Monday, June 02, 2008

Time Warner Tests Metering Internet Use

Here's a nasty surprise for Time Warner Internet subscribers: Time Warner is currently testing capping Internet use per customer and charging customers $1 per gigabyte for use beyond the limit.

This could be particularly problematic for those who download movies, music, and other materials.

One blogger also says the plan is being considered by Comcast.

As alluded to in the article, this is a reminder of the bad old days of hourly dial-up plans and charges for individual services provided. For instance, my first Internet provider, Prodigy, only allowed 30 emails per month back in the early '90s, after which you had to pay a fairly substantial amount per email sent. Between my business, homeschool issues, and other emails, I easily now hit that allotment per day!

Pricing like this seems guaranteed to hinder the continuing development of innovative uses of the Internet.

Update: My husband has an interesting theory, that at least part of this may be about Time Warner trying to steer people away from Internet movie services like Netflix which provide online streaming, and trying to price bandwith use such that viewers are forced to turn to (currently more expensive) Time Warner on Demand via cable TV instead.


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