Useage based Internet charges are coming back (1 Viewer)

DadsDream

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To me, as a consumer, this sounds like a giant step...BACKWARDS!

I remember the good old days in the 1990s when AOL charged people by the minute for the only available Internet connection in my town...dialup at a blazing 28.8 mbps. When a competitor moved to town, AOL went to a flat rate.

Now, Time-Warner Cable is launching a trial program to bill customers by usage. They're saying 5% of their customers account for over half their high speed Internet traffic.

Beaumont, Texas, you folks are the lucky city chosen for Time-Warner Cable's new billing scheme experiment! Congrats!

MSNBC
Time Warner tests Internet usage-based billing
Company said it will try new billing with subscribers in Beaumont, Texas
January 17, 2008


NEW YORK - Time Warner Cable Inc said on Wednesday it is planning a trial to bill high-speed Internet subscribers based on their amount of usage rather than a flat fee, the standard industry practice.

The second largest U.S. cable operator said it will test consumption-based billing with subscribers in Beaumont, Texas later this year as a part of a strategy to help reduce congestion of its network by a minority of consumers who pay the same monthly fee as light users.

The company believes the billing system will impact only heavy users, who account for around 5 percent of all customers but typically use more than half of the total network bandwidth, according to a company spokesman.

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22707271/
 

St. Widge

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To me, as a consumer, this sounds like a giant step...BACKWARDS!

I remember the good old days in the 1990s when AOL charged people by the minute for the only available Internet connection in my town...dialup at a blazing 28.8 mbps. When a competitor moved to town, AOL went to a flat rate.

Now, Time-Warner Cable is launching a trial program to bill customers by usage. They're saying 5% of their customers account for over half their high speed Internet traffic.

Beaumont, Texas, you folks are the lucky city chosen for Time-Warner Cable's new billing scheme experiment! Congrats!

MSNBC
Time Warner tests Internet usage-based billing
Company said it will try new billing with subscribers in Beaumont, Texas
January 17, 2008

NEW YORK - Time Warner Cable Inc said on Wednesday it is planning a trial to bill high-speed Internet subscribers based on their amount of usage rather than a flat fee, the standard industry practice.

The second largest U.S. cable operator said it will test consumption-based billing with subscribers in Beaumont, Texas later this year as a part of a strategy to help reduce congestion of its network by a minority of consumers who pay the same monthly fee as light users.

The company believes the billing system will impact only heavy users, who account for around 5 percent of all customers but typically use more than half of the total network bandwidth, according to a company spokesman.

READ MORE
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22707271/
If they try to expand that to other markets and it becomes a common practice again, then you will have many satellite internet providers coming around just like you do with Direct TV and Dish Network. Hughes net is expensive right now, but more will become involved if Time-Warner expands this.

I also think that the phone companies will jump at the chance to gain internet market share with DSL lines. They are losing business to the VIOP providers and they need a new market. This would be a perfect opportunity for AT&T to claim a good market by undercutting Time-Warner even if they have to lose money for a few years.
 
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DadsDream

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Lest we forget, circa 1995:

"You forgot to log out last night?! The automatic timer finally disconnected you after three hours! That's $6.00 in overage fees this month!"
 

St. Widge

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Lest we forget, circa 1995:

"You forgot to log out last night?! The automatic timer finally disconnected you after three hours! That's $6.00 in overage fees this month!"
Yeah, I remember those days. And it stopped the internet from developing. I don't see how they will be able to go back. There is too much money out there to be made with unlimited plans and someone will step into the market niche.
 
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DadsDream

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Yeah, I remember those days. And it stopped the internet from developing. I don't see how they will be able to go back. There is too much money out there to be made with unlimited plans and someone will step into the market niche.
Remember rationing?

Well, they didn't call it that. They called it the "AOL Timer." After 45 minutes or so, it would start bugging you with a popup asking if you wanted to stay online or not. It played havoc with those long downloads of updates or mp3's or whatever.

Then, some hacker came up with a "Timer Blocker," they responded with an "Improved Timer, " the hackers retaliated with a "Timer Eliminator," and AOL finally gave up.

Still, I can see this "new" billing scheme turning into a bandwidth rationing scheme, similar to what AOL ran with its Timer.
 

SaintsBrazil

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Maybe they should just report those 5% of users to the RIAA for "suspicious activity""
 

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Cable (and phone+tv providers to a lesser extent) need to keep bandwidth expensive to prevent the adoption of internet TV.

If they try to expand that to other markets and it becomes a common practice again, then you will have many satellite internet providers coming around just like you do with Direct TV and Dish Network. Hughes net is expensive right now, but more will become involved if Time-Warner expands this.

I also think that the phone companies will jump at the chance to gain internet market share with DSL lines. They are losing business to the VIOP providers and they need a new market. This would be a perfect opportunity for AT&T to claim a good market by undercutting Time-Warner even if they have to lose money for a few years.
Satellite already has draconian transfer caps and speed limits. The inherent latency of satellite connections makes them impractical for many people as well. Verizon is a cable killer, ATT is a dialup killer. Some newer terrestrial wireless services may offer some hope.
 

Capn_Morgan

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Uh oh. How much bandwidth does youtube, internet radio, and the occasional downloaded TV show use?
 
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DadsDream

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Maybe they should just report those 5% of users to the RIAA for "suspicious activity""
It ain't that the RIAA is afraid people are stealing music anymore...it's that the mega giant conglomerates that own the studios are afraid people are stealing movies! :9:
 

Darb

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Last paragraph:

"Comcast denies it blocks any Internet traffic saying it uses bandwidth management technology to help improve the customer experience but which may slow down some file transfers."

Bit torrent anyone? Thats what steams me is that you pay for a service, but they are allowed to throttle your speed and have no responsibility to how good the service is, based on what protocol you are using. To me, thats a bigger crime than people downloading music.

Comcast stinks.
 

Jonesy77

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Beaumont Enterprise headline on March 1, 2008:

Time Warner: "We Have Zero Subscribers in Beaumont"
 

buzd

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Cable (and phone+tv providers to a lesser extent) need to keep bandwidth expensive to prevent the adoption of internet TV.
True, but mostly incidental, IMO. The problem stems from the fact that major ISPs actually pay for their bandwidth by usage anyway. Their price structure is such that the extra cost of the 5% of heavy users is actually accounted for, however the ISPs can make a lot more $$ by holding that 5% accountable for their excess usage (which isn't really since it's already built into the pricing). Then they make a lot more profit from the casual, or less bandwidth-intensive users.

Theoretically, the ISPs could run into budgetary/pricing problems as internet users in general become more savvy and applications require more and more bandwidth (internet TV, for example), but I find it unlikely that the increase in bandwidth consumption is going to outpace the development and corresponding cost decrease of bandwidth at the vendor level.
 

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The problem for them wouldn't be bandwidth charges as much as protecting their TV subscriber market share. Today's P2P and VOIP traffic shaping is minor to what cablecos will do when faced with the loss of their main revenue source.
 

saintsfan342000

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Communists.
I wouldn't judge to harshly right off the bat. Some folks might be out of the house 9 hours or more every day at work, and then when they get home they might go online for 30 min to check their email. An example of this would be my mom. Pretty much all she does is check email and bank accounts once a day. But I know she's paying for unlimited service and doesnt really have a choice. Folks like that might benefit from a pay as you go plan.

If you are opposed to internet providers to charge per minute of use, are you also opposed to cell-phone providers doing the same?
 

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