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Time Warner Unveils 40 GB Bandwidth Cap

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 11 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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  • 1 Hide
    plasmastorm , 4 April 2009 10:07
    Guess who's going to loose customers, oh wait.... anyone with common sense wouldn't use AOL to start with lol !
  • 1 Hide
    lewis71980 , 4 April 2009 18:21
    If you don't like it change to a business grade service.

    There was nothing wrong with the existing way it worked.

    For DSL it used to be a contention ratio of 50:1 that is why it is so cheap compared to business 1:1 contention.

    If you want guaranteed better performance pay for a better contention.
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 5 April 2009 05:40
    Realistically, do you think that the 40GB cap is fair? Take a family of 4 and what they would typically do on a daily basis:

    - Watch YT video's
    - Download some demo's for the PC and PS3
    - Listen to online radio
    - Play some online game
    _ Go on eBay

    For a family of 4 that's 325MB a day, not even taking into account the bandwidth overheads. You could quite easily exceed 40GB/Month.

    I think this will simply result in more people jumping ship. Go after the really heavy users instead of penalising the majority for wanting to be part of the information age, or to view HD content.
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 5 April 2009 09:11
    that's faulty math ;)  ^^^^^^
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 5 April 2009 10:47
    mrhaiiithat's faulty math ^^^^^^

    325MB x 4 = 1.3GB/day

    1.3GB x 30 = 40.0GB/month
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 5 April 2009 20:37
    Here in South Africa we are capped. I have to pay about $8 (R70)for 1Gb. So 40 Gb = $320. We are moving away from this restriction, only because the communications monopoly has finally been broken. Finally we have offerings which are not capped. Do youselves a favour, resist the trend towards caps. It strangles economies, hinders progress, and is just based on pure greed. The amount of Gb used is not what the internet infrastructure depends on, it is peak usage. Watch out, or you guys will be on a slippery slope.
  • 0 Hide
    bungle , 6 April 2009 06:23
    It's big business. There was not point providing caps before but now that so much content is delivered on line and people have become used to this model the service providers will now start to charge. It's an easy way to catch people out and make money.
  • 0 Hide
    leexgx , 6 April 2009 10:02
    best realy just Remove the uk site for tomshardware as its the worse site for reviews nowadays in the UK and most news is for the US any way on this site, whent down hill about an yr or 2 ago
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 6 April 2009 11:39
    sorry leexgx what you said has what to do with the this particular piece of news?
  • 0 Hide
    waxdart , 6 April 2009 16:24
    @annony well I'm not too sure where you are - but Leexgx and I see a in the URL - So reading about A $1 per gig doesn't matter much becuase by the time it gets to the UK it will be $15 GB. :) 

    I'd drop any company that had a cap. I watch too much crud on youtube and bbc iplayer. 80% of my random watch any crud in via the net and 99% of things I want to watch is over the net. I'm never at home when things are on - Tivo is broken and I wont play extra for sky plus when its all on line.
  • 0 Hide
    nictron , 7 April 2009 20:27
    So just when South Africa is starting to catch up they can look to the first world and see the implementation of caps?

    This is bad news, we have been living with this debilitating strategy for the last 9 years and it cripples development and innovation. I hope the new companies don't follow this example as I am looking forward to all the Internet has to offer, but at 40GB it just won't cut it!