After Time Warner Cable took a public relations beating for pushing mandatory low caps (as low as 5 GB) and high per byte overages (as high as $5 per additional gigabyte) on consumers back in 2009
, the company has been stepping very carefully in what is quite obviously their relentless desire to charge consumers broadband overages. Early last year their metered billing option returned to a few tiny markets as a voluntary (for now) option
Under Essentials, the company originally promised users a $5 discount off their bill if they sign up for the plan, which features a 5 GB cap and $1 per gigabyte overages. Granted if you actually use your connection for anything more than checking the weather a few times a week, that very slight "discount" evaporates immediately and you potentially pay more than you did previously.
Time Warner Cable has since tinkered with the plan slightly, now offering users a $8 discount of they agree to the 5 GB cap (only modestly better), or a $5 discount if you agree to a 30 GB cap. That's still not much of a savings when you factor in Time Warner Cable's various fee increases, including their recently imposed Broadcast TV fee
Not too surprisingly (aside from seeing the company admit it), Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus says that very few subscribers have signed up for the plan
Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday morning, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus said very few broadband subscribers have opted for its Internet plan that caps data use at 30 gigabytes (sic) per month. In fact, the number of subscribers taking the use-based service tier is running only "in the thousands" -- a very tiny slice of the MSO's roughly 11 million US broadband customers.
The company has never been very good at listening to consumers on this issue, and as such Marcus stated he'd still like to see this pricing option pursued further. Despite the broadband industry's claimed interest in simply wanting to explore "creative pricing" (versus, you know, price gouging uncompetitive markets), the proposals they frequently come up with lack creativity or value of any kind. It's worth noting that potential new owner Comcast has been engaged in usage cap trials of their own
Company executives have repeatedly made their intent on this front clear, but have had to settle for other forms of rate increases (like the company's ever-increasing modem rental fees
) because you folks annoyingly ruined their plans to charge $5 per gigabyte back in 2009. Advancements like Google Fiber's introduction of $70 uncapped symmetrical 1 Gbps fiber lines hasn't helped Time Warner Cable's case. Time Warner Cable seemed to believe that they could still get metered billing implemented if they did it slowly (much like the boiling frog analogy
), and layer on enough empty rhetoric about how they're simply interested in offering you value.
That doesn't seem to be working.