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Group Project: Let’s Rebut The Latest from Time Warner

Phillip Dampier April 6, 2009 Issues 53 Comments

Here’s a project everyone can work on tonight.  Place your rebuttals in the Comments section and I’ll compile them along with my own thoughts later this evening and we’ll have something everyone can fire off to Mr. Simmermon.  By the way, in case you were wondering, color me unconvinced.  Hat tip to a friendly Time Warner employee who passed this along to StoptheCap!

Statement From Time Warner Cable’s Chief Operations Officer on Tiered Broadband Trials

Time Warner Cable customers,

We have heard a lot of feedback and commentary about our upcoming expanded consumption-based billing trials in Texas, North Carolina and New York state. Some accounts have even characterized our plans as punitive. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We continue to make improvements to the infrastructure which will allow us to offer the following new services in the tiered broadband test markets:

1) Wideband service (DOCSIS 3.0) — speeds up to 100mbps, as available

2) Higher speeds for existing standard and turbo services

3) Powerboost to all standard customers

With regard to consumption-based billing, we have determined that as broadband usage and penetration grow, there are increasing differences in the amount of bandwidth our customers consume. Our current pricing plans require all users to pay the same amount, whether they check email once a month or download six movies a day. As the amount of usage has dramatically diverged among users, this is becoming inherently unfair and not the way most consumers want to pay for goods they consume.

When you go to lunch with a friend, do you split the bill in half if he gets the steak and you have a salad?

However, we are not conducting these tests in a vacuum. We have heard customer feedback, and understand that a 40 GB tier seems low to heavy Internet users.

We are developing a “super – tier” now that allows for up to 100 GB of broadband usage per month in all of our test markets. We haven’t confirmed pricing details as of this moment, but you have my word as Chief Operating Officer of Time Warner Cable that we will make this tier available to our customers.

We’re also providing a “gas gauge” tool to our customers so they can see how much bandwidth they’re using as they go along, and to make it easier for them to move to the tiers that best serve their needs.

Please bear in mind that this is still a test. We are approaching this as a test because broadband consumption and the internet itself continue to evolve rapidly and in ways no one can foresee. As we continue to hear from our customers — and as broadband consumption continues to change — we will adjust our tiers to make sure that we offer something for every family. We want to allow households to pick the data plan that works the best for them.

Furthermore, I am convening a series of meetings this week to develop plans that will allow customers to choose among tiers that provide tradeoffs between speed and consumption. If one family prefers to have lower download speeds but a higher data tier, or vice-versa, we want them to be able to make that choice.

We’d like to make enough speed and data tiers available so that it’s possible for customers to reduce their monthly Internet bill based on the choices they make. Obviously this is still in the planning stages and details are fuzzy, but this is a priority for me this week.

I think that such pricing options are not only fair, but also will actually encourage more use of broadband overall.

Your feedback is important to us during these tests, too. We encourage you to email your reactions and comments to us at [[email protected] ].

We can’t respond to everyone individually, but we will review your thoughts and comments internally and use them to try to improve our services and options going forward.

Again, thank you for your comments and input. We hope this helps to explain why we think testing new pricing models that give people greater choices and control over how much they pay for internet service is a positive development for our customers.

Landel Hobbs
Chief Operating Officer
Time Warner Cable

For questions, contact:

Jeff Simmermon
Director, Digital Communications
Time Warner Cable
[email protected]
Twitter: jeffTWC


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Craig
Craig
13 years ago

-I called TWC today, and I asked them if they were going to upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 and the guy told me he had No idea. – These guys fail to realize that increased speed without the capacity is next to useless. Not to mention that the price for 100G is probably going to be astronomical. – That lunch analogy is also equally retarded, If you go into a all you can eat Chinese buffet do you get pissed cause the guy next to you took some more fried rice then you do? or do you realize that you could… Read more »

Andrew Soroka
Andrew Soroka
13 years ago
Reply to  Craig

Actually building off your chinese buffet analogy, it’s like this: Road Runner was an all you can eat buffet. Now the same amount of food is in front of you but every piece of food will cost you.

Has anyone but myself filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office?

Besides cancelling service(which I plan to do) what else can we do? Is there anyone else that can help us in this fight?

