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Roadrunner to test usage-based billing


Trying to weed out the hogs

In some rather depressing news, Time Warner Cable has announced that it will be piloting a trial for usage-based bandwidth billing. While we all know that bandwidth is not infinite, the RoadRunner folks are hoping to curb the excessive bandwidth use by hitting heavy users in their pocketbooks.

While bandwidth usage-based billing has been around for some time in the commercial and Web site realm, this is the first time that an ISP has attempted to move this billing model to the consumers’ arena. Of course, the pitch is that consumers that use less bandwidth will be charged less, but users that use the Internet for video streaming or Internet online game play (be it PC or console), could expect to pay much more under the proposed plan.

While the trial will only take place in Beaumont, Texas, our take is that depending on how it will be billed and at what rate, consumers could wind up paying much more for Internet access. The reality is that in a large household with kids and adults that are heavy Internet users, the cost could be considerably higher. Time Warner’s justification for the usage-based billing is that it will get some of the bandwidth hogs away from the Internet pipe, but the real truth is that it will save Warner money; with bandwidth usage down they will not have to add more bandwidth to service their customers. Time Warner claims that most customers will notice little or no change to their bill with this method.

Last modified on 18 January 2008
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