Time Warner offers unlimited bandwidth - For $150

By Justin Mann on April 10, 2009, 4:23 PM
How much would you be willing to pay for truly unlimited bandwidth? Your answer will probably vary based on where you live and what services cost in your area, but Time Warner believes that their customers can be lulled into shelling out $150 per month to get into a bandwidth tier that doesn't have a limitation. Time Warner is putting this new classification on top of their existing structure, which as many know has been under the microscope lately. Time Warner's plan to enforce relatively small bandwidth caps, as low as 5GB per month, is similar - though vastly more severe - to other limitations large ISPs have been implementing or considering.

The biggest and most notable company to do such was Comcast, who decided after pressure from the FTC, their customers and other sources to settle on a cap of 250GB per month on their Internet accounts. Qwest is another nationwide ISP that has implemented similar measures, though its cap is also much larger than what Time Warner's packages offer. Time Warner does have an “in between” package planned, charging $75 for 100GB. The unlimited actually stems from a limit on how much overage they will charge, at $1 per extra gigabyte, with a maximum of $75 in extra fees.

Is this fair or acceptable? It's an important consideration - especially since Time Warner, as one of the larger ISPs in the U.S., is both a cable company and an Internet provider, and it seems the latter may be a conflict of interest. Many cable companies are concerned that Internet video services directly compete with what they offer - and when you control the medium, you can control how people view it. Is $150 extortion? Is it an excessive tab to ask?

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