Monday, February 11, 2008

A dumb move by Time Warner

Sigh...why aren't we already in a broadband utopia? There are enough services and service providers, the problem is we don't all have all of them. Actually most of us only have one or two options, if there is an option at all! And things are made worse by the fact that instead of moving to fiber-optic (like Verizon Fios), companies like Time-Warner are still relying on copper. Not only does that hamper speed, it makes it harder for them to expand their networks to keep bandwidth up with demand. The way Roadrunner (the Time-Warner broadband internet division) works, you don't even get the maximum capacity you pay for most of the time. If other people are on the network, you may get about half speed. That's one reason why this is an especially boneheaded move by them:

Last week, we learned from a leaked memo that Time Warner Cable is preparing to roll out usage-based broadband service tiers to new customers in Beaumont, TX. The company has since confirmed its plans, with monthly bandwidth caps set at 5GB, 10GB, 20GB, and 40GB. Customers who exceed their cap would be hit with an undetermined per-gigabyte charge, but Bell Canada's overage fees, which range from CAN$1.00 to CAN$7.50 per gigabyte, may give some inkling of where Time Warner's overage fees will end up.

I recommend reading this article in full, but it can be summed up by this passage:

All of that is to say that cable and DSL won't always be the only games in town. If wireless solutions are able to deliver on their promises of high speeds with no usage limits, capped cable broadband service like Time Warner has planned is likely to be unattractive, to say the least.

I can guarantee you that if they try to push that on me, I'll be subscribing to a new service.

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