predict that their stupid costumers did not just take their abuse and said "Thank you. May I have another?" People just need to be "educated", read: swindled.
  • 0 Hide
    cliffro , April 17, 2009 2:51 AM
    dig17$55 a month 30/5 never been "throttled" and I have CABLE. Everyone throttles at some point though...if its not our cable modem then its "throttled" at some peering point...so I guess every service provider is screwing their customers by not having unlimited bandwidth every hop a session takes....... The academics already figured out that it is counter-productive to throttle in a world with no politics and money but in the real world it must occur in some form at some point.


    I've never been throttled either(with the exception of my plans max speed of course).....throttling isn't the main issue here, its the cap on consumption, and the overage charges. While most would prefer it the way it is now, Throttling would be preferred to overage charges IF we had to put up with caps, I mean if they cut it in half, I could live with 8Mbits down and keep downloading/streaming etc.
  • 0 Hide
    ravenware , April 17, 2009 3:07 AM
    Quote:
    TWC will be more consumer-friendly


    Doubtful..

    Much like when you were younger and got caught doing something wrong, you don't stop doing, at least not right away. you simply try harder not to get caught.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 17, 2009 3:18 AM
    Chuckie Schumer, man of the people - what a joke!

    "I will make sure that any changes going forward are in line with..."

    What a bunch of posing - TWC is free to setup pricing however misguided it is (unless they are gouging or violating laws). It's funny how he comes out with the statement AFTER TWC scrapped the plan - the guy is a joke! Next thing you know he'll have Cuomo shaking them down as well. Schumer had nothing to do with this and will have nothing to do with it - I hat politicians more interested in scoring points then doing their job.... this is not a federal issue that a US Senator should be dealing with - this should be left up to state government.
  • 3 Hide
    deltatux , April 17, 2009 4:41 AM
    "It is clear from the public response over the last two weeks that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing"

    The one who's misunderstanding is TWC. I'm in a bandwidth-capped service and it ain't fun ... unfortunately, no one cares about other ISPs esp. in other nations like my ISP in Canada. Consider TWC customers lucky.
  • 0 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , April 17, 2009 4:48 AM
    YES! I was thinking this would never end. Thank god! Hopefully this is a example of the power comsumers have.


    We should also learn as a consumer, this if we make a stand as a group, we will win. Quantity over quality.
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