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Road Runner Focus Group Testing Higher Speed Tier Names/Pricing?

Phillip Dampier August 5, 2009 Time Warner Cable 14 Comments

A Broadband Reports reader from Zephyrhills, Florida was invited by E-Rewards, an online focus group, to give views on some new names and pricing for higher speed Road Runner tiers.  “Molitar,” a customer of Bright House Networks, which also markets broadband service under the Road Runner name, reports being asked impressions about new speed tiers, including faster downstream speeds of 30Mbps or more and one offering 5Mbps upload speed.

At least five different names were offered, with consumers invited to give their impressions.  Among the names: Road Runner Flash, Road Runner Extreme,  and Road Runner Lightning. “Molitar” preferred Road Runner Extreme.

Also asked: what kind of pricing customers would be willing to pay for the new premium speed services.

Assuming the facts were as the reader reported, this would likely impact residents in New York City first, where DOCSIS 3 upgrades are well underway. As upgrades begin in other cities, presumably such speed tiers would also be introduced. Those reported speeds would not likely be offered in areas where upgrades have not taken place.

Time Warner Cable has been one of the more stingy providers with upstream speeds. Many cities, including Rochester, New York have never seen a speed increase for standard Road Runner service since the product was introduced more than 10 years ago. At just 384kbps, uploading large files has been painfully slow. Road Runner Turbo, a $9.95 monthly add-on, is coveted for uploaders if only for the increase in upstream speed to 1Mbps, at least in Rochester. But many other Time Warner Cable markets offer Turbo upload speeds of 2Mbps.

Roscoe P. Coltrane and "Flash"

Roscoe P. Coltrane and "Flash"

Speed based tier pricing is welcomed by Stop the Cap! We are supporters of providing customers with the choice of different pricing levels of service based on different speeds. “Heavy downloaders” and other “extreme” users of broadband service will gladly pay premium pricing for better service, providing enhanced revenue for operators like Time Warner Cable and bringing positive goodwill from customers who are anxious to see speed increases and are willing to pay to get them.

What we oppose, of course, is Time Warner Cable introducing consumption-based billing which curtails innovation, punishes subscribers for using the service as it was marketed to them in the first place, and sets up scenarios for massive profit-taking from consumers subjected to overlimit fees and penalties.

Time Warner Cable’s latest investor conference call featured company executives touting their initiative to give Time Warner customers access to as much content as they want, when they want, and where they want to see it. If they intend to honor that commitment, punitive consumption-based pricing denies customers the ability to access as much content as they want, makes them think twice about getting it out of fear of running over their “allowance,” and will drive customers to look elsewhere for broadband service, if not also taking their video and telephone business to another provider as well.

As for me personally, I’m not thrilled with any of those product names. Road Runner “Flash” does nothing for me at all, except reminisce about Roscoe P. Coltrane’s lazy basset hound with that name from the TV series Dukes of Hazzard (Friday night in our household growing up didn’t provide me with remote control privileges). Road Runner “Extreme” is already overused as a concept, and I frankly thought it was already in use. Road Runner “Lightning” reminds me of Frontier Communications’ older name for DSL service: Lightning Link.

I suppose Road Runner Max might be better, perhaps supplemented with the download speed as a suffix. Road Runner Max 30 for 30Mbps downloading, and so on.

Share your ideas in the comments section. Maybe we’ll offer it to them if they promise to honor the fact gas gauges belong on automobiles, not on broadband service.


Currently there are 14 comments on this Article:

  1. preventCAPS says:

    I’ve got a name suggestion…

    Road Runner LegitimateFast DIOSIS 3.0 Speeds with NO useage caps and consumption based billing!

    • :-)

      Seriously, I’m ready to happily pony up more $$$ for faster upload speed right this moment. I agree with others though. The moment Internet Overcharging caps/limits/consumption billing is part of the equation, it’s like multiplying anything by zero, which is how much money they’ll get from me the moment that happens.

      • Smith6612 says:

        Phil, you don’t want to divide by 0 or else…

        This happens! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DFed7jG3i8
        :D :P

        But I have no problem myself getting faster uploads here and paying a bit more. Only thing is, for what I can get here, I get a terrible download/upload ratio (15Mbps/2Mbps from Roadrunner or 3-5Mbps Download/768kbps from Verizon, or at the moment at my current 3Mbps/384kbps from Frontier or 6Mbps/768kbps from Frontier on business DSL). For the cost of it, it’s not worth it. That’s why I’m not upgrading the lines anymore unless it’s something that is free until FiOS rolls around. Of course I’m limited by the technology of G.DMT (ADSL) ADSL Technology, though with ADSL2+ in Annex. G or higher I should be able to go right over the 1Mbps barrier on both lines for upload. Heck right now I have a video waiting to be uploaded of some camera shots of the sky during the night here of the stars and the wild thunderstorms that came through the area last night. Fully uncompressed 12M. Pixel photos in RAW12 format, packed into a video running at the original resolution of the photos in the H.264 codec, at 30Mbps. The file is pretty big.

  2. Oscar@SA says:

    I’m willing to shell out another $10 for “extreme”.. I already pay an extra $10 for turbo… but it better come with no caps…

    • Uncle Ken says:

      Oscar: I don’t think you going to see Docsis speeds for an extra $10. From
      the many topics and comments here to just looking at it myself It usually
      starts at the $100+ range and goes up from there. Turbo is a hit for those
      that need or think they need that little something extra. To me it would be
      mostly useless. I can wait for something to load in either direction. If fiber
      ever did come here im betting my bill would at least double. Then it would
      come down to who caps and who does not. I still would have to take a hard
      look at higher prices.

  3. Earl Cooley III says:

    “Road Runner Executive Summer Home”, “Road Runner Executive Yacht”, “Road Runner Executive Golden Parachute”, “Road Runner Executive Legal Defense Fund”. These are some good tier names.

  4. Resla says:

    I don’t care what label they put on it… I don’t want to buy any internet service from Bright House Cable. Their customer service is notoriously bad and I don’t trust their quoted speeds as being reliable.

    • Clif says:

      Earl is on point, Haha! I would have to agree that bright house is a shitty isp. Ever since we lost TW here in florida, its gotten worse and worse. You couldnt imagine how long it takes to upload a 10 gig file at 65kb max upload speed. Birght House Sucks!

  5. RoadRunner Pro says:

    The download and upload speed is the thing that matters. Others doesn’t actually.

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