Later this week Time Warner Cable will begin testing a broadband service cap of 40GB/month in Beaumont, Texas. Before I level my anti-competitive claim, let me say upfront that I’m not opposed to tiered pricing. Having some sort of threshold that separates the abusers, power users, and home businesses from “typical” consumer usage is fine with me – makes perfect sense. However, a stingy monthly allowance of 40GB (@ $54.90) leaves me with the impression that TWC realizes they’d lose a Net Non-Neutrality fight and are taking a different tack to encourage customers to stick with their VOD services or get on board with their VoIP services – presumably cap-free.
I couldn’t care less that they’re providing a network abuse-a-meter… I’m not a BitTorrent user, yet I know I’d blow right by that 40GB cap via mundane Mozy backups and a few monthly HD movie rentals (~4GB/each via Vudu, Xbox, Apple TV). You’ll rarely find me in Comcast’s corner, but their proposed 250GB limit is far more reasonable. Until TWC considers a limit of at least 100GB, I’ll continue to assume this isn’t at all about financing a “needed investment in the infrastructure” but rather an anti-competitive VoIP and VOD play.
And if you live in Beaumont, TX I suggest taking your business elsewhere. (Though, TWC is probably too smart to run this trial in a Verizon FiOS neighborhood…)