File Under: Business, servers

Time Warner Cable to Charge By the Byte

Starting this week, a lucky group of pilot customers in Texas will get 5 gigabytes of traffic per month for $29.95. After they exceed that cap (on day one, no doubt) each additional gigabyte will run them $1. There’s also a “high-end” package: 40 gigs for $55.

I ran a home server on Time Warner Cable for several years; now, mercifully, I have a much better provider. Even serving nothing but IMAP, as I did, would be quite costly under this new plan, which I’m sure is part of the case for the capping — TWC doesn’t want any users running servers. Their representative pitches it as a measure to tax the most gluttonous users of bandwidth: “5 percent of the company’s subscribers take up half of the capacity on local cable lines.” But even average browsing, YouTubing and Flickring, is going to rack up the gigabytes pretty fast.

Except where users are locked in by monopolies, they’ll doubtless be jumping ship to non-capping ISPs. Time Warner ought to be competing with the threat of cheap, uncapped floods of bandwidth brought by FIOS. Instead, the new rate system is competitive with burning DVDs and FedExing them. It’s not their first dubious business decision.