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Senator Chuck Schumer to Visit Rochester & Protest Usage Caps: Our View

Phillip Dampier April 15, 2009 Editorial & Site News, Public Policy & Gov't, TWC (see Charter) 18 Comments
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be in Rochester Thursday afternoon to help add his voice to the growing opposition to Time Warner’s bandwidth usage caps.  StoptheCap! has been working with the senator’s office throughout the day today to help coordinate the visit, which will take place in Irondequoit at the home of just one resident who will be directly impacted by Time Warner’s plans.

Time Warner’s bandwidth cap experiment coming just a few months after the company’s last rate increase would dramatically hurt many local residents already reeling from a poor economy.  Time Warner is seriously suggesting that consumers now paying $39.95 per month for broadband service should now be faced with the prospect of paying three times as much, $150 per month, for an equivalent level of service.

Senator Schumer said he doesn’t want Rochester used as a guinea pig for Time Warner, and intends to do all in his power to put a stop to it.

StoptheCap! is delighted to be working with Senator Schumer, who has a long track record of advocating for consumers and standing up for the residents of New York State.

Senator Schumer’s strong voice will be heard across the country, as well as Washington, and will send a clear message that consumers in New York, as well as other states where Time Warner is forcing residents to participate in its “tests,” will not stand idly by and allow Internet plans offering paltry tiers at top dollar pricing to simply pass without the strongest possible protest.

What starts in Beaumont, San Antonio, Austin, Rochester, and the Triad of North Carolina will either be stopped by consumers who reject these egregious bandwidth caps, or Time Warner customers nationwide will almost certainly find them coming to their homes in the future.

StoptheCap! will, of course, have full coverage of the senator’s visit, and will remain in close contact with his office in the days ahead.

In June 2008, Time Warner spokesman Alex Dudley was interviewed for Gigaom, an online publication.  In that interview, he stated that the bandwidth capping trials in Beaumont, Texas were just an experiment and if consumers don’t want it, the company will back away from it.

“You need to understand that the networks are going to be managed and we need to make profit,” he said. “We are trying to find a balance here, and it is too soon to say that we are throwing baby out of the bathwater.”

Dudley was, however, quick to point out that TWC’s experiment in Texas was just that – a test. If consumers don’t want it, the company is going to back away from it. “I think this is a trial and we are going to learn from this trial,” he said.

We honestly don’t know what else Mr. Dudley needs to hear to understand consumers don’t want it.  The company has now attracted a firestorm of negative publicity, the attention of one area congressman, a United States senator, and will almost certainly get an earful when town supervisors from across the county have a chance to weigh in this Friday.  Mr. Dudley, consumers don’t want it. We are not interested in, or appeased by, increases in the caps.  We do not want caps, period.  No consumer should ever have to worry whether or not they will face punitive overlimit fees from a product that Time Warner’s own financial results from 2008 stated, quite plainly, was highly profitable and increasingly so as bandwidth costs continue to decline.

We encourage Time Warner to end its “experiment” today for the good of its customers.  There is still time to forgive and forget.  But time is running out.

Currently there are 18 comments on this Article:

  1. Craig says:

    You know I am extremely happy about this, however I am not holding my breath for TWC to back down. One would imagine that someone at TWC has to look at all this and go, “Ok guys this is getting out of hand lets just quit while we are ahead before this goes any farther”

    Lets keep up the pressure lads give the nice Senator a email/call and let him know you appreciate his help

  2. I will be asking for every reader of this website to do that after the event is completed. I’ll have the contact info up. I wouldn’t have ran this tonight, except it’s now already been reported by two local TV stations. I didn’t want to spoil the surprise I was referring to in the Wednesday evening update.

  3. Rick says:

    Nicely done and very well stated! As someone in his 50’s, who grew up in the protest era of the 60’s, I am for the very first time in my life energized to stand up and fight against Time Warner’s egregiously obscene and opportunistic money grubbing price gouging attempt to fleece the wallets of unsuspecting consumers who unwittingly trust a company who is knowing and intentionally milking and bilking the life out of a community reeling from the economic hardship imposed by the loss of 10’s of thousand of jobs with the down sizing of Kodak and other major local industries. Talk about kicking the wounded dog or dumping on people when they are down, Time Warner has demonstrated that they have absolutely no compassion or feelings for the communities that feed them. I AM SO GOING TO CANCEL ALL MY TIME WARNER SERVICES! Oh Gee!, I hope we don’t run out of bandwidth…I guess I should start conserving bits. Maybe I should be storing my unused bits in a piggy bank to hand down to my grandchildren. Give me a break! The only medicine Time Warner will ever understand is their total demise resulting from simple competition such as Verizon FiOS. Have a nice day TWC! GFY!!! (good for you).

  4. Dan says:

    There’s still time to forgive and forget? Not for me there isn’t. I just made the switch to Earthlink for now so I wouldn’t be contributing to their propaganda campaign, at least not as much though with them being last mile provider there’s still some I’d guess.

    Earthlink will probably be forced to go with caps as well though, last mile through TW and the courts don’t hold them obligated to supply that I don’t think so they’ve got leverage and such, which still leaves the problem of where to go in six months. Phillip asked me (and everyone else I’d guess) to look for local options and the biggest part of what I found is it’s a pain in the ass and there are no “rules”, they might provide to one neighborhood and not the next with little rhyme or reason to it at times. Best tool of sorts I’ve found so far is the following.


