Time Warner has decided to expand their data cap limit pilot program to other cities after satisfactory tests in Beaumont, TX. The company plans to offer the packages at a rate higher than their current 40 GB limit (which would limit a customer to downloading roughly 10 HD-quality movies per month…or less).
These limits are going to be watched very closely by the FCC, and Time Warner will have major networks and other technology companies (like Apple for example) who will be breathing down their neck with every bit of political power they can muster.
Time Warner claims these things are necessary because most users don’t use even close to that amount of data, and the small percentage of users who do use massive amounts of data (pirates and bittorrent users are often used as examples) are ruining it for everyone else and costing them a fortune.
That, however, is a load of crap.
Time Warner, Comcast, and any other cable company out there looking to put limits on bandwidth are wanting to do so because their business model is in jeopardy.
Streaming sites like Hulu, and downloadable services like iTunes are making the need for cable TV more irrelevant everyday and these companies are afraid that their cable empires may crumble.
The problem here is that they already opened pandora’s box by having unlimited plans for years – they will not be able to close the lid.
I’m fortunate in my area to have an alternate company to turn to – and having worked for them previously, I can assure you that they will be all over this. They’ll keep offering unlimited services and rake Time Warner over the coals for putting the limits in place.
It’s one of the reasons I don’t think Time Warner will try it in my area anytime soon.
Other places won’t be so lucky – but FiOS is coming, and DSL options are out there as well – there will be many companies that can use this to gain a footing…and I think ultimately it will be a bad move for Time Warner.