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The War is Back On – You Can’t Snow Someone from Western NY – We Know a Blizzard of Bull When We See One

Phillip Dampier April 17, 2009 Editorial & Site News 26 Comments

I have been carefully contemplating the last 48 hours of roller coaster riding, and I hate roller coasters.

I wanted to reflect on and consider all of the information, announcements, public statements, press releases, and industry reaction to yesterday’s announcement that Time Warner was withdrawing its Internet rationing nightmare.  I’ve talked to a number of players, folks in the media, some of the groups in other cities, and have been in touch with many of you.  The one thing that seems fundamentally clear: nobody is picking up what Time Warner is putting down — this fight isn’t over.

bull11I am convinced that Time Warner is stalling.  They haven’t really changed their minds about anything.  They still think they’re right: the problem isn’t draconian usage caps, it is that people weren’t properly conditioned to accept them first, and after a mind-numbing “education campaign” with the gas gauge, the OPEC of the Internet will be back by the fall, probably with almost the identical plan they “shelved” yesterday.  They hope that with a summer of their gauge, you won’t stay engaged in this issue, if you don’t hit their caps… yet.

They crumbed the play in their press release.  One of my favorite films, David Mamet’s House of Games, says it all:

Oh, you’re a bad pony. And I’m not gonna bet on you.

So we resume the battle.  It’s time for more competition.  This would have never been tried had the company not felt confident their customer base wouldn’t evaporate.  We need to see an end to “exclusives” in this marketplace.  It’s time for regulation when there is no competition.  If you want to act like a monopoly, get regulated like one.  And it’s time to start helping push, where appropriate, municipal broadband solutions run in the public interest, to ensure equity of access and an end to the limbo dancing to see how low caps can go while your bill goes up.

I continue to appreciate the efforts of Senator Schumer and Congressman Massa.  Both are watching this company very closely, and I think further action needs to be taken, and a watchful eye kept.  I truly believe they are on our side and will drop the hammer if this company comes back with the exact same plan dolled up for resale.  But I just do not believe they can do it all.  Time Warner has still not gotten the message from its customers yet.  They need to understand that another definition of Cap ‘n Tier is CANCEL.

If they run an “education campaign,” that is what we need to do as well, to educate our friends, families, and neighbors that a profitable company is advocating a ridiculous rationing plan that costs too much, offers too little, and thinks that you’ll be their biggest advocate if they get you to believe you are going to save money.

As I’ve said over and over again, when is the last time your cable bill ever went down from year to year?  How much more do you need to know?

Currently there are 26 comments on this Article:

  1. Ron Dafoe says:

    Here are the comments from the Ogden Supervisor I received today and it didn’t sound good to me:

    TO ALL WHO E-MAILED ME REGARDING TIME WARNER ISSUE:

    As you all know, Time Warner has reconsidered and is not going forward at this point in time with the consumption based billing.

    At the Supervisors’ luncheon today, they did come to explain their philosophy which was: “Those who use it very little should not pay as much as those who use it a lot.” Since hearing from so many of you, they have elected to not proceed with implementation of additional tests until further consultation with their customers and other interested parties, ensuring that community needs are met.

    After much discussion, it was obvious that Time Warner did not take their customers into consideration and certainly did a poor job of explaining their plan to all of us. Most of the Supervisors felt this was poor time in our economy to be even thinking about adding to the citizens’ financial burden. Many examples were given. I made copies of your e-mails and turned them over to the Time Warner Rep.The good thing that has come out of this is that they appeared to agree with our comments, and I am sure we are going to see a better education process in the future.

    However, they also know that we are watching.

    Thanks to all of you who sent me your concerns……that’s what I’m here for…

    Have a good weekend.

    • We have time to correct any misinformation they may have gotten. It sounds like pretty standard text to me.

      • Ron Dafoe says:

        My problem with the reply is that they are using Time Warner’s phrases and wording….

        • Fedup1963 says:

          The replies coming from the news outlets and officials do seem to always end on TWC’s side. This is exactly why we cannot give up.

    • Larry says:

      “Those who use it very little should not pay as much as those who use it a lot.”

      They seem to forget that’s what they have road runner lite for, they act like they don’t have that tier. I think we need to educate TW and remind them that they have RR lite and the people who don’t know it exists.

      The reps who answer the phone should ask the person what they are going to be doing on the net and offer them the right service for their usage. If it’s just browsing and email, they should offer RR lite instead of trying to sell them on the standard service.

