ISPs and mobile operators are concerned about network congestion and have recently made a habit of charging for bandwidth usage. But Time-Warner Cable is exploring the issue, and planning billing trials that offer unlimited bandwidth for $150 per month.
“With the ever-increasing flood of content on the Internet, bandwidth consumption is growing exponentially,” reads a post attributed to Landel Hobbs, COO at TWC. “That’s a good thing; however, there are costs associated with this increased Internet usage. Here at Time Warner Cable, consumption among our high-speed Internet subscribers is increasing by about 40 percent a year. As a facilities based provider, we’ve built a network that must be maintained and upgraded. We have increasing variable costs and we have to continue to invest in the network itself.”
And those costs are why bandwidth can actually be quantified, he added.
Of course, if subscribers don’t read the fine print and like to do a lot of two-way video streaming, say, the potential for getting whacked with hefty overage fees is very real, as evidenced by what happened to the AT&T Inc. netbook subscriber that was treated to a $5,000 bill. The alternative is to cap usage, cutting off users when they reach their monthly threshold—not a situation most users take kindly to.
The new billing tiers should help the cableco mine these waters. Under the new plan, customers can choose:
1GB per month plan, speeds of 768kbps download and 128kbps upload, for $15 per month
100GB Road Runner Turbo plan, 10mbps download, 1mbps upload, for $75 per month
The unlimited offer is buried in the overage language. Any use over 100GB costs $1 per gigabyte, but only up to $150 per month, which effectively adds a third, unnamed unlimited option that will offer 10mbps download, 1mbps upload, for $150 per month