On notice: Bandwidth caps

I just signed up to Time Warner Cable’s ‘All the best’ package, including cable, broadband and a phone line. I chose them over Verizon as Verizon’s online ordering system was buggy and Time Warner doesn’t require a contract – a big bonus for us as we haven’t established a credit rating in the US yet and would probably have had to pay Verizon a big deposit in order to enter a contract.

Shortly after signing up with Time Warner I read that they are trialing a tiered pricing system based on bandwidth usage in Texas. Apparently, Time Warner will offer plans priced for up to 5, 10, 20, and 40 gigabytes per month with middle-tiered plans costing about the same as users currently pay now. The explanation for the new pricing plans is one I’ve heard before, that power users, representing 5% of users, consume as much as 50% of network capacity downloading vast numbers of large files, such as movies, videos, and songs. The network operators blame these 5% for any slowdowns. I just don’t buy this statistic and would love to see some actual numbers to back it up. Everyone I know seems to be downloading music or movies, even my 50+ year old parents, these ‘power users’ are no longer the minority. This trend is only to continue, with Apple announcing movie rental over iTunes, the average user is going to be using more and more capacity.

When asked to comment on Time Warner testing tiered pricing, Verizon said they have no plans to cap bandwidth and that cable companies are proposing bandwidth caps due to the limitations of their networks! I love it. If Time Warner starts capping my bandwidth, I’ll be moving to Verizon.

Bandwidth caps, you’re on notice.

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