Time Warner's broadband usage caps are coming soon to a city near you. Soon after the company decided to spread its limited 40GB-a-month (enough for two HD movies a week) service beyond its test market in Beaumont, Texas, angry customers created a petition online to stop the onslaught of metered broadband. Rise up, citizens! Sign the petition here, spread the word.
Time Warner's spreading chokehold on the Internet moves next to Greensboro, N.C. (my hometown — now this is going too far!), followed by Austin and San Antonio, Texas and Rochester, N.Y. this summer. The service will roll out in four tiers, starting at $29.95 for 5GB per month, up to $54.90 for 40GB. Overage will cost you a buck a gig. Compared to Comcast's 250GB cap, and Charter Communications' 250GB and 100GB caps, this amounts to price gouging.
Five years from now, we'll laugh at this greedy ploy to extract extra money from consumers. Of course Time Warner thinks this is a good idea, choking downloads just when HD streaming is exploding, and funneling viewers toward its own (unlimited but overpriced) pay-per-view services.
Come on, U. S. Government, regulate! Make it illegal for a cable operator to also provide broadband service. Or maybe the market will decide, with consumers opting for upcoming WiMax and other competing wireless broadband services that could soon slam dunk the cable modem greedmeisters. Either way, it's time for action.