Time Warner Cable this week plans to begin charging new broadband customers in a small Texas system extra if they exceed set bandwidth-usage limits—becoming one of the first in the industry to deviate from standard unlimited-usage pricing.
In Beaumont, Texas, the operator will test an overage-fee structure of $1 for each gigabyte a broadband customer consumes beyond the cap.
There’s no unlimited-usage option in the Beaumont trial, according to Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley: “This is a test, and we want to see how the caps work.”
Time Warner Cable outlined plans in January for the trial in Beaumont, a system that serves about 90,000 voice, video and Internet customers in 15 towns.
The usage caps, which include both uploads and downloads, will apply only to new customers in Beaumont. Subscribers will be able to check their current month-to-date usage totals on a Time Warner Cable Web site.
The monthly pricing (as part of a bundle) and limits for the three packages are:
- $29.95 for 768 Kilobits per second down and a 5-Gbyte cap
- $44.95 for 7 Megabits per second down and a 20-Gbyte cap
- $54.90 for 15 Mbps down and a 40-Gbyte cap
Other operators already have usage caps their broadband service, but do not impose overage charges.
For example, Cox Communications’ “preferred” broadband package, which provides 5-9 Mbps download speeds, limits consumption to 40 Gbytes downstream per month and 10 Gbytes up. Its “value” tier (768 Kbps down, 256 up) is capped at 3 Gbytes down and 1 Gbyte up.
Cox notifies customers if they’ve exceeded their bandwidth quota, but does not currently charge them extra for that usage.
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