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Time Warner Unveils 40 GB Bandwidth Cap

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • deltatux
    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.
    Reply
  • mindless728
    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
    Reply
  • Ho0d1um
    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.
    Reply
  • Homeboy2
    windstream is offering dsl and phone for 59 bucks in my area. Whenever they start this crap its goodbye Time Warner.
    Reply
  • geminireaper
    goodbye time warner here I come Verizon Fios with faster download speeds and unlimited bandwith.
    Reply
  • mcbowler
    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.
    Reply
  • mcbowler
    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?
    Reply
  • 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!!!
    Reply
  • sp0ck1701
    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!!!
    Reply
  • Dave K
    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.
    Reply