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
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.