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Time Warner to offer data caps above 40GB limit

updated 05:25 pm EST, Fri February 6, 2009

Time Warner data caps

In response to complaints from unhappy customers, Time Warner plans to introduce broadband packages with data caps above the current 40GB limit that was applied to Beaumont, TX customers as part of a pilot program, according to the Associated Press. Although the company plans to expand the program to other cities, spokesman Alex Dudley acknowledged that a "small but vocal percentage" of customers were dissatisfied with the 40GB cap. Future trials will include a range of packages, with higher priced plans that have a larger data "bucket" along with lower priced options for casual users.

The data caps have received a variety of criticism, with some groups claiming that a 40GB cap is unrealistic. Customers would be restricted to roughly 10 HD-quality movies per month using a media hub. Any additional data usage would incur an extra fee, such as $1 per GB.

FCC regulators could be paying close attention to the limits and price structure, potentially viewing unreasonable terms as an attempt by the cable companies to discourage customers from using competitors' streaming television or movie services.

Comcast came under fire from the FCC for imposing limits on data usage, although only certain traffic was targeted, such as peer-to-peer file sharing. The cable provider is involved in a fresh lawsuit that accuses the company of selectively throttling third-party VoIP transmissions while giving the highest priority to its own service.

Time Warner claims the move is intended to shift the costs of infrastructure upgrades toward the customers that use more bandwidth. "It's clear to us that customers want online video, which requires substantial investment in the network," Dudley said. "We're willing to make that, and we're trying to find an equitable way to distribute the cost of that investment."

by MacNN Staff



  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Switch ISPs

    In NYC you can just call Time Warner and ask to switch from RoadRunner to Earthlink. As far as I know, Earthlink does not have caps.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Would the Earthlink

    switch really make a difference? You're still using TimeWarner's pipe. This really sucks. In Korea, they're getting superfast data pipes and here they're trying to throttle users back.

    I'll never forget the futuristic Qwest commercials of downloading everything at the speed of light. Every movie, anytime, anywhere. That dream sure died along with Qwest in a hurry and it was only a couple of years ago.

    No FiOS in my minority-filled ghetto yet. I think it was determined that we're too poor and uneducated to have a need for it.

  1. Wingsy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    My itsy bitsy protest consisted of me sending them an email to say I'll be switching back to my previous ISP the day they implement caps for me.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Would the Earthlink..

    Yes, it would. Earthlink rents their space at a specific rate, and I'm sure it is contracted. So Earthlink wouldn't be charged, so wouldn't pass on the charge to you.

    I'm actually surprised Earthlink is even an option, though. Usually the cable companies have no desire to lease out their pipes, or do it at such a cost to make it prohibitive. Esp. since we're talking cable, which isn't forced to rent out the bandwidth, like Verizon is with DSL (but not FiOS).

  1. ricardogf

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So let me understand...if you download 40Gb worth of data per month, you have to pay in case of extra data downloaded? I really pity you already had to live with institutionalized surveillance and no fair use rights for media (with the big myth of "all you do is piracy") you have download caps, wonder your country is going from bad to worse as a democracy, with such passive people saying nothing against that. I have a 10Mbps connection at home, and nowhere would one consider a paltry 40Gb limit per month...this is just ridiculous.

  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tiered service OK by me

    I don't have a problem with tiered levels of service, where the heavier users foot more of the bill. The 40GB cap is too low for me, but I could live with the 250GB cap that Comcast imposes as long as I'm not paying more than I am now for the Turbo service.

    I just wish property taxes for schools were tiered. My wife and I don't have any kids and don't intend to have any, but we still have to pay as much as everybody else. That means we're just subsidizing some other family's education and don't get any benefit as far as we can tell, at least if the quality of education in Texas is any indication.

  1. TheGreatButcher

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is greed, plain and simple. I remember when I first got to Alaska in 2005 I'd never even heard of a cap, and the only game in down, GCI cable was offering broadband internet with a 5 GB/mo cap. Said they needed to because the infrastructure didn't allow a lot of broadband from the states.

    A couple months later ACS offers DSL with no cap and Clearwire comes to town... and quickly the cable company's cap disappears.

  1. vincent510

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Beginning of the end

    You basically have a handful of large cable & entertainment companies that want to eliminate competing content & services through these restrictions. Eventually all you'll have access to is content & advertising distributed by Time Warner and their partners. I thought the following articles on this topic were interesting...

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