Feeds

Time Warner moots billing based on bandwidth usage

Worth watching

Boost IT visibility and business value

Time Warner Cable is experimenting with a high-speed internet service that would bill customers based on the amount of bandwidth they consume rather than by flat fee.

The trial is somewhat modest, at least at first. It will begin later this year and is limited to subscribers in Beaumont, Texas, according to Reuters. It is part of strategy to reduce network congestion at Time Warner, the No. 2 cable provider in the US.

Caps and other limitations on network traffic has become a hot button issue over the past few years. Comcast has emerged as the poster child for critics after subscribers complained of Kafka-esque usage caps on the amount of bandwidth they can consume. Comcast also stands accused of terminating customers' BitTorrent sessions, a claim the cable operator steadfastly denies.

Time Warner's foray has already been greeted with skepticism. Bandwidth has come to be viewed with the same sense of entitlement as air and water, and any move to change that isn't likely to be viewed favorably by advocates of net neutrality, who might argue that the tiered billing will penalize people who use bandwidth hogging streaming services or voice over internet protocol applications.

Aside from those issues, it's still not clear if this is simply a ploy by Time Warner to grab more money by charging its most active users higher fees. It will be interesting to know if the provider will discount the rates of subscribers whose usage is relatively modest.

To give Time Warner its due, the operator says that five per cent of its users consume more than half its bandwidth. Assuming that's true, a tiered billing system that, unlike Comcast, clearly lays out the usage caps would be one way for service providers to cope with the growing appetite for bandwidth. We're not sure this experiment is noble, but it's worth watching. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.