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Texas Customer Goes to War With Time Warner Cable & AT&T Over Internet Overcharging After Getting Huge Bill

Phillip Dampier June 16, 2009 AT&T, Internet Overcharging, Time Warner Cable 27 Comments
Beaumont & Golden Triangle residents were the first to participate in a Time Warner Cable Internet Overcharging trial

Beaumont & Golden Triangle, Texas residents were the first to face Time Warner Cable Internet Overcharging experiments.

For awhile there, it seemed like nobody in the Golden Triangle on the Gulf Coast of Texas was paying attention to the fact their region was the nation’s guinea pig for Internet Overcharging schemes.  How wrong we were.

Stop the Cap! reader Mark, who lives just north of Beaumont in the city of Silsbee, had been fighting a one man battle against not one, but two providers serving his community of 7,400 — Time Warner Cable and AT&T.  Mark may exemplify the average consumer in the Golden Triangle, unaware that their broadband service had been subjected to Internet Overcharging experiments until the bill arrived in the mail.  Both providers have a track record of not always disclosing such schemes to their customers when trying to sign them up for service in southeastern Texas.

Both providers have used the area for pricing experiments, providing paltry usage allowances and charging steep overlimit fees for exceeding them.

Mark’s problems began when he unknowingly set himself up to be overcharged later.  Originally a Time Warner Cable customer, Mark decided to give AT&T’s Elite DSL package a try, primarily because it was less expensive than Road Runner service and supposedly faster as well.  AT&T claims their Elite DSL service in Silsbee provides up to 6Mbps down/768kbps up speed for $35 a month, compared with Time Warner Cable’s Golden Triangle Road Runner, providing (at the time) 5Mbps down/384kbps up speed for $44.95 a month.

“After DSL was installed, we discovered we were too far from the [phone company facilities] to get Elite speed, and instead of informing us about the problem, they switched us to Basic service speed, which is up to 768kbps down/384kbps up, and never bothered to tell us,” Mark writes.

The bill Stop the Cap! reader Mark received showing $73 in Internet Overcharging penalties

The bill Stop the Cap! reader Mark received showing $73 in Internet Overcharging penalties (click to enlarge)

After Mark’s family felt AT&T was too slow to meet their needs, they ventured back to Time Warner Cable for Road Runner service.  The salesperson offered a “welcome back” discount, and mentioned nothing about the fact Time Warner Cable had implemented an Internet Overcharging scheme on the residents of the Golden Triangle region.  Instead of his old service priced at $44.95 a month for unlimited use, his new standard service was priced at $54.95 a month, and was limited to 20GB of usage per month before a $1/GB overlimit penalty kicked in.

When the first bill arrived showing his family exceeded that amount, it was quite a shock.  In addition to the $54.95 charge for “Roadrunner Residential”, there was a $73.00 fee entitled, “Road Runner Select Plan Additional Usage.”  (They also nickle and dimed him $0.99 for a “Paper Invoice Fee.”)

This was the first time Mark had encountered an “additional usage” overlimit fee, so he called Time Warner Cable to investigate.  Despite what the salesperson had sold him on, and online promotions were still selling to attract new customers, Mark learned for the first time Time Warner Cable changed pricing.  The Golden Triangle Division of Time Warner Cable implemented an Internet Overcharging scheme in June 2008, but only applied it to new customers.  Had Mark never left Time Warner Cable for AT&T, he would have never been an unwilling participant in the experiment to extract an extra $73 from his wallet.

Because he returned to Time Warner Cable after the “experiment” commenced, he was stuck.

Mark was angry.  He contacted the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission to complain about unfair business practices, improper disclosure of the Internet Overcharging scheme, and abusive pricing.

Time Warner Cable's 4/7/09 letter in response to a Better Business Bureau complaint regarding Internet Overcharging schemes implemented in the Golden Triangle, Texas (click to enlarge)

Time Warner Cable's 4/7/09 letter in response to a Better Business Bureau complaint regarding Internet Overcharging schemes implemented in the Golden Triangle, Texas (click to enlarge)

The most productive response came from Time Warner Cable, responding to the BBB complaint Mark had filed.  In addition to giving the standard talking points about Internet Overcharging schemes, Alberto Morales, Southwest Division Customer Advocate for Time Warner Cable, suggested the company would do a better job of training salespeople to disclose “the disclaimer regarding the consumption based billing when processing a new Roadrunner order.”  Morales also issued a one time credit for the $73 in overlimit fees charged to Mark’s account.

