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Comcast Applauds Time Warner for Trying Usage Billing; Not Brave Enough to Try Themselves

Phillip Dampier February 29, 2012 Comcast/Xfinity, Consumer News, Internet Overcharging, Time Warner Cable 4 Comments

Angelakis

Comcast says it admires Time Warner Cable for risking subscriber wrath over plans to introduce usage-based billing Time Warner says will be optional for customers in southern Texas.  But Comcast admits it is not brave enough to try similar pricing schemes themselves, fearing a customer backlash.

“We have a very high customer satisfaction rating and we don’t really want to rock the boat on [our broadband product],” Comcast chief financial officer Michael Angelakis told an audience Tuesday at a Wall Street bank-sponsored media and telecom conference in San Francisco. “I give them credit for trying different things, [but] we have real momentum in that business and the goal is to keep it.”

Comcast was a spectator of the consumer and political backlash against Time Warner Cable when it last experimented with usage pricing in April 2009.  Within two weeks, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt shelved the plan under pressure from both customers and lawmakers.

Now Time Warner Cable wants to reintroduce the concept as an option for customers of a new “Internet Essentials” discounted broadband tier that would include a $5 monthly discount if customers kept usage under 5GB per month.

Some veterans of the 2009 battle suspect Time Warner is trying to slowly slip usage pricing past customers waiting to fight its return by first suggesting it is only an option, but later herding broadband customers into usage based plans by substantially raising the price of flat rate service.

“Looks like a trial run the company could easily expand to all of their Internet customers,” shares Stop the Cap! reader Jeff in San Antonio, Tex., one of the cities that will participate in the upcoming usage-based plan. “I have a hard time believing Time Warner is going through all the effort developing usage meters and billing support for usage pricing just to market a handful of customers a $5 discount.”

Jeff, who helped fend off the cable company’s original Internet Overcharging experiment in 2009, suspects Time Warner’s earlier attempt to market a “flat rate” broadband option at $150 a month could still be a blueprint for how the company could push customers out of their unlimited plans.

“They can claim they want to keep unlimited Internet, but have remained silent about how much they will charge for it,” Jeff says. “We need something in writing that this company will not gouge customers with the fine print going forward.”

Stop the Cap! posed several similar questions to Time Warner Cable’s Jeff Simmermon, director of digital communications, through the cable company’s blog.  The company, to date, has offered no response.

Currently there are 4 comments on this Article:

  1. jr says:

    Glenn Britt made over 17.4 million in 2010 and Randians pretend he’s eating ramen noodles next to a space heater every night

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  • David Therchik: An intense investigation needs to put into this! As soon as one starts I bet they'll stop charging/cheating people from over usage. Before they bought...
  • Charles Bingham: I did but customer no service was no help - said it did no good to have pass word with symbols, cap and small letters and #'s. IF only I had an alte...
  • Phillip Dampier: That assumes this customer had access to a working usage meter and notification messages and ignored them. Evidently it was big enough of a problem fo...
  • Are you kidding me...: "Over the years" people are using the internet differently. If your bill went up, you have usage. Responsible would be calling and talking to them ab...
  • Charles Bingham: Actually my usage has decreased over the years as I sold my business and only kept the internet for a few tax returns that I still do, no employees no...
  • Are you kidding me...: This entire article reeks of "poor me, I'm a victim and I can't be responsible about my own Internet usage, my own bills or my own actions." Grow up....
  • a gci customer: even with the new plans, you are still data capped, they just speed rate you at that point vs charging you for overages. You are given the ability t...
  • random-gci-customer: How do you think their Senior Vice President of Consumer services funds his opulent exotic car collection??? https://www.dropbox.com/s/uj7yh1r7hcfc03...
  • whyatt: Well this is what I know. There are 4 internet plans called r:10 r:50 r:100 and RED. And these plans are cheaper than the old plans. Those old plans u...
  • oobovigif: Well I guess they don't want the Tax Breaks anymore either. They just need to seriously Stop with all this BS about lack of Spectrum. They have Plenty...
  • Charles Bingham: Our office's bill has run around 69-70 dollars per month for years, we recently were charged $600 for overages, which no one can explain....
  • Frank: http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov/eservices/?x=LiAWixBRFXgASCva78TP8tyxxz9FDyOInBEO6Vhs*oeKrNSUEuntXI93HZMTvVCKpCvwGdrTi4*WQ32g9zkhdg Here is a li...

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