Pricing: 2 ¼ Stars
Despite offering seemingly reasonable performance for a modest price (compared to similar services from different ISPs), our readers gave Time Warner Cable's pricing the lowest score of any category, at only 2 1/4 (2.36) stars out of five. A trend appears to be developing in our round-up where we see the lowest scores in the pricing category. Many of our readers are particularly sensitive to pricing; pricing was voted the second most-important factor when choosing an ISP by our surveyed Time Warner Cable participants. Despite our survey results, though, when you do the math, Time Warner Cable's rates have some of the best price-to-performance ratios in our series.
I was required to input a serviceable address into Time Warner Cable's website, and once I found a suitable location in Texas, I was shown the ISP's speed tiers. Similarly to other ISPs, TWC offers promotional rates for a year, after which regular rates apply. However, I could not find a set-in-stone contract term or price anywhere on the company's site, so I contacted support for help.
The representative I spoke to helped shed light on the subject, explaining that the promotional rates last 12 months, after which they can be renegotiated (by choosing another promotional rate) or the service can be cancelled with no penalty. Furthermore, I was told that normal pricing for each service tier is only $5 to $10 more expensive, or even cheaper after the first year. Time Warner Cable's Internet services don't technically come with a minimum term, so it appears that these prices are legitimate and you can cancel any time.
|TWC Internet Plan||Download Speed||Promotional Rate Term||Minimum Contract Term||Stand-Alone Price||Price to Performance|
|“Low Priced”||Up to 3 Mb/s||N/A||N/A||$15/month||$5.00 per Mb/s|
|Basic||Up to 10 Mb/s||12 Months||N/A||$30/month||$3.00 per Mb/s|
|Extreme||Up to 50 Mb/s||12 Months||N/A||$35/month||$0.70 per Mb/s|
|Ultimate 100||Up to 100 Mb/s||12 Months||N/A||$45/month||$ 0.45 per Mb/s|
|Ultimate 200||Up to 200 Mb/s||12 Months||N/A||$55/month||$0.28 per Mb/s|
|Ultimate 300||Up to 300 Mb/s||12 Months||N/A||$65/month||$0.22 per Mb/s|
Time Warner Cable offers the best price-to-performance ratio we've seen thus far. It also offers speeds higher than any previous entrant in our series. However, the survey score, as determined by our readers, appears to ignore this, resulting in a sub-par 2 1/4 stars out of five awarded to the second-largest cable Internet provider in the country.
Readers who rated pricing below three stars didn't generally score other categories as low, with many actually praising the service in all areas except its price tag.
"TWC is a little pricey, but I've had no issues with them and they [don't have a] bandwidth cap," said one reader who rated every category above three stars (even pricing). Unlike other ISPs we've reviewed so far, a data limit is seemingly not a factor. Many readers with ISPs that do impose limits note that overage charge-incurring policies negatively affect their opinions in this category.
"While they provide generally adequate service, it's very much overpriced for the service provided," said another participant who rated all other categories at or below three stars, with pricing pegged at just one star out of five.
One of our readers simply commented "it is overpriced because it is the only ISP in town," perhaps pinpointing the reason so many of our respondents gave Time Warner (and most other ISPs) a poor pricing score. Some regions simply have no competition for high-speed broadband cable Internet, and when there's a lack of competition, the perception is that prices are automatically too high (or at least higher than some people are comfortable paying).
These lower-than-average results may come from a lack of knowledge of what other companies charge. At the end of the day, I simply cannot account for the disappointing score that Time Warner Cable's Internet services received, since each service tier offers more speed at a better price per Mb/s than any other ISP we've reviewed, and without a data cap.