Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time Warner Cable Introducing Tiered And Metered Internet Pricing

According to new reports today, Time Warner Cable is introducing a new pricing structure for Austin-area Internet users. Under the new plan, consumers would be placed on a tiered and metered billing system, and charged for the amount of bandwidth they use. The DFW area Internet users will likely be next for Time Warner Cable Tiered And Metered Internet Use Pricing!

From Lee Leffingwell released the following statement earlier today:

This approach, and Time Warner’s specific plan, should be of grave concern to Austin. Right now we need to be encouraging, rather than stifling, economic recovery and growth in Austin. This plan moves us in the wrong direction. It potentially puts Austin at a disadvantage as we compete against other communities to attract, retain, and grow prosperous businesses.

I’m obviously concerned about the impact this plan would have on individuals and families, who would have to begin to monitor their Internet use. The new pricing system would have a significant impact on anybody who uses the Internet to watch videos, download music, movies, or television shows.

But I’m deeply concerned about the impact of the plan on business owners, especially those working in creative industries that require regular access to broadband Internet service. Introducing an economic disincentive for Austin businesses to use the Internet to communicate, collaborate, innovate, and deliver services is very worrisome at best, and catastrophic at worst.

If Time Warner believes that is has no choice but to introduce usage caps, I would call on them to propose caps that are realistic and reasonable. The usage caps proposed in their new plan are neither realistic nor reasonable.

For example, if a consumer downloads Season 1 of “Friday Night Lights” in high definition from iTunes, they will have used 30.86 gigabytes of transfer. This one purchase would put that consumer over the limit of all but the most expensive tier that Time Warner is offering under the new plan. It’s easy to see how the costs associated with the ongoing, high volumes of Internet use that many businesses require be could be astronomical.

Internet access should be expanded, not constrained. Innovation and creativity should be unleashed by the Internet, not shackled by draconian usage caps. This is vital to Austin’s economic recovery. I hope that Time Warner will work with City officials and the community at large to reconsider this bad pla

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