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Time Warner Unveils 40 GB Bandwidth Cap

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 149 comments

Time Warner Cable will soon be expanding its bandwidth capping plans to more cities.

At a time when new media and entertainment delivery systems are evolving and leaning on internet distribution, internet service providers are cracking down on the bandwidth that its users consume.

Time Warner Cable, which owns the Road Runner internet service, will this month begin monitoring the activity of its customers in Austin, TX, San Antonio, TX and Rochester, NY, according to BusinessWeek. Roll out of the new program will happen sometime closer to summer, with Greensboro, NC being the first city to see the change.

New customers in those markets will be put on tiered and capped plans with monthly bandwidths limits starting at a miniscule 5 GB for the entry level $29.95 fee all the way to an paltry 40 GB for $54.90. The levels will be 5, 10, 20 and 40 GB, with overages charged at $1 per GB.

"We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business," Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said in an interview. "We made a mistake early on by not defining our business based on the consumption dimension."

With competitors such as Comcast offering 250 GB cap, Time Warner Cable’s top limit of 40 GB seems backwards in comparison.

With video streaming services such as Netflix on the PC, Xbox 360 or other set top boxes, such a cap could severely limit utility or make internet bills skyrocket. Analysts estimate that a family who opts for the 40 GB plan and streams 7.25 hours of online video a week could end up spending $200 per month on broadband usage fees. For the sake of comparison, the average American household spends 60 hours per week watching TV.

Time Warner Cable defends its plans by saying that most people do not use that much data. Basing its claims from a trial of 100,000 customers in Beaumont, TX about 14 percent exceeded their cap and had to pay about $19 in overages. Time Warner Cable added that the top quarter of users consumed 100 times more data than the bottom quarter of users. We explain this simply by that there are those who use the internet for modern services such as video delivery, and another type of customer that just uses it to send emails.

For the sake of the progression of new technologies, we hope Time Warner Cable at least offers its customers a little more freedom in how they use the internet.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    mindless728 , April 4, 2009 1:20 AM
    wtf, this will be b**s** if they implement this in my area, im not paying 10Mb/s to be limited like this, 200GB i could live with, 40GB is plain ridiculous and the worst part is i can't switch to another company, there is no competition in my area
  • 15 Hide
    deltatux , April 4, 2009 1:13 AM
    and I thought my 60 GB bandwidth cap is crappy, this is crappier. I already have to cut so much crap just to push my usage down to 45GB now (and leeway in case of emergency downloads).

    200 GB is fairer, but 40GB? I'd exceed it every month. I'd already cut down a lot to use fit my 60GB limit here with Rogers.
  • 12 Hide
    geminireaper , April 4, 2009 1:38 AM
    goodbye time warner here I come Verizon Fios with faster download speeds and unlimited bandwith.
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    deltatux , April 4, 2009 1:13 AM
    and I thought my 60 GB bandwidth cap is crappy, this is crappier. I already have to cut so much crap just to push my usage down to 45GB now (and leeway in case of emergency downloads).

    200 GB is fairer, but 40GB? I'd exceed it every month. I'd already cut down a lot to use fit my 60GB limit here with Rogers.
  • 18 Hide
    mindless728 , April 4, 2009 1:20 AM
    wtf, this will be b**s** if they implement this in my area, im not paying 10Mb/s to be limited like this, 200GB i could live with, 40GB is plain ridiculous and the worst part is i can't switch to another company, there is no competition in my area
  • 4 Hide
    Ho0d1um , April 4, 2009 1:21 AM
    Well it seems the fix to a bad economy is to over charge your customers. I love the fact that they base there cap on people that don't use a lot of the newer internet trends. Glad I don't have Time Warner, then again I am stuck with Charter.
  • 7 Hide
    Homeboy2 , April 4, 2009 1:31 AM
    windstream is offering dsl and phone for 59 bucks in my area. Whenever they start this crap its goodbye Time Warner.
  • 12 Hide
    geminireaper , April 4, 2009 1:38 AM
    goodbye time warner here I come Verizon Fios with faster download speeds and unlimited bandwith.
  • 6 Hide
    mcbowler , April 4, 2009 1:48 AM
    Eventually there will be competition. Do what you gotta do Time Warner, just don't expect us to stay around.

