According to local Rochester, NY ABC affiliate WHAM
, Senator Chuck Schumer spoke in Rochester today. While it was simply expected he'd be speaking out against Time Warner Cable's metered billing trial, the Senator announced that he'd spoken with the carrier, and that Time Warner Cable would be backing away from caps and overages in response to unprecedented
consumer outrage in trial markets. Schumer's appearance in Rochester was coordinated by Stop The Cap.com
, a blog created by Broadband Reports user Phillip Dampier
in response to a growing push toward metered billing.Update 1
: Indications are Time Warner Cable is backing away from the plan in all
markets. "In the face of enormous community opposition and at Schumer’s urging, Time Warner will shelve the plan for all of their test markets," Schumer has stated in a prepared statement to be released shortly. Time Warner Cable is expected to issue an announcement sometime this afternoon.Update 2
: Time Warner Cable has confirmed the move and issued an official statement here
, though the wording continues to use the same kind of disingenuous language that helped put the company squarely in the middle of a public relations quagmire to begin with. According to Time Warner Cable, the company is stopping the trial because "there is a great deal of misunderstanding" concerning their metered billing trials, and the carrier wants to focus on the "customer education process." Says company CEO Glenn Britt:
"It is clear from the public response over the last two weeks that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing. As a result, we will not proceed with implementation of additional tests until further consultation with our customers and other interested parties, ensuring that community needs are being met. While we continue to believe that consumption based billing may be the best pricing plan for consumers, we want to do everything we can to inform our customers of our plans and have the benefit of their views as part of our testing process."
Of course, customers who were angry with Time Warner Cable for trying to charge them $1-$2 per gigabyte in the middle of a recession understood what was going on perfectly. Should Time Warner Cable want to re-examine what went wrong the last few weeks, executives may want to take a look first at how they repeatedly insulted the intelligence of their customer base.
According to the statement, Time Warner Cable will still be doling out usage meters to all customers. It's pretty clear from the language used that their effort to dramatically reshape broadband billing is far from over, and when it resurfaces, it will be with a better public relations campaign and a lot of selective data. However, what's also pretty clear that the Internet gives consumers the collective power to shape company policy for the better.