Time Warner Cable is going forward with plans to test monthly download metering. Time Warner will be the first major ISP to cap monthly downloads and offer price tiers for varying limits. (Holahan, Time Warner's Net Metering Precedent (June 4, 2008) www.businessweek.com.) Time Warner claims that download caps are necessary to prevent heavy users from overloading their infrastructure. I respectfully call horse hockey. The top tier offered in the Time Warner trial will only permit 40GB of downloads in a month for $54.90. 40GB of downloads would allow about 7-8 high definition movie downloads. It looks like big cable is afraid of a future where people buy their movies and download them over high bandwidth internet connections. So much for all that revenue from cable movies on demand. This is anti-competitive behavior by an industry unwilling to invest in sufficient infrastructure to support what it has sold to consumers (allegedly).
I'm a Time Warner cable customer at home (consumed in the Adelphia implosion). I wrote Time Warner when I first heard about the cap trial. I promised in my correspondence that I would move to a dish solution for cable and get my internet elsewhere if they roll out a pathetically low bandwidth cap in Southern California. Are you listening Time Warner?
And how is it that the United States has some of the lowest broadband speeds of any industrialized nation? Don't get me started...
UPDATE: On a related note, the City of Los Angeles, via the City Attorney, announced today that it intends to sue Time Warner Cable for "sucking." (Chris Walter, Los Angeles To Sue Time Warner Cable For Sucking (June 5, 2008) consumerist.com, as cited by Consumer Law & Policy Blog.)