    40GB? Thats 10 movies a month, and nothing else, for $50. That's $5 a movie without including the cost of the download rental from my XBOX.

    I could understand a 200 GB limit.
  • 6 Hide
    mcbowler , April 4, 2009 1:51 AM
    Eventually there will be competition. Do what you gotta do Time Warner, just don't expect us to stay around.

    40GB? Thats 10 movies a month, and nothing else, for $50. That's $5 a movie without including the cost of the download rental from my XBOX.

    I could understand a 200 GB limit. And if I don't use all my bandwidth can I carry it over at least?
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , April 4, 2009 2:06 AM
    I have TW Roch. I have a lovely 10mbps connection which is very fast considering they started with ~3mbps only a couple yrs back.

    Only alternative is 1mpbs DSL from Verizon. Guess what, for my usage 1mpbs UNCAPPED is a GREAT. I can watch Hulu, download the occasional update to SuSe Linux DVD, and have some patients. I don't know who really needs 10mbps that fly by on a 40gb cap.

    Ok, 250GB like comcast offers, I could understand, thats at least resonable. Or better yet has TW considered THROTTLING beyond xGB per day for the 'abusive users'? No, this is a plan to gouge the user with a ridiculous $1/gb charge. So my copy of Suse 11.2 costs $4.50 to download??? Or my Occasional DVD purchase for $10 costs $5 in internet charges?

    It's bad enough the hairbrains in Albany were considering a tax on among other things sugared sodas, and internet downloads... Now this?

    Verizon, I hate you, but here I come. $17/mo 1mpbs UNLIMITED!!!
  • 7 Hide
    sp0ck1701 , April 4, 2009 2:09 AM
    I have TW Roch. I have a lovely 10mbps connection which is very fast considering they started with ~3mbps only a couple yrs back.

    Only alternative is 1mpbs DSL from Verizon. Guess what, for my usage 1mpbs UNCAPPED is a GREAT. I can watch Hulu, download the occasional update to SuSe Linux DVD, and have some patients. I don't know who really needs 10mbps that fly by on a 40gb cap.

    Ok, 250GB like comcast offers, I could understand, thats at least resonable. Or better yet has TW considered THROTTLING beyond xGB per day for the 'abusive users'? No, this is a plan to gouge the user with a ridiculous $1/gb charge. So my copy of Suse 11.2 costs $4.50 to download??? Or my Occasional DVD purchase for $10 costs $5 in internet charges?

    It's bad enough the hairbrains in Albany were considering a tax on among other things sugared sodas, and internet downloads... Now this?

    Verizon, I hate you, but here I come. $17/mo 1mpbs UNLIMITED!!!
  • 6 Hide
    Dave K , April 4, 2009 2:11 AM
    I also have TW Roch... if the cap goes in I'm switching to my local provider (which means I switch EVERYTHING, phone, cable, Inet). They don't have a cap and have FTTP so I was considering the change anyway.
  • 8 Hide
    christop , April 4, 2009 2:22 AM
    That will be a great way to loose me as a customer....
  • 6 Hide
    Transmaniacon , April 4, 2009 2:23 AM
    I live in Greensboro, and fortunately have Bellsouth DSL, however I hope they do not adopt this new cap trend, especially something as rediculous as 40GB/month...
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , April 4, 2009 2:24 AM
    So if I watch 2 hours of my favorite TV show online per week, I would have already exceeded the 40GB cap? BULLSH*T! Not to mention email attachment downloads (College...), patches to security and other programs, games ordered through online distributors, and youtube of course. To add to the insult, Time Warner is the only cable provider in my area (L.A. County). Monopoly and overcharge is the name of the game.
  • 6 Hide
    SAL-e , April 4, 2009 2:31 AM
    Sorry guys, but switching to other provider will not help. The communications in US are held by small number of companies that are acting like a classical cartel. They all will set the same tariffs. They are buying the politicians and get what ever they want.