John
John
13 years ago

“We’d like to make enough speed and data tiers available so that it’s possible for customers to reduce their monthly Internet bill based on the choices they make.” If the true purpose of this tiered system to offer customers opportunities to lower their Internet bill I’ve got news for TWC. The only tier with offers any saving to any TWC customer is the 5GB cap which has a suggested price of $30/month. Anyone using TWC in the Rochester is either paying $35 or $40/month, which means to reap any savings you must sign up the the 5GB transfer cap, which… Read more »

Andrew Soroka
Andrew Soroka
13 years ago
Reply to  John

Time Warner is not in the business of saving people money. They are not doing this tier program as some sort of altruistic notion to save people money.

This is a scam to make more money. Shame on you Time Warner for picking on the little guy during economic downtimes. Shame on you for picking on Rochester.

Ryan
Ryan
13 years ago

This list of proposed upgrades (none of which have actually been implemented despite starting this bandwidth capping in other “test” markets) are meaningless with the restrictived and punitive caps. What is the point of faster connection if you aren’t allowed to use it? All that a faster download speed means is that you will hit the cap faster and end up being fined more for using your service. People are going to go over the cap. It’s inevitable. Especially if you make these unlikely and rumored upgrades you continue to cite as the reason for this profit mongering, customer punishing… Read more »

Kelly
Kelly
13 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

I’m really gonna miss my online-only XM radio – guess that will have to be a work-only thing…

Kelly
Kelly
13 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

Saw something on the NBC local news about how the Deaf community needs broadband for video chat. These caps are equivalent to telling us hearing-folk that we can only use a phone for …idk how long is equivalent – a few minutes a day? Point is, this is how a lot of Deaf people are communicating nowadays – they NEED the high-speed connection!

Diane
Diane
13 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Consider not only our Deaf Community here in Rochester but what about our local families that may have a Soldier Serving our Country in Iraq or Afghanistan (or other over sea’s locations) that might use a web cam to communicate when they can? Face it people TWC will pull this off because very simply put, they can and already have. If I understand what I was told by a TWC employee we will have to choose a Tier September 1 and then we will be able to monitor our use. So, I will have to buy a tier I think… Read more »

Christine
Christine
13 years ago
Reply to  Diane

I’ve downloaded NetMeter last Friday, it’s free, and it works great. It tells you how much you’re currently downloading, projections for day, week, and month. I’m keeping a close watch on mine, and as it is, since last Friday, it looks like I will no longer be a Time Warner customer. 😉

Hope that helps!

Wes
Wes
13 years ago

“1) Wideband service (DOCSIS 3.0) — speeds up to 100mbps, as available”

I’m sure that the test areas are not areas they plan to impliment the wideband service.

Wes
Wes
13 years ago
Reply to  Wes

(sorry for the double post, but had more to say)

And it is rediculus that an area with no competition, should have to pay for Time Warner to upgrade it’s network where there is competition.

Kelly
Kelly
13 years ago

What I want to know is … Why are they going to show everyone their “average” usage over the summer? People are on vacation. Outdoors more often. Kids aren’t in school, so they’re not using the internet for homework. TW wants people to get a feel for their usage while they’re using less and choose a plan based on those numbers. (I’m talking more about ‘light/moderate users who think they can fit happily inside one of these cap-levels) Once Fall/Winter hits, all these people are going to get slammed with the overages. More cha-ching for TW! I think that’s an… Read more »

Lee Drake
13 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Yep, it’s like gauging your use of heating oil or natural gas over the summer.

John
John
13 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

They are also likely expecting people’s usage to be lower as there is less streaming of video in the summer when tv shows have gone on summer hiatus. Come fall, oops you the customer are now screwed.

Diane
Diane
13 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

I hear it does not begin until September. Summer is over then.

Kevin
Kevin
13 years ago

“When you go to lunch with a friend, do you split the bill in half if he gets the steak and you have a salad?” No, but that’s because the steak and salad were both priced appropriately. All-you-can-eat, or all-you-can-download pricing, follows a simple structure of averages – larger profits on lighter users balance the lower profits of heavy users. Sure, the family who downloads a lot of HD content may only make a few bucks a month for you. But you’re making money hand over fist off of the customers who “check their email once a month”, as you… Read more »

Ben
Ben
13 years ago

What the heck is the point of having 100Mbps of bandwidth with a 5GB (or even a 40GB) cap? Now I can use my entire month’s Internet ration in seven minutes! Thanks, Time Warner!

Nathan Henderson
13 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Hold on just a second! Once you upgrade to the new 100GB plan, it’ll take a whole 2.28 hours before you start paying $1/GB overage fees!