      • Ron Dafoe says:

        I agree. My original letter to the Ogden Supervisor pointed that out. There is a $30, $40, and $50 tier already. If TW is not selling the $30 tier to lite internet users, they they are theones making people pay more than they need.

        For a test, I had a friend call up (he has DSL) TW and all they talked about was the middle tier. No mention of lite, or turbo. Finally, he had to ask them if there were any less expensive plans to find out about the lite service.

        • AC says:

          Actually TW/Rochester has 4 tiers already, that they almost never advertise nor mention. Lite/Basic/Standard/Turbo in ascending order of speed->price, of course. All the lighter users complaining about the heavy users, YOU ALREADY HAVE a less expensive option! Use it if you think you’re paying too much, don’t let TW make the decision FOR you!

          • Larry says:

            I went to their site and went through the process of setting up service and only option they give you is the standard with or without cable TV or digital phone service, no mention of RR Lite or Turbo.

            This is something we should make people aware of.

            • Ron Dafoe says:

              I agree. They are acting like that there is currently no plans that are less money for people who use the internet less, when in fact, they do.

  2. KP says:

    The notion of an “education campaign” puts one in mind of “re-education camps” that were/are run by totalitarian regimes. TW obviously doesn’t have that kind of power at its disposal, but what it does have are persuasive techniques, AKA as propaganda, which will only continue to be developed. Like other corporations, TW obviously can call on an army of PR consultants for a PR campaign to try to persuade customers that up is down and hot is cold.

    I agree, regulation and busting of monopolies, and municipal broadband are the only long term alternatives. Piecemeal efforts to legislate specific behaviors aren’t enough.

    • Mike O Brien on USA Network in between every ad break. Imagine the horror.

    • B for Bandwidth says:

      When I first read Time Warners reply I immediately though of the book 1984. The idea of rewriting history so that less is more and every reduction is sold as an improvement. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially now.

      I also totally agree that its time to pull back the curtain and find out why we only have on cable company in a market of our size.

      I would like to see Senator Schumer take this the full way and call to abolish ANY laws that prevent companies from being able to freely enter the market (if they desire to do so).

  3. jr says:

    We need to keep the pressure on Time Warner. Blitz every down! We need to contact Verizon every day to make them get the butts in gear to bring FiOS here. Complacency is our enemy. It would help if everyone would print up business cards with stopthecap.com on them. We need this site to he the local moveon.org

  4. Paul Reed says:

    Oh yeah, lets implement the gas gauge, in the summertime, when people are outside away from their computers the most. When they see that they only used 10GB’s in July, 40GB will sound fantastic. The kool-aid is red my friends, do not drink it.

  5. JL says:

    Complaining to town supervisors won’t accomplish anything. Time Warner is using their monopoly as an internet service provider to squash competition to their cable TV service and their home phone service. We need to contact the state attorney generals, the department of justice, and FCC. Their anti-competitive actions seem to be in clear violation of federal anti-trust laws. We need to get some people on our side who will take action.

    • Danny Gibas says:

      Many of us have already contacted the State Attorney General. The response is not very promising. Do not expect much assistance on that end. The form letter I received back could be summarized as the following:

      Thank you for writing us, your comments have been noted. Please address your concerns with your Congressional representative, blah blah blah…

      • Paul Reed says:

        I agree, I got the same letter. However, I don’t think we should discourage people from contacting the AG. Once the receive enough of a response, it may make them take further notice on the situation.

  6. Uncle Ken says:

    It is truly a shame that so much apathy still exists. TWC WILL roll this out to every place they now own and this has got to change. As I said before there are so many that just do not have a clue what caps will do until they get their next internet bill. Im still looking for hard numbers from TWC…. I think ill be waiting for a long time….Time I no longer have. Yes Phil I went in under the cover of darkness and it was what I thought it was and it is spreading quickly. Pain is my new friend. But the word needs to get out…. Apathy is not an option anymore Time to fight the last mega battle, get other company’s in here and be done with this madness. If TWC were to stop their grand experiments of monitoring, packet analyses and shaping they could drop 50 percent of their overhead. If I had a T1 line and shared it with some neighbors it would be pure. They would hit my computers and in turn be on the major pipes without the middle man. Yes they would be charged a small fee to defray the cost of a T1 but it would be a clean connection free of logs of what they have done in the past, present, or future. No need for any of that. TWC keeps your short size and size of you feet for what amounts to nothing in the end. Dan has a vision and I would love to read it. Some of the best stuff came out of a shower, a basement, the garage, or the living room chair. Never under estimate The brain power of a human when they put their mind to a challenge.

