Time Warner Cable (TWC) is delaying plans in at least two cities to start charging its Internet subscribers by how much bandwidth they use. A Time Warner Cable rep told the San Antonio Express-News that the decision to delay the tests in San Antonio and Austin, Tex., was a result of “consumer reaction.” Translation: Customers hate the idea.
The cable company will try again in October, but it’s hard to see how the reaction will be any different.
While it might be fair that heavy downloaders have to pay more — up to $150 per month — for Internet access, good luck convincing people to give up the comfort that all-you-can-eat Internet subscriptions have provided for years.
Billing customers by how much Internet they use — if ever rolled out broadly — could potentially boost Time Warner’s revenues, especially as bandwidth-intensive Web video becomes more popular.
But the company runs a big risk of pushing its most tech-savvy customers away to competitors such as Verizon (VZ), which offers much faster Internet service in some markets with (currently) no cap. If that happens widely, it’s a disaster for Time Warner Cable.
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