Time Warner Cable is planning to roll out new internet service trials that would limit monthly usage to 40 GB, a restriction that has many customers livid.
Time Warner Cable, which owns the Road Runner internet service, will this month begin monitoring the activity of its customers in select cities in Texas, North Carolina and New York in preparation of a rollout of new monthly plans with bandwidths limit starting at 5 GB for the entry level $29.95 fee all the way to 40 GB for $54.90.
The proposed plans have customers lighting torches and reaching for pitch forks, but TWC’s COO Landel Hobbs is now responding to the crowd in an open letter.
“Some accounts have even characterized our plans as punitive. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Hobbs wrote. “With regard to consumption-based billing, we have determined that as broadband usage and penetration grow, there are increasing differences in the amount of bandwidth our customers consume.”
Current Time Warner Cable internet service charges customers the same rate whether one uses it just for email or full blown movie watching. Hobbs says that this is unfair and not the way most users want to pay for goods that they consume.
Hobbs posed, “When you go to lunch with a friend, do you split the bill in half if he gets the steak and you have a salad?”
For that reason, Time Warner Cable plans to different pricing tiers with bandwidth caps at 5, 10, 20 and 40 GB, and overflow charged at $1 per GB. The company plans to roll out a monitoring tool so that customers may track their usage.
Due to the customer backlash, Hobbs revealed that the company is now developing a “super tier” (with appropriately super pricing).
“We have heard customer feedback, and understand that a 40 GB tier seems low to heavy Internet users,” Hobbs said. “We are developing a ‘super - tier’ now that allows for up to 100 GB of broadband usage per month in all of our test markets. We haven't confirmed pricing details as of this moment, but you have my word as Chief Operating Officer of Time Warner Cable that we will make this tier available to our customers.”
While a 100 GB cap sounds much more reasonable and usable than 40 GB, those who have the option of Comcast will see that company’s 250 GB cap even more reasonable and usable.
Hobbs does say that the Time Warner Cable plans aren’t set in stone and that there could be changes made to accommodate different types of usage. “I am convening a series of meetings this week to develop plans that will allow customers to choose among tiers that provide tradeoffs between speed and consumption,” he revealed. “If one family prefers to have lower download speeds but a higher data tier, or vice-versa, we want them to be able to make that choice.”
Hobbs adds that he believes that such plans are not only fair to the consumer, but will encourage more use of broadband overall. We’re not quite sure how setting limits on a service can encourage use, but Time Warner Cable is eager to hear what you have to think at email@example.com.