Look at all the money Time Warner is saving you! Beep Beep! ;p

John
John
13 years ago

They really know how to turbo-CHARGE me for the internet!!! Beep-Beep!!!

Kyle
Kyle
13 years ago

A friend was at my house when I was on the phone with a Time Warner service agent. The agent repeatedly tried to get me to sign up for Turbo. He claimed that it’s so much faster, yet I asked him how it would benefit me when they are going to cap the bandwidth. My friend and I came up with a comparison using cars. Why would I want to purchase a car with a V12 engine if I can only drive it 5 miles per month before having to pay $1 for each extra mile? It’s a very illogical… Read more »

Ben
Ben
13 years ago

“When you go to lunch with a friend, do you split the bill in half if he gets the steak and you have a salad?”

The appropriate response to that is “No, but when you go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, do you expect to be charged extra for seconds?”

Ron Dafoe
Ron Dafoe
13 years ago

If they wanted people to save money, one of their plans would actually save people money. Road Runner Lite is currently $29.99 a month in Rochester (I know they run specials, but that is the posted price last I knew) for unlimited data transfers. Coming out with a limited plan, for the same price does not save people money. The price sensitive people are already paying that amount. Also, please stop saying that other people are subsidizing some people’s internet access. Those customers who want to save money move to the $30 a month plan. Those of us that value… Read more »

vcheng
vcheng
13 years ago

This is my email to [email protected] that I just sent off: Dear Mr. Hobbs: As a loyal customer for 10 years, I read your statement appended below with interest and concern. I will not comment about the fairly childish analogy to splitting the dinner bill with a friend, but I will say that such comments only serve to convey an impression of insulting your tech savvy customers’ intelligence and thus should be best avoided in the future. The bottom line is that anybody’s experience of the internet is bound to be hampered by any sort of metering plan, especially when… Read more »

BrionS
Editor
13 years ago
Reply to  vcheng

The Internet experience is not diminished when you limit based on speed. Indeed, that’s exactly how TWC should be pricing their service and ONLY on that. Don’t care how fast you send your email? Sign up for a 2 or 3Mbps RR connection for $25/mo. Want faster access? Sign up for 15 or 20Mbps RR Turbo for $55/mo. What people are missing is that bandwidth is the primary measure of computer network speed. Imagine if you will a glass of water with straws in it. The glass represents Time Warner’s Internet backbone connection in total available bandwidth (we’ll say 50Gbps)… Read more »

vcheng
vcheng
13 years ago
Reply to  BrionS

“The Internet experience is not diminished when you limit based on speed” Are you kidding me? In that case, instead of telling me RR options, why don’t YOU go back to a 14.4 modem and enjoy a quality internet expereience not affected by speed (NOT!) Please don’t use analogies like straws and water. That is just as bad as Time Warner’s steak and salad analogy: both are stupid and insulting. I know what I want and need in my internet connection, thank you very much. I have set up a meeting in Mr. Massa’s office for this afternoon and will… Read more »

B for Bandwidth
B for Bandwidth
13 years ago

If congestion at peak times is an issue do they plan on offering times when bandwidth services is unlimited, much like cell phone companies do with offering free calls after 9 pm? Meet us half way on this or lose us. It is baffling that in Rochester we only have 2 companies with different technology competing in the wired internet market. An important question that needs to be addressed is if this is due to a lack of other companies being interested in competing or if it is because the city sold exclusive rights barring others from being able to… Read more »

Wes
Wes
13 years ago

Unfortunately they said nothing about implimenting the DOCSIS in the “test cities” (as we have been dubbed). If the issue was that they cannot afford to make the upgrades in my particular area, I would willingly pay a little more to help them pay for it, if it meant my service would return to a cheaper price later. As I said before it is unfair to ask a city who does not have much of an option, to pay for the system upgrades in other cities. This is like having lunch with a friend, splitting the bill for his steak… Read more »

Destroy Time Warner Cable
Destroy Time Warner Cable
13 years ago

>>>>When you go to lunch with a friend, do you split the bill in half if he gets the steak and you have a salad?<<<< That’s the thing — I refuse to go to restaurants that charge me $15.99 for the first ten bites of my meal and then $1 per additional bite. I refuse to go to a restaurant that requires that I continuously check a plodding, inconvenient “gas gauge” to determine how many bites of my steak I’ve already consumed to make sure I don’t go over my ten bite limit. I want “unlimited bites” of my steak.… Read more »

John
John
13 years ago

Guess what you are wasting bandwidth checking your bandwidth usage.