    Only real solution is to build independent mesh network. Start by connecting your neighbors with local server and local content. Also we need to fight to free the TV spectrum that will be unused after the DTV transition.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , April 4, 2009 2:35 AM
    Glad I have Verizon FiOS and no caps yet.

    It's funny tho to see the TimeWarner cable guys work so hard to convince me to switc to their service saying that theirs is far better than my FiOS.

    They wish!!!! lol.

    I can't wait to see the next guy trying to convice me to switch just to scrub this news on his face.
  • 8 Hide
    randomizer , April 4, 2009 2:43 AM
    This is looking more and more like Australia (although the service is probably better). Caps are a malignant cancer that have spread around the world.
  • 3 Hide
    Fusion777 , April 4, 2009 2:52 AM
    Such a weak move. Clearly someone thinks they'll be "mostly" making money off internet pirates. The article really says it all. A lot of people stream video (hello, hulu?) and you'll blow up that cap in no time. Not to mention that legitimate downloads are not like a crazy and weird fringe activity. Like other posters here have said, if you're paying $70+ a month for your bandwidth why not get an unlimited 3G plan and get mobility to boot? Just plain stupid, they are gonna lose mass customers.
  • 4 Hide
    bonjoeryan , April 4, 2009 2:58 AM
    I live in Brazil and my internet usage is cap free (without download limits)...
    I usually download 20 GB per day and maybe 600 GB per month,
    that is the my bandwidth usage without P 2 P (ie: emule),
    in the time of P 2 P it was apx 40 GB per day...
    Well I have 4 mbps and pay apx U$ 49.00 per month (R$ 109.90)...
    All I would like to say is I was always criticizing ISP here but now it seemed that it isnt that bad...
  • -1 Hide
    mavroxur , April 4, 2009 3:02 AM
    SAL-eSorry guys, but switching to other provider will not help. The communications in US are held by small number of companies that are acting like a classical cartel. They all will set the same tariffs. They are buying the politicians and get what ever they want. Only real solution is to build independent mesh network. Start by connecting your neighbors with local server and local content. Also we need to fight to free the TV spectrum that will be unused after the DTV transition.



    Completely agree on the first part about switching providers, it wont help at all. As far as the fighting to free the unused bandwidth after the DTV transition, politically, it's already gone to public services and mobile radio providers from what i've seen coming down the pipe.
  • 3 Hide
    sp0ck1701 , April 4, 2009 3:14 AM
    As an IT guy, I can appreciate the concept of 'abusive users'. (Emule included, though I've surely never ever touched that ever myself ;-)...though within reason). Seriously though.

    If bandwidth were the TRUE issue, there are better ways. For example, before TW or DSL became viable options when we first moved her I was considering satellite internet. Obviously upgrades to a satellite would require a very substantial investment so bandwidth is a true limitation. So the answer there is to throttle heavy users who don't pay.

    Here is their "Fair Access Policy".
    http://www.wafa.ae/en/vsat/products/fapenglish.aspx

    Now, surely IF bandwidth were the TRUE ISSUE here, wouldn't this be one of the FIRST options TW should announce and offer these plans as an alternative. I.e. Pay $60/mo for your residential and be throttled after the first 2GB/day down to 1mbps, or "buy additional Gigabytes".

    Something tells me either they don't understand the purpose of "broadband" or they are thinking they can somehow pull this over. Hate to say it, but until recently there WAS NO BROADBAND access at all in many areas so TW IS the only choice. And telcoms have struggled in lower population areas. So they might pull it off... but I for one am on the fringe of DSL and would even consider satellite at $70/mo over what they propose.

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