Consumers aren’t the only ones angry about Time Warner Cable’s (TWC) plans to charge for Internet access based on usage. Some politicians are also starting to campaign against the cable giant’s pricing experiments, which will begin in Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Rochester, N.Y.; and Greensboro, N.C. later this year.
- “I don’t like it at all,” Greensboro Mayor Yvonne Johnson said. “I’m not a happy camper about it. I think it’s bad for their customers and it’s bad for the city.”
- “Just at a time when access to information is driving our economic recovery, Time Warner is moving to stagnate the 21st Century technology needed to rebuild America,” said N.Y. Congressman Eric Massa.
We expect to hear more of this.
There’s probably nothing politicians can do directly: There are no laws we know of requiring Time Warner Cable or any Internet provider to sell access for a flat fee. And anyway, this is capitalism, and the cable company should be able to charge whatever it wants for any service — with the risk of losing business. (And if Time Warner is successful, this could boost its revenues and set an industry precedent.)
But politicians can raise hell. And Time Warner — which is now making its product more confusing, tedious, and expensive — desperately can not afford to lose customers to competitors, especially Verizon and AT&T.
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