Mark recognized the language of the letter for what it was — propaganda from a cable broadband provider looking to cash in at the expense of their customers.  Among the dubious reasons given in the letter:

It’s also recognized that the Internet was not designed to handle the mass amounts of video that are now being consumed, therefore there is a risk that service speeds could slow down dramatically.  Video over the internet is an interesting and growing phenomenon.

So are Internet Overcharging schemes, but few would call them “interesting.”  Using the company’s own logic, Time Warner Cable should not be placing video on their own customer website, much less embark on a grand experiment called TV Everywhere to stream enormous amounts of video at broadband speeds to their customers.  Now that is interesting.  The “Internet brownout” theory of slowdowns and outages can occur when a provider chooses to pocket profits instead of keeping up with required investments to maintain their broadband network.  Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt disputes there is a problem with Time Warner Cable’s network as-is, telling a conference sponsored by Sanford Bernstein in May that, “I’m very comfortable with our plant… I don’t see a need for a massive upgrade.”

By implementing the Roadrunner Select Plan (where a customer can choose the level of speed they desire for their internet use), each level has its own cap of bandwidth consumption allowance per month.

Of course, customers cannot choose the one plan that has been an outstanding success for Time Warner Cable since its inception – the one they have right now (or had in the Golden Triangle prior to the “experiment”), unless they were willing to pony up 300% more for the same level of service, based on the last proposal Time Warner Cable introduced before temporarily “shelving the plan” due to customer outrage.

In the Golden Triangle, the maximum amount of usage was 40GB per month, followed by “the sky is the limit” $1/GB overlimit penalties.

Morales claimed that only “5% of users actually exceed their limit.”  But 100% of the Golden Triangle’s customers were left waiting for the arrival of a “gas gauge” measuring their usage, something they would now be required to check daily if they wanted to be sure not to exceed the paltry level of “bandwidth allowance” they were granted.

Time Warner Cable's follow-up letter of 4/29/09, in response to Mark's complaints that he was never told about the Internet Overcharging plan which subjected him to a 20GB monthly limit and $73 in overlimit penalties. (We assume the June 6, 2009 reference is a typo and should have read 2008) (click to enlarge)

Time Warner Cable's follow-up letter of 4/29/09, in response to Mark's complaints that he was never told about the Internet Overcharging plan which subjected him to a 20GB monthly limit and $73 in overlimit penalties. (We assume the June 6, 2009 reference is a typo and should have read 2008) (click to enlarge)

Mark wasn’t sold by any of the arguments Morales was making.  That’s because he read Time Warner Cable’s own shareholder documents, as he had been accustomed to doing since he bought shares himself.  They told a very different story — one he shared in a letter to Morales:

“In 2007, Time Warner made $3,730 million dollars on high speed data alone, and then had to turn around and spend $164 million to support the cost of the network,” Mark writes. “In 2007, total profit on high speed data was $3.566 BILLION dollars.”

He adds, “in 2008, Time Warner made $4,159 million dollars on high speed data alone, and then spent just $146 million to support the cost of the network, a decline from the year past.  Total profit in 2008 on high speed data: $4.013 BILLION dollars.”

Mark realized “it cost Time Warner 11% less money to keep their network running in 2008 than in 2007.”

He also knew Time Warner Cable’s experiment in his city was done where the only alternative was his AT&T DSL service, which hardly offered comparable competition.

In a follow-up letter responding to Mark in late April (after the four city experiment was shelved), Time Warner Cable made it very clear their position was firmly planted in the ground:

“There are no plans to deviate from the consumption based billing plan.”

The company also elected to blame the customer for not understanding that an Internet Overcharging scheme had been introduced in the first place.

“When a customer goes online at www.roadrunneroffers.com, a disclaimer appears on the page with the first sentence including the following, “Subject to change without notice.  Some restrictions may apply.  Installation fees may apply.” This information is in view for anyone to read before proceeding with an order entry.