    That’s a searchable list that’s as complete as I’ve found so far to help see what options might be available by zip code or phone number, it’s not nearly as convenient as a list for specific areas but it might be a last ditch option for those who don’t think they have any options. There were a few in there that I didn’t know about, though mostly dsl and satellite rather than cable providers.

  5. Joe says:

    Good! We now have a Senator on our side. But make no mistake – the reason we have Congressmen on our side is from the hard work of Phillip and others as well as the large outcry from the public. We need to continue to build the ranks and make the outcry louder. One suggestion I have, assuming those that are funding the stopthecap.com server can afford it, is to make stopthecap.com more of a national site. As Phillip has mentioned the four new cities in the TWC “test” are just the beginning therefore we need to enlist the help of people in other states. Personally (I’m from Ohio) I want to join the fight not only to protect my future interests but also to help my “neighbors” in other states who might have to endure these caps much sooner than I. One way I can think of to make it more of a national site and especially to help recruit the less technically inclined (broadband sheep I call them) is to either have a link in big bold letters in the left hand frame of the home page or an article pinned to the top of the blog that explains the specifics of what is involved, what is at stake, what stopthecap’s goals are, and how people can help. An Executive Summary of sorts to make it easy for the broadband sheep to learn without having to read numerous different articles.

    Just a thought.

  6. Joe says:

    One other thing I think is sorely needed is some ideas of just how much bandwidth people might use – I don’t think the majority of TWC customers have any clue to how much bandwidth they use. I installed Tomato on my router last month so I could measure bandwidth across all of my internet devices. So here are some specifics – I work from home and have three teenagers who mostly surf. One of the three uses Skype. We also use Hulu and Netflix. From 3-9 to 3-31 we used 111gb of bandwidth. I forgot and reset my router on the 8th of this month so I lost those logs but from 4/8 to today (4/15) we have used 86.3gb (83.59gb down and 2.44gb up). Since my eldest’s Xbox 360 has been in the shop this entire time these figures don’t include the many hours he usually spends on Xbox Live.

  7. Dan says:

    Good points, Joe. I have DirecTV, and their version of “On-Demand” works by plugging my DirecTV receiver into the internet. I wonder how much bandwidth an HD movie from them takes up. They’re interfering with the ability of their direct current competitors to provide similar service.

  8. Paul Reed says:

    When the ‘you know what’ will really hit the fan (I’m hoping) is when TW finally gives everyone their gas gauge before the billing starts. Thats when all these people who don’t know how much they are using will finally figure out how bad this is really going to be.

    • Craig says:

      Assuming that during the “test” the gas gauge isnt driven lower then usual and after the “real” gas gauge comes out and your screwed.

      Note: TWC charges for 1000Mbs = 1Gig instead of 1024Mbs

  9. Ron Dafoe says:

    I called and cancelled my digital phone with Time Warner and told them it was in response to the caps. Institute caps, and the internet service goes to. I have not had cable in 12 years. I have had directtv, so just by cancelling my service, my TW cost is almost in half.

    I installed Tomato on my Linksys router just to see where I am at as well. In 3 days, I have used 5Gbs of data. I just recieved my xbox 360 back from service as well yesterday, so with that and netflix streaming, I am sure I am in the sa,e ballpark as Joe.

    Of the people I know that are around the same age as me, they have similiar internet usage. The people I know that are older (10+ years) use it alot less, and younger (10+ years) use it alot more. I think when TW says 5Gbs they are looking at a specific demographic.

  10. Diane says:

    Has anyone gotten an answer about how much bandwidth their “tool” actually eats? I have asked good ole Alex from TWC and have not gotten an answer.

  11. Rob says:

    So in Time Warner’s world 1000Mbs = 1GB instead of 1024Mbs? How exactly do they get away with that? That doesn’t seem right.

    So if you are using Tomato on your router to see how much bandwidth you are using it probably measure 1 gigabyte as 1024 megabytes not the 1000 megabytes that Time Warner uses. So the amount of data your router uses is even higher in Time Warner’s world.


    • Jason says:

      Data transmission over a network is ALWAYS Base10, ALWAYS. Data storage is Base2. Tomato is measuring in Base10, just like every other router on Earth.

  12. T.M. says:

    If you measure GB on the 1024MB scale, you can convert to TWC scale by multiplying your real MB reading by 0.976 and round up to the next whole number. to get the TWC equivalent.

    • Jason says:

      Wrong, you need to convert to bytes first and then do the conversion.

      Base2 1TB = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes / 1024 = 976,562,500 KiB / 1024 = 953674 MiB / 1024 = 931.323 GiB

      Gigabyte(b10) != Gibibyte(b2)

  13. Bradley K. says:

    >>>>If consumers don’t want it, the company is going to back away from it.<<<<

    Haven’t consumers pretty clearly said NO?

    How much more clearly can we indicate we do not want this?

    Seems like an ostrich sticking his head in the sand.

  14. James Lang says:

    This makes me happy that some one on the BIG HILL in the most powerful city is taking arms to protect the people. Does anyone have information on how to contact the Government of Austin, TX. You can Email me at [email protected] so I can put it on my website so we can convince the local government it is in their best effort to stop TWC bandwidth caps. Now I urge you all be nice but get the point across that if they want our votes they need to fight for us. The power of the vote can be a very good motivator in their eyes.

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