Feeds

Time Warner moots billing based on bandwidth usage

Worth watching

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
Shades of Mannesmann: Vodafone should buy T-Mobile US
Biting the bullet would let Blighty-based biz flip the bird at AT&T
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.