The fact this kind of disclaimer is, in the company’s view, sufficient notice for implementing Internet Overcharging schemes, is hardly adequate.

“We eventually dropped them again,” Mark writes. “We thought a usable slower Internet was better than a faster one we were not going to use.”

Mark realized Time Warner Cable’s business practices and models aren’t a good fit for the way he feels companies should treat their customers, and he dumped his Time Warner Cable stock and did what so many customers have also chosen to do: use the one word Time Warner Cable did seem to understand during their Internet Overcharging experiment:  C A N C E L.

As long as broadband providers continue to believe that Internet Overcharging schemes are the best way to protect their business models and leverage even more profits from their broadband division, action on every front, from legislative to direct consumer protest and refusal to do business with such companies remain the best course of action.

Stop the Cap! will continue to help deliver that action, along with a consumer education campaign that doesn’t require focus group testing to sell, because it’s based on common sense and not dollars.

Still to Come: Mark takes his battle to AT&T and gets an upper level AT&T retention agent to mark his account “exempt” from Internet Overcharging fees and penalties.  Perhaps you can, too!

Currently there are 27 comments on this Article:

  1. jr says:

    Kudos to Mark for fighting back against the corporate thugs

  2. BrionS says:

    Way to go Mark! The only way to get the message across to Time Warner (and others) is to reduce or eliminate their revenue from the products they wish to unreasonably shackle.

    It certainly is doublespeak for TWC (or any other ISP) to say large downloaders and video are the problem from one side of their mouth and then offer downloadable on-demand video services and have 3-minute flash movies touting how much better their service is.

    Let’s see…. short intro flash movie is probably about 5 MB of data. Each visitor to the site who watches the entire thing has downloaded 5 MB of data (of video content!!). Now multiply that by 100,000 visitors (or more) per month and you wind up in the range of 500,000 MB or 500 GB of data transferred. That’s the size of about 100 Netflix movies — you know, the kind that are killing the Internet — how many people do you know that watch 100 movies a month online? If they do this all year long they’re clogging the Internet with the same video they’re blaming for the shortage (about 6 TB of video over a year).

    If you’re blaming an ice age for the cold weather, maybe trying to sell me on the virtues of a freezer is the wrong approach.

    • Smith6612 says:

      Considering that this topic is on data usage, may I just point out that within the last 3 and a half hours, my PC has transferred 1.56GB of data from/to the internet, and this is from video watching, gaming, and some off-site file backups. By the end of tonight I’m sure that I’ll be hitting 6GB of total internet usage for my network, at a minimum. Tiered usage is terrible especially for a family. You never know especially when you have kids in the household, who have their game consoles, PCs, handhelds, etc how much they’re going to use, and even so they should not be restricted on how much to use just because of tiered usage, nor should anyone.

  3. [email protected] says:

    TWC has this regarding caps on their FAQ:

    What is Time Warner Cable doing?
    We don’t have any specific plans at this point other than to begin a conversation with customers and other people who have an interest in this. As we move along we will be very open and transparent about any future plans that might develop as a result.

    link here:

    open and transparent??? I think it is time to push for some regulation/bill to stop the crap before they implement it somewhere else…

  4. Greg says:

    kudos to Phillip – this is exactly the type of PROOF we need to fight the companies who are or plan to implement “Internet Overcharging Schemes”. The average public needs these types of stories to understand what is at stake.


  5. Tim says:

    But, but, but TWC says that it is cheaper to go with cap plan! LOL, I can sympathize with this guy. I am glad he dropped TWC like a bad habit. I would go for the lower speed connection with unlimited over caps any day. Good for this guy! Now AT&T needs to get off their dead ass and start offering Uverse in that area. That would get TWC to drop those caps.

  6. waiting and watching says:

    ISPs are the entire music industry price fixing CD’s, cassettes, etc all over again. That one took a class-action lawsuit to fix. Is that what it is going to take to put internet provides in line as well? Then after that we must go after the electric companies for those stuck in monopolized areas with no other choices?

