Time-Warner cable subscribers, your internet bill could be going up soon.
The company is doing research that could soon lead to the company charging Internet customers based on usage. Under such a plan, customers would see tiered pricing based on usage. Media reports have prices from $29.95 to $54.90 monthly. If you go over your plans usage cap, you would get charged $1 per gigabyte.
Time Warner said it was making these moves to continue to upgrade and maintain its network, saying consumption among high-speed subscribers is increasing by 40 percent per year.
The company also announced it would offer a 100 GB Road Runner Turbo package for $75 per month with faster speeds. It also said overage charges would be capped at $75 per month. "That means that," said Time Warner cable COO Landel Hobbs, "for $150 per month customers could have virtually unlimited usage at Turbo speeds."
TWC, which has more than eight million broadband customers, will begin collecting information on internet usage in Austin, Texas, San Antonio, Texas and Rochester, N.Y., sometime later this year. Introduction of tiered billing could follow quickly. Greensboro will also likely see the tiered plan. Other companies are making similar moves.
Greensboro mayor Yvonne Johnson told the Greensboro News & Record that she thought the move was a bad idea.
“I think that having the best, cheapest Internet options we can is what’s best for the city, and I think the majority of the council will agree and want to get involved,” she told the Greensboro paper.
AT&T is doing a price tier trial in Beaumont, Texas, and Comcast, the nation's biggest cable comapny, caps bandwidth at 250 GB per month. If you go past that, you get a warning call. If you continue to exceed the limit, your subscription can get canceled.
Considering a download of a high-definition movie can be up to 10 GB, it wouldn't be hard to go way over most plans' caps -- and that's not even getting to your kids playing PlayStation online until the wee hours on the weekends or using your Internet phone service. Locally, some broadband cable bills could easily hit triple digits if Time Warner makes the change to tiered billing here.
I understand the company's need to try to recoup some costs. Cell phone companies have different pricing plans and not everyone is a heavy user. But if we have to have tiers, I'd like to see a reasonably pricing unlimited usage option. In this economy, I don't think charging more makes sense -- unless you want to drive customerss to other alternatives, like DSL.