Ben
Ben
13 years ago

I too have been a RR customer for many years, as well as being a ripped off cable customer for many years. For too long now TW has been using every excuse under the sun to increase it’s rates on a yearly basis. Only last year, they were up on Capitol Hill testifying as to why it is simply not feasible to sell al’ la carte programming for it’s cable TV programming, making it more expensive for the consumer if we were allowed to pick only the channels we wanted to watch. Now they are suddenly saying it’s only fair… Read more »

BrionS
Editor
13 years ago

As a comparison, for Comcast service to Beacon St., Pittsburgh, PA you can get 20Mbps down / 4Mbps up with a 250GB cap for $52.95/month. Aside from the cap (which is far more reasonable) that’s a much better deal than TWC has to offer right now.

What is their excuse? The electrons in upstate New York, particularly around Rochester are more expensive so they have to charge us an arm and a leg for a foot?

I call shenanigans and greed!

Bones
Bones
13 years ago

Caps=cancel my account. By the way, why is every major city in New York getting FIOS except Rochester?

B for Bandwidth
B for Bandwidth
13 years ago

As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a ‘categorical pledge’ were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

BrionS
Editor
13 years ago

Mr. Simmermon, Am I to understand Time Warner Cable will be enhancing it’s connection to the backbone to support the additional bandwidth provided and required by wideband Internet (DOCSIS 3.0)? If so, what is to prevent the same congestion of the new 100Mbps tier with more and more demand for continuous, simultaneous bandwidth usage? That is, during peak hours of the day, what is to prevent so-called “super tier” customers from being unable to achieve their full 100Mbps speed? Additionally, isn’t it counter-productive to introduce new much higher speed access tiers when your current high speed access is causing a… Read more »

Shanna
Shanna
13 years ago

This is a study in greed and corruption. I hope Road Runner sees from these “Test” cities that the only thing they are going to get is lost subscriptions. They are not “examining bandwidth usage” nor “developing the right plan for families”, they are ripping people off! It’s all about making more money! And let me tell you, Time Warner has a lot more cash than myself and almost everyone else out there! In this struggling economy, people are staying home and using the Internet as their entertainment. Time Warner is exploiting us! They are using this to their advantage… Read more »

John
John
13 years ago

Here is the text of my response to Mr. Simmermon: Mr. Simmermon, After reflecting on Mr. Hobbs current statement, I do agree with him on one point. “Punitive” is not the appropriate term for Time Warner’s plans for usage based pricing…the word that seems most appropriate is “disingenuous.” Time Warner’s executives and its Public Relations department seem to feel that by using simplistic imagery that it will be easier for your customer’s to digest your plans for draining your customer’s pocketbooks. That the recent news coming from Time Warner is just a misunderstanding by those of us who have decided… Read more »

Shane Deal
Shane Deal
13 years ago

Unlimited is the only one really worth having. No exceptions.

I am seriously peeved and would switch to an unlimited dial-up connection before accepting anything less then completely unlimited internet. It’s that important not to have caps on our internet usage. I would rather have Time Warner announce that they have to switch over to dial-up connections then this ridiculous plan. It is unacceptable. I don’t care if we have to use satellite dishes for our internet connection. I’m not going to accept anything less then unlimited.

J. Vinikoff
J. Vinikoff
13 years ago

This is just more greed from TWC. They can’t learn from the present economic disasters that greed is bad. Their customers have been hammered by constant price increases. People can’t afford to pay more. They’ll start dumping TWC. Hobbs and Simmermon, do you watch or read the news?

TWC is very stingy with bandwidth already. On their cable tv, they give no individual choices of stations, only their chosen packages. I hardly ever watch tv; it’s mostly junk.

Tung Luong
Tung Luong
13 years ago

To whom it may concern, I am a local resident with within the city of Rochester, NY. I have been a Time Warner Cable for almost 8 years. I enjoyed Time Warner service for cable and internet services greatly, however this new tier troubles me. I will soon be working from home where I will be doing a large amount of internet work from home, additionally I enjoy using internet services to watch movies, music and other things. A 40 GB cap is ridiculously low, and to charge 54.99 is absurd, compared to the price that was previously received for… Read more »

Austin
Austin
13 years ago

I live in Austin TX but I’m not worried about it. There are many options here for high band width internet. Austin is the most wired city in the country and also has a high quality wide area Wi Fi network. I get at least three promotion letters and/or e-mails a week trying to get my business. If Time Warner gets out of wack with their prices, we’ll just change providers, not just for Internet but also for cable and telephone.