  7. Uncle Ken says:

    Electric companies are another story. Here we have coal, nuke, hydro, wind mill, and a small amount of solar but it is all mixed into a pot called the grid. Electric companies buy from the grid. They could be forced to offer a fixed or variable plan but nothing else unless you want 5 different power lines with 5 meters and a very complex system to level out all the lines as no single source can provide all the power needed all the time. No one is going to string 5 sets of power lines when one does the job to your house. The same can not be said of cell phones or the internet. Those are in a very controlled environment and can be accounted for even as one wire still connects to your house. New laws can control THAT environment. It is the only way. Music? There are other options and they know it.

  8. UNCLE ME says:

    This guy used 90 GB!!! Oh my god! What are you doing. Most websites do not even see that much traffic. Maybe try using the internet for what it is supposed to do send e-mails and surf the net. It is this type of use that bogs up the net for the rest of us.

    • Brion says:

      Absolutely, the Internet is only supposed to be used for email and static web pages… in 1995!

      Here’s a Moment Of Shocking Fact: using Netflix to stream 8 movies a month, watching 3 one-hour TV shows in HD online a month, and downloading a single Linux ISO (CD image) will eat up 43.7 GB for that month (and that’s if you do absolutely nothing else).

      In today’s metropolitan areas, and sometimes in less metro areas, we have high-speed Internet access that provides us opportunities to do things online we could never have done in any reasonable amount of time over a dial-up connection.

      90 GB is a fair amount of use that’s true, but far from excessive especially as connection speeds increase and we can consume more information faster. It’s not uncommon for many Internet users today to have multiple browser windows or tabs open with 15 different pages, some of which have streaming video on them or streaming music from an Internet radio station while they download software updates, games, music, or other content in the background. Additionally, online gaming through a console system like the XBox 360, Wii and PS3 can use up a considerable amount of data depending on the game and how much online play occurs.

      Use by one person alone does not bog up the network because they’ll be limited to the network’s maximum speed. Use of the network my more people than the network can handle is what “bogs it up” for you. Blame the maintainers of the network for critically overselling their bandwidth. Blame them for refusing to spend a relatively small amount of money (taken from their profits *gasp*) to upgrade the network technology to better manage traffic and further reduce the cost of maintenance of the network.

      You, sir are blaming the wrong man.

    • Mark says:

      I committed the “sin” of letting the kids and grandkids watch netflix videos off the internet. I also up/download astro pics. I just downloaded a 700mb hubble pic. Hey I dropped my bandwidth hogging internet phone that TW pushes.

    • BrionS says:

      Just to give you a little more perspective on what web sites see in traffic today (popular ones at least) check out YouTube — (estimated) 25 Petabytes / month ( http://willy.boerland.com/myblog/youtube_bandwidth_usage_25_petabytes_per_month )

      Other sites such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, eBay, Amazon, Microsoft don’t disclose their bandwidth usage and it’s hard to guess, but you can be assured that it dwarfs 90 GB / month.

      Here’s a graph to demonstrate the impact of Google services being down for 2 hours can have on Internet bandwidth usage – http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/05/when-google-goes-down-it-goes-down-hard/

    • Tim says:

      Guess you didn’t see the video of the guy saying the average gamer used 60GB/month just to game? Add in other types of internet activities and you could easily reach that 90GB. Personally, I could blow 90GB, if I wanted to, in a few days. Trust me, 90GB, isn’t going to be a lot with online video streaming. Once it starts really kicking in as a viable competitor, you will see 90GB all the time.

    • Smith6612 says:

      I suppose I’m naughty then because I’ve been using roughly 250-400GB the last few months total throughout my network from gaming, HD video uploads, tons of beta testing (operating systems, games, etc soon to probably be adding OnLive to the beta testing soon), patches, HD video streaming, you name it, with some light torrenting/seeding to help with the distribution of the new Ubuntu/Fedora/other Linux ISOs from time to time during release weekend, which I use 90% of my upload.

      And as an FYI: Netflix HD burns up bandwidth like crazy. It can peg a 15Mbps cable connection for at least an hour depending on the size of the movie, which would turn out to be 6.4GB per hour. Gaming can burn up a lot as well. Just stick me on a 32 player Valve Source server for a few hours and I would have chewed through at least 200MB.

