Big cable-backed broadband bill soars through NC House, one step closer to stifling ISP competition

via Engadget by Darren Murph on 3/30/11

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Time Warner Cable is made up of some insanely shady folks. And frankly, it’s not just TWC to blame here — CenturyLink, Embarq and a smattering of other big telecom companies are banding together in order to push the ironically-named H129 “Level Playing Field” bill straight into law. Unfortunately, said bill sailed through the clearly oblivious (or “persuaded”) North Carolina House this week, with just 37 sane individuals voting against 81 delusional proponents. For those outside of the loop, the bill effectively suggests that commercial entities — municipal ISPs like Wilson’s own Greenlight that provide greater levels of service with lower costs — are unfairly competing against for-profit monoliths. In short, that’s an absolute joke. Rep. Bill Faison nailed it with this quote: 

“This bill will make it practically impossible for cities to provide a fundamental service. Where’s the bill to govern Time Warner? Let’s be clear about whose bill this is. This is Time Warner’s bill. You need to know who you’re doing this for.” 

Yours truly just so happens to reside in the wonderful state of North Carolina, and knows first-hand what it’s like to live in a major metropolitan area with a single high-speed broadband carrier. TWC has only recently announced impending DOCSIS 3.0 coverage, but early installations in the heart of Raleigh have been fraught with latency issues and router difficulties. Oh, and it’s charging $99 per month for a service with 5Mbps up; for comparison’s sake, Greenlight gives customers 10Mbps internet (in both directions), home phone and expanded basic cable for the exact same fare. So, NC lawmakers — how exactly do your constituents gain access to that “level playing field?” 

[Image courtesy of IndyWeek]

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Broadbandits: Data cap craze spreads to Charter Communications

via DVICE by Charlie White on 2/6/09

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You know how we warned you about Time Warner’s plans to limit broadband usage in more cities? Now the nearly-bankrupt Charter Communications has decided to set limits, too, but they are significantly more lenient than Time Warner’s stingy 40GB/month cap.

Charter will bring the hammer down on Monday (2/9/09), limiting heavy downloaders to 100GB/month on its 15Mbps (megabits per second) tier, and 250GB (equal to Comcast’s limit) on the higher tier of up to 25Mbps. The company’s easing into this draconian measure — Charter isn’t saying anything about consequences of running over those limits, and adds that the caps won’t be strictly enforced … at first. The good news: those lucky users of Charter’s recently announced $140/month 60Mbps top tier reportedly won’t be metered.

What’s next? Verizon FiOS? We deplore these kinds of limits on broadband access that was formerly called “unlimited,” but really, how many of you are downloading more than 250GB of data per month? That’s equal to two 720p HD movies every day. What would be a fair limit?

DSL Reports, via Ars Technica

All-You-Can-Eat Broadband Is Dead: Time Warner to Charge by the Byte

via Gizmodo by matt buchanan on 1/17/08

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Reason number 149 I won’t move to Texas: Time Warner confirmed it’ll be testing a new pricing plan in Beaumont that’s based on how much bandwidth you eat up. That’s right, hard caps. Totally made-up example, since they haven’t released details on the package tiers: Pay $50 a month for 500 gigs, and if you consume more, get slapped with probably obscene overage fees.

Supposedly, consumption-based billing is aimed at all you assholes downloading movies from BitTorrent—”heavy users of large downloads,” the purported 5 percent that swallows “up to 50 percent of network capacity” in order to improve network performance. But this is, at least partially, BS.

Everybody is using more bandwidth than ever, and that is going to continue ramping up with services like Netflix and iTunes that keep pushing these “large downloads” into the mainstream. So, it might only hit a small percentage of users really hard right now, but soon enough it’ll be hitting everybody, which is the real point.

At the same time, ISPs and telcos are lobbying hard against network neutrality, largely so they can slap the content providers themselves with higher costs for equal priority on the network with the ISP’s own services. In other words, they’re reaching into the cookie jar with both hands—from the top, and a hole they’re trying to cut into the bottom.

For now, Time Warner’s plan will only affect new users starting sometime in the next couple of months, and they actually give you tools to monitor your data diet, but if there isn’t a total revolt and pillaging of their home office, expect them to roll it out nationally and other providers to follow suit.

[AP/Wired]