Stephen
Stephen
13 years ago

It is very interesting that since TWC has made their announcement and the feedback has emerged, there is now a calculated response that contains data that was not mentioned before. Here are comments to this response: TWC: We have heard a lot of feedback and commentary about our upcoming expanded consumption-based billing trials in Texas, North Carolina and New York state. Some accounts have even characterized our plans as punitive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Reply: Why would they say that it is not punitive? When you take a current user that has up to 10Mb speeds and… Read more »

matt
matt
13 years ago

With the bad economy the way it is who bright idea was this to uses internet cap people are trying to save money not spend more money, I fix computers on-site and I did not know why I saw people which already changing to another ISP but now I know why because of this dumb idea about internet caps. If you are happy with your company profit you are just being greedy on this bad economy, this reminds me back in the old days to jack up price like back in the 56k modem how AOL charged per hour We… Read more »

Josh Beck
Josh Beck
13 years ago

Simple:

When I get the notice in the mail that my internet usage is being monitored so that I can be placed on an appropriate ‘metered’ plan, I drop all Time Warner services and switch to AT&T, the only other competitor in the San Antonio area.

I’ll be sure to let others know to do the same. I pay +$200 per month for
cable, phone, and internet. The cap, even at 100gb, is no good.

Easy decision.

Josh Beck. San Antonio customer.

Christine
Christine
13 years ago

To whom it may concern, I”ve been a customer of Time Warner’s for nearly 10 years. However, due to this worrying bandwidth cap that is going to be implemented in my area, I’ve filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, as well as complained to Time Warner several times about this “test.” Unfortunately, my complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears. It’s obvious Time Warner does not care about its customers who are its bread and butter. If all these users walk with their fingers (as I plan to, come summer), it will take much to recover Time… Read more »

Christine
Christine
13 years ago
Reply to  Christine

Also: I work with “salad” people at my job. I’m essentially Tier 1 Support for a business in the area. Many of the “salad” users at my job utilize Roadrunner (we already are on Frontier). Everytime one of these people call for assistance, I’ve been advising them to switch over to Frontier as well. A 5 GB cap would not be enough for these people, as they are required to transmit data from their homes to the business. Time Warner Cable shot themselves in the foot with this one. If all the tech-savvy “steak” people in the area are advising… Read more »

David
David
13 years ago

“As the amount of usage has dramatically diverged among users, this is becoming inherently unfair and not the way most consumers want to pay for goods they consume.” This to me is worse than the argument that TW cannot turn a profit without changing to the tiered pricing. At least with that, TW can claim its not providing data because it is internal and they do not want competition looking at their books. But again, what backs up the statement that consumers actually are dissatisfied with how they pay for internet service, or that they feel there is some unfairness… Read more »

Uncle Ken
Uncle Ken
13 years ago

This reminds me of a restaurant near the old Kodak elmgrove plant. They had a two drink limit. They did not last 2 months before going out of business. I think of TW as Chili. When Kodak approached them and asked for their tax bill to be reduced or they would leave the area well Chili said no and Kodak left a great big still mostly useless bunch of buildings. Most is still empty and most anything that could be taxed was ripped out including some very big parking lots. I guess a parking lot is considered business space well… Read more »

Uncle Ken
Uncle Ken
13 years ago

Short after thought: Remember Frontier was the first to try a 5 gig cap but was shot down. What can you do with 5 gigs? About nothing. My smallest hard drive is 500 gig. Phil was right Frontier can not be trusted. They change TOS on a dime. Everybody puts in that clause “we reserve the right to change this policy in our sleep” With no input for us the people who send in those payments every month. Phil is also correct that if you make a cardboard sign and walk up and down Mt Hope they just close the… Read more »

Uncle Ken
Uncle Ken
13 years ago

Another after thought:
Phil is working on the master list of contacts we can bother. If you use anything that uses bandwidth send in a contact email or URL to make his life a bit easier. Anything that will make your services suffer fallout. Remember is not those providers it’s the middle man TW stopping you from using those services.

Jessica
Jessica
13 years ago

Fine Time Warner… continue being stingy with your offerings and having the worst service. I’ll just switch to Frontier. That solves it.

Marianne Wyzykowski
Marianne Wyzykowski
13 years ago

So have people who DON’T use the internet as much complained that they are paying the same as someone who does???? Doubtful – that’s just Time Warner’s way of trying to appease us…not working.

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