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Time Warner Backs Off Metered Billing
Consumers: 1 Time Warner Cable: 0
by Karl Bode 04:25PM Thursday Apr 16 2009
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 See Profile 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:
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"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.

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Round Rock, TX

2 recommendations

cmon now...

Some of you need to step back and listen to what you're saying. If you are referring to Cable company's 10k's then post a 10k from a cable company showing outrageous, unreasonable profits. Many of them are just struggling to survive.

If this is a company that is providing a service that you don't really need or want, then by all means, run them into the ground. I've worked for companies in this business from DSL, to Cable, to Backhaul provision, and you know what? I've never had my job outsourced to China. I've been a member of This forum since it was only DSLreports, and am pretty sure that I'm not an idiot.

These are american companies trying to sell a service for a reasonable charge in a free market. If you disagree with that, what are you saying? Are you the same people that are disagreeing with bailing out the Car companies that we all helped run into the ground by making our free market choices?

I think we are all a confused public that have no idea what we are doing in the global economy. But when you play out an industry that ran in the Red for a decade to install plant capable of providing digital services, I guess I'm not sure where you are coming from. I guess I should be looking for a new line of work because the public thinks that this should be non-profit.

You think there should be more competition, so do you have a plan for that ? The previous company I worked for spent 5 million a month to construct a network before the money from Wall Street dried up. Where do you propose that money to build "competion" come from? Your wishing and wanting doesn't lash cable or bore understreets, Internet Providers do.

I'll agree that TW should have provided the Bandwidth meters to the public for a few months, but I'm sure the outcry would have been the same. The problem with this board, or not necessarily the problem, but this board is made up of primarily power users, those that will be most affected.

All noise, no signal.
Jamestown, NC

2 recommendations

reply to Jeffrey

Re: Good News

said by Jeffrey:

I'm thrilled that there is such backlash and opposition to this. I was assuming people were just going to roll over and die and say "oh well", that per-byte billing was inevitable as some frequent posters on this website would like you to believe.

It's nice that something is going to work out pro-consumer and pro-innovation for a change.
I couldn't agree more. I just hope we can get our political figures behind it here too. This is a MUCH more conservative area than New York.