  7. Munly Leong says:

    Thanks for fighting the good fight and it is amazing what results have been achieved in such a short time. I am Australian (unfortunately) but have not lived there in almost a decade but that is apathy is exactly what caused the capping situation to happen there first and the current regime continues to this day and will for at least another eight years. This issue is very dear to me as well and I have been spamming your website and informing everyone I know about it, especially Americans as I do not want to see the USA turn into Australia given how many other ways the country has gone into the toilet of late. I fully intend to move back to the US at some point in the future and I will continue to fight alongside you guys to ensure that it is not a capped shithole when I do :)

  8. Uncle Ken says:

    Thank you Munly Leong: As I understand oz is putting in a major pipe of their own. That may help but I find it interesting just how far the rules change in the world. For you to move back to the US your welcome to come back for me I would like to move to oz as im getting sick of looking at the same old houses in all four direction where the average age of a person around here is about 237 years old.

  9. jessica says:

    Thank you. And you’re absolutely right – we need to educate ourselves, our friends and our families to make sure we don’t get taken advantage of by a greedy corporation who seems to think we’re too stupid to notice.

  10. Andrew says:

    Ummmm TW made 4 billion in proft just from their internet side of the house. TW is doing more than stalling, their tactic is simple, let this issue die down for now. By the time the issue comes up again, more customers will be desensitived to the issue and the fervor that we all saw recently will not exist.

    My hope is that Congressman Massa’s bill becomes law.

    TW needs to be treated like a monopoly in this area. I agree it is time for real competition!!!!

  11. Fedup1963 says:

    This was possibly the shortest victory celebration I have ever been a part of. While I was temporarily blind and thought Time Warner Cable had finally come to their senses, that little voice in the back of my head started clamoring to be heard. Somehow I knew it was just a smoke screen and sure enough after an hour the TWC Official Statement was released. I should have followed my instinct’s not to read it but I did. Let me just say it made me angry all over again. In the neighborhood I live in we have no other choice for Internet Broadband. I cannot even subscribe to DSL because Frontier’s lines are so bad. Verizon Fios is not available here and neither is Comcast. Back to the grassroots drawing board to try and terminate this Monopoly’s plan for good!

    For some reason Time Warner Cable believes that their customers are somehow uneducated. I like many disagree strongly. I am not tech savvy and do not claim to be but I can smell a rat and this is a big one. I do know I have read that Alex Dudley of TWC has said that if customers complain about it and do not want it then they will not do it. Call me stupid but I believe that the negative feedback we in Rochester, NY have provided them over the last two weeks, along with a few government officials backing us, should drive the point home that we Do Not Want It!

    What I find most interesting about the news reports is the lack of critical information on how this impacts users on a “real” level. The highlight always seems to focus on us paying more. We will grant you, but it will impact so many people for different reasons. How about focusing on the impact this will have on the Deaf community, Farmers, Doctors, Students, E Commerce, Online Education etc. Time Warner Cable Reps have called us Bandwidth Hogs, Freetards, Gamers, Netflixers and Bloggers that live in the basement eating Cheeto’s. I for one am tired of it. The average user that they refer to are those that have subscribed to their “Lite” product and not those that subscribe to the “unlimited” service. What gives?

    TWC likes to say that most people won’t even notice. Are you kidding me? I did not Volunteer for this little test project and I was not asked if I would like to. I did not receive a written notice from TWC about this little test project or that I would be given this little “Tool” they keep talking about but have still not released. I just have to go along with it because they say so. Not so fast! I actually used my Twitter to ask good ole Alex Dudley from TWC just when these little “tools” will be imposed on us and how could we verify that they are Accurate? Mr. Dudley ducked the latter part of the question but simply said this, “As soon as possible…not sure how it’s an imposition…use it or don’t…your choice.” Gee Alex, thanks. Who needs educating now?

    Call it what you want, it was clearly a statement to hush the masses while they re-group for another attack.

    To Time Warner Cable, I vote NO on your Tier Pricing Plan!

  12. Andrew says:

    Wish I had an alternate Broadband ISP in my area. I also wish I had the funds to start my own Broadband ISP.
    TWC may bring their cap at a later date. I certainly will not pay for it, alternate ISP or not. It is a matter of principle.

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