      EDIT: And yes from time to time I download those 1GB big Hubble space telescope pictures. It’s always cool to see those spanned across my two 30″ monitors and look at them.

      The internet itself is symmetrical (at backbones, not last mile many times) in many cases, very redundant and is constantly being upgraded. As per the last mile, that’s where all of the problem start, which is why FTTHome is needed or technology upgrades are needed on a regular basis. Sure, it can be an expense but companies can find ways to come up with that money without getting government money or nickel and diming everyone. The way I see it, just as long as my ISPs are not having capacity problems all the time from me even after upgrading equipment, I should continue to use what is an unlimited resource, bandwidth, while I pay for what speed I get. Want to put caps on me? Sure, just give me a 1TB cap as well as an unthrottled OC-48 line (Read: 2.4Gbps symmetrical) with a Cisco router and fiber cards and let me pay $80 a month for it with 1 dollar per 10GB overages and I’ll gladly take it.

  9. UNCLE ME says:

    Why would anyone want to watch TV on a little computer with the computer fan running in the background. That is what my BIG massive HDTV is for. To each their own I guess. Just seems silly that a little network (so it was visioned) is used for watching tv and movies? HUH?

    • Smith6612 says:

      I personally prefer the quality of my PC’s two 30″ LCD screens over a 1080p HDTV any day, along with watching HD and even SD content on them. With both of the screens running at 2560×1600 via DVI and them having a very small pixel per inch count, things look better in my opinion. Now, as per the PC noise, unless you’re running tons of small fans on your PC at full speed or you’ve got something that is old, the PC should run very quiet. My gaming PC that I built myself is right now happily running with the fans at 20% speed, with three video cards and the processor running at 68-72 Fahrenheit with water cooling, chewing up just under 100 watts. You can barely hear it. Sure, when I’m gaming or running [email protected] (which I’ll be starting back up shortly), the fans will speed up a little and the power usage will spike up to a huge amount, but because the fans I have in there are huge, they will run quiet even at 50% speed which they’re rarely ever at.

      So I suppose the answer to this is more on personal preference than which is the more dominant technology.

      EDIT: May I also mention, the telephone system used to be a “small” network itself, back when they had the times with the operators and party lines that were shared across several homes. Ultimately due to demand and how times changed, the telephone companies built up bigger, better networks that individually service homes with their own phone line or two (even more?) and capacity to handle the calls was increased, not to mention the efficiency of it was increased. The internet is the same way. What used to be ran by dial-up modems and T1 lines with maybe a fiber backhaul in which everyone wound up having fairly limited access to, is now something that everyone (or almost everyone) can get in a large abundance with fiber lines, DSL lines and cable lines (and satellite/wireless if you want to count that). Times change, demand increases, and new things come into play. How about your HDTV? Simply said, radio came first, then came black and white TV via over the air, then came color TVs and the standard cable system, then came satellite and digital cable/TV, HDTV came into play, then IPTV came into play and so on and so fourth. If technology remained small, you wouldn’t be enjoying internet/phone calls/your HDTV like you would be today. You’d still be waiting for your neighbors to get off of the phone in order to make a call, you’d still be dealing with operators, listening to radio or watching sports games or whatever there is on TV in black and white or in SD quality, and you’d still be viewing text only pages with a basic image. This change in time is all thanks to people not being stuck up, wanting to be innovative, and risking a lot of money at times to accomplish this.

      On the subject of caps, those are not innovative at all. It was already tried back in the AOL days and people hated it. Broadband came along thanks to the Telcos and cablecos to people when it was much slower but unlimited, and that was the new innovative thing and look where it’s gone now (and of course look at AOL now).

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      That is why I stream netflix through my xbox connect to my TV. There are also a lot of people that have DirectTV. DirectTV on demand uses a broadband connection. You can also connect a computer to your TV to stream to the TV and record.

      After all, these days, everything is a computer. Your cable TV box is a computer that runs specialized software.

      Just becuase you are viewing stuff through a computer, does not neccessarily mean we are not using our HD TVs to the fullest, after all, it is just another monitor to the computer.

