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Worst Business Decision Ever
Tuesday, 2009 April 14 - 4:54 pm
In Beaumont, Texas, Time Warner Cable has been experimenting with bandwidth caps on its high-speed internet service. They're trying a tiered pricing model where light users get 5 GB per month, and heavy users get 40 GB per month. Exceed the limit, you pay $1 per GB. The fee is capped at $150 total per month, so that will be the new price of unlimited internet access... a three-fold increase over their current price.

Now, they want to expand the trial to more cities, and eventually, they want to roll this out nationwide.

This is a terrible, terrible idea. I hope web site operators, many of whom have founded their business models on users having unlimited internet access, rail against this idea. I hope consumers, who probably don't even realize how much bandwidth they're consuming, refuse to have the internet doled out to them in metered parcels.

Here's the thing: cable modem providers have a near monopoly on Internet services in some areas. There are places where DSL currently doesn't reach, or only reaches with diminished performance (like my house). Plus, current users who use an rr.com email address have a barrier to switching providers, much like cell phone users used to have trouble switching carriers (before the government made it mandatory that phone numbers be made portable for free). So Time Warner's plan is little more than a plan to wring extra money out of their top customers. They'll get to advertise that they have the highest broadband speeds ("Turbo Boost! 10 megabits per second!") but they'll conveniently omit the fact that at that speed, you can exceed your monthly download quota in just half a day.

I won't stand for it. If this comes to the Raleigh area, I'm done with Time Warner. I'll find some other way. Maybe DSL will have improved here by then, or Verizon FIOS will be available here. Maybe there'll be some sort of high-speed fixed wireless access I can get. But listen to me, Time Warner weasels: you're taxing my patience with your cable rates as it is. If you add internet metering to your money-grubbing methods, you've lost me as a customer. I've already created a new domain name to move my remaining collection of rr.com email addresses. I'm tempted to offer free email accounts to any users who drop your service in response to this move.

When will corporations learn? It doesn't pay to piss off your best customers.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarytechwatch

Comments

Comment #1 from John C (Guest)
2009 Apr 15 - 6:11 pm : #
I concur. I have DSL, I am lucky that way. Provided TDS Metro Com does not get in on the act or metering. If I had my way, we would have fired ComCast alreay.

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