Time Warner, stuck in reverse. Again.
This is sad, troubling news indeed. No specific mention of where it’s happening yet, but if it comes to the Milwaukee area–or wherever you’re located–do yourself a favor and run away from it as fast as you can. There’s no sane reason to support this money grab. And that’s really all it is. It’s a huge step backwards; you simply don’t go from unlimited to metered service like that, limiting access, moving people to a cellphone-variety plan with early termination fees, etc.
[…] Time Warner Cable was conducting a trial in their Beaumont, Texas market that imposed caps ranging from 5GB to 40GB on the company’s existing tiers of service. […] trial participants would be charged $1 per every additional gigabyte consumed, a huge markup for Time Warner Cable over cost, and a first for a major US ISP.
[…] Time Warner Cable is perfecting its marketing of the unpopular metered billing idea to consumers. Carriers love the idea, as it gives them a way to monetize and/or control Internet video, which poses a very serious long term threat to their cable television revenues. Selling consumers on the idea requires some finagling.
New customers in Beaumont are put on metered plans automatically, while existing Beaumont customers are lured into the metered fold via some fine print trickery. Customers are promised twelve month price-lock guarantees, provided they sign a new contract. But the contract fine print holds some surprises: customers previously on unlimited plans are promised “guaranteed savings,” only to find out they’re now facing a $150 ETF, low caps, and $1/GB overage penalties.
[…] Time Warner Cable COO Landel Hobbs said that the cable operator would be expanding their metered billing experiment into additional cities this year. Hobbs didn’t say which cities would get the honor. A spokesman suggests […] there will be four of them […] The carrier has yet to upgrade its network to the latest technology (DOCSIS 3.0), but has taken the industry lead on metered billing. Uncompetitive markets will feel the brunt of this “innovation.”
Beware the fine print, folks.
In other news, I still think Time-Warner should have offered a general rate reduction for the removal of Usenet newsgroups in the last year or so, but I’m guessing there are more than a few people out there reading this that have no idea what I’m even talking about. I suppose it’s offset by the ‘free’ upgrades in speed over the years, though…so just pretend I didn’t mention it…
Time Warner really needs to start giving more love to their customers, not less. Contracts? Caps? Overage Penalties? Early-termination fees? Seriously? But in markets dominated by Time Warner, they clearly have little incentive to be nice. People want broadband, and Time Warner’s the only game in many towns… and they know it.
In and around Milwaukee, though, you do have options. Not a lot, but some. No guarantees those options aren’t just as evil as Time Warner, though, ultimately…
It’s unfortunate that Time Warner’s even allowed to do this at all in markets where they’re the only real broadband option available. It would be even more unfortunate if this sets a trend for other ISPs to follow and do the same.