    • We have a 50″ plasma television here with a robust cable TV package from Time Warner Cable. Hell, our bill is $175 a month so nobody can claim I don’t pay my fair share already! Most of the time, I’m in my office in the back room here and I don’t watch much television.

      I am too busy writing content for here.

      I have a Slingbox in the basement also connected to cable, which I use mostly to stream cable to the computer over my home network. It doesn’t consume any Road Runner bandwidth at all — it just makes it easier to have a news channel on in the upper corner of my 26″ monitor.

      What is changing these days is that what used to be the computer monitor can now be the TV and vice versa. I can browse YouTube videos and watch them on the 50″ plasma TV because of our Apple TV box. I can also catch a show I missed over Hulu if I wanted to back here.

      I remember when our family first got cable TV in 1982. Nobody envisioned a 500 channel universe of TV channels back then either. We had 36 channels from People’s Cable which served suburban Rochester. The cable box had a row of buttons and a rocker switch to flip between a top row of channels, and a bottom row. It had a 10-15′ wire attached to it so you could set it by your chair.

      That was a lot of television. Who would have thought we’d need more than that many channels. But over the years, things changed and the cable company changed with it. More channel capacity meant more revenue, so they upgraded. First we could get up to around 50 channels, then up to 78, and then they started offering digital cable, which meant getting used to channels numbers in the 100s on up. Now we also have HD channels, on demand channels, telephone service, and broadband Internet over one coaxial cable.

      The same kind of evolution is happening in broadband. Time Warner Cable is participating in that evolution, and they intend to be one of the providers of TV shows down that broadband line themselves. Providers argue that delivering on demand online video is inefficient when compared to mass delivery of television channels. Of course, that’s because they designed their network so that more than 90% of their capacity is used to deliver those television channels, and only a small amount of it is designed for moving broadband data.

      Could we reach the day where television programming is delivered on demand to consumers primarily over “IP” networks? Perhaps, and TWC is not about to be left behind. They are already using Switched Digital Video which delivers some digital channels to neighborhoods only when someone in that neighborhood is watching. At other times, that bandwidth can be used for something else.

      Just because we may reach the day when 90% of the capacity of that coaxial cable is used to deliver video and data, with the remaining 10% for a few analog TV channels for people who just want a few local channels, doesn’t mean that is crazy talk.

      It just means that we live in a changing society, and networks can and do change with us to meet our needs. The key here is to ensure that those people delivering those changes don’t exploit their status and charge outrageous fees to obtain access to that change, especially in places where equivalent competitors simply don’t exist.

    • Mark says:

      “Why would anyone want to watch TV on a little computer with the computer fan running in the background. That is what my BIG massive HDTV is for. To each their own I guess. Just seems silly that a little network (so it was visioned) is used for watching tv and movies? HUH?”

      I guess that was my problem. I hooked a computer to our 55″ 1080p plasma and the kids were at the house all of spring break. Two movie watchers and two online gamers. The little network was fine on dialup for us. The little network became Big and is used for a lot more. Try worldwide telescope to get a rough idea of what is coming and why it needs to be available to all without caps.

    • BrionS says:

      Over the years I’ve managed to design and build a silent PC that I can use in the living room and attach to my HDTV. In fact, the PC itself looks just like a stereo component other than the fact it has a DVD-ROM tray (it even has a volume knob).

      In reality I don’t do a lot of TV streaming on it, I have an OTA HD tuner card that gets my TV from the broadcast digital HD signals. However I do rip my DVD movies to my network and play them back from the computer. The benefits are not having to fiddle with DVDs, it skips all the menus and commercials, and there’s no pause (however slight) between layers of the DVD – just continuous playback with full 5.1 surround sound.

      Gone are the days of a big, clunky, noisy computer being the most common. I see small audible (but I wouldn’t say noisy) computers as being common, but there are plenty of small form factor (SFF) computers that are designed to be unobtrusive and quiet – Mac Mini is a perfect example.

      In case you’re wondering when I say “silent” I mean “can’t hear it under normal conditions.” There is only one fan in the unit – a 120mm fan running at something close to 1000 RPM (which is quite slow). The rest of computer uses only heat sinks and the air flow of that one fan to keep things cool. If I replaced the hard drive (only used to boot) with a flash drive or solid state disk (SSD) then it would be even quieter. As it is now, the clock on the wall across the room makes more noise than my computer in an otherwise silent room.

  10. UNCLE ME says:

    I guess to each their own. I will stick with my BIG screen TV and the convenience of watching TV on a comfy couch without custom building anything and worrying about two way cable card crap or anything. You stick to what you want and I will stick with what I want. But it is still my opinion that caps will happen in some shape or form. Did everyone think they could just use 100’s of GB’s per month for nothing? If the caps don’t happen then the raising of monthly pricing will continue with all ISP’s. Pick your poison I guess.

    • BrionS says:

      You’re probably sick of my posts by now and I don’t blame you, I’ve been rather rude – sorry.

      But I’d strongly encourage you to read my comment on another article here that attempts to describe why caps won’t do anything for anyone but Time Warner. (Warning: it’s long!) http://stopthecap.com/2009/06/18/on-sock-puppets-industry-hacks-reactions-to-rep-eric-massas-legislation-predictable-transparent/comment-page-1/#comment-4795

      The short-short version:
      1. low-volume users get degraded speed if they choose the cheapest plan (ostensibly to save money)
      2. normal users who don’t change rates get slapped with overage charges if they wander beyond their cap (which is actually quite easy to do given these caps)
      3. “power” users will pay more to prevent overage fees but may still end up going over once in a while
      4. “heavy” users (the constantly-downloading types) will pay about 3 times what they do now but still not have unfettered access

      **Moral of the story**: power and heavy users are the people who drive innovation, not light users. Light users are NOT subsidizing anyone, it’s the other way around. If there were no heavy users Time Warner would be hard-pressed to make a profit charging access at (or reasonably above) cost.

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      “Did everyone think they could just use 100’s of GB’s per month for nothing?”

      In a nutshell? No, I expect to pay my $59.99 a month bill and get it like I do now. I can assume that is almost $15 a month more than most people spend on their RR a month. I expect to keep doing the things that I have been doing for 10 years on the internet.

      In last 10 years, my monthly roadrunner bill has not gone up, except when I added turbo on my own. In those 10 years, my level of service dropped for almost 1/2 of that time all the way down to 2 or 3 Mb at one point until Frontier came out with DSL.

      Make no mistake about it, Frontier drove TW to increase their speed back to what it was when it originally came out.

      As I have said before, I would have supported a $10 a month price hike for the same service. The problem with that is TW probably thinks that they will see that as less money, as more people might switch to the slower connection and save money that way.

      How much data you download is a poor method of billing on the internet. It is wrought with problems, but those problems let TW get more cash in overages.

      As I have said before, there is no reason to build anything to get things on your TV, on the couch with a regular remote. Xbox does this all integrated nicely. DirectTV supports it as well and a whole ton of other devices from portable device like IPODs and IPhones to AppleTV and others.

  11. uskaggs says:

    I’m glad Beaumont is getting some attention now. I am also a Golden Triangle resident and I’ve had to deal with the threat of caps since July of last year. Since I stayed on top of this issue since the very first announcement, I got my new RR subscription for my new home just in the nick of time, just 2 days before the caps were put in place. I’m sure many thousands of people like the man in this story are having a terrible time dealing with this mess and being unprepared.

    I’ve been bugging AlexTWC on twitter and stonewalled a bit, but he I finally got him to admit this:

    “The trial in Beaumont will be put on hold too. Sorry, figured you’d
    already heard.
    Alex Dudley / AlexTWC”

    Now the real question: is he lying? I really hope its true. I’m not on a capped plan but would someone in the GT area like to comment on whether they were notified of any changes to billing?

  12. Mark says:

    I just recieved a letter from TWC. They state they are preparing a reply to my complaint with the FCC. They have been contacted by the FCC and reply to the complaint both to thyem and me. When/if I get the response I will send it to Phillip. have not heard from the FTC yet.

  13. Uncle Ken says:

    Mark Yes the best place to send it is to Phil. He is real good at these things

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