Austin American Statesman said today that a family that streams 7.25 hours of video (that's 3 movies folks) will see an increase in their bill of upwards of $200. This is not an issue of keeping up with technology.
They're asking for your opinion:
If you'd like to hear more about this, these gentlemen can help you:
Alex Dudley, vice president of public relations for Time Warner Cable
Director of Digital Communications
First a bit of back story: During the past year many people, feeling financial pressure or out of outright necessity, have dumped their cable and satellite providers, saving themselves hundreds of dollars by doing so.
Many of them, like me, researched alternatives and came up with some interesting entertainment possibilities. I went with a Tivo which enables me to receive and tape HD content over the air as well as letting me download new releases from Amazon.com and stream movies from Netflix. Any other content I want can be streamed in via my computer hooked up to my TV.
Where does Time Warner Cable come in to all of this? They're my internet provider.
Today Time Warner in my hometown of Austin, Tx along with San Antonio, Tx, Rochester, NY and Greensboro, NC, have stated that they're now going to a new system of pricing, a metered billing system that penalizes customers that go over a monthly limit. At first glance you may say to yourself "that'll teach those social-skills challenged gamers a lesson" or "who cares about some college student downloading bittorrents of Dr. Who"?
But the metered system starts at 5gb and goes to 40 gb. With penalties of $1 for every gb that you go over your plan. Friends, one streamed movie from Netflix can run 8gb. An episode of Battlestar Galactica from iTunes is 1.6 gb. Most families would run out of bandwidth in just a week or so if they stream or download content.
Time Warner spokesman, Alex Dudley says that 86% of households wouldn't be affected by this service change. I say horsefeathers! If 86 percent of any business were going smoothly, you wouldn't dare change your business model. And with a typical family of four, a couple of movies, a song or two, a quick online game and some youtubing will top the monthly usage.
This may seem trivial to a lot of people out there, but many of us are doing whatever we can to cut back on our living expenses. To see a corporation make a concerted effort to gouge whatever they can out of us, while we're doing whatever it takes to stay afloat in these hard economic times disgusts me. And believe me, after the bleed us, they're coming to your hometown.
What can we do about it? I don't have much hope when it comes to huge corporations taking care of their customers. I've seen too much crap on DK alone. Me, I emailed letters of concern to TimeWarner executives, My states Attorney General, my representative, my senator, Apple, Netflix, Tivo, Amazon.com, Hulu.com, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. Will they do anything about it? Probably not, although I think this is going to hurt them a lot more than they can imagine. I may go to another ISP, but I don't have much choice in Austin.
What I won't do is give in to their new billing model. Next time I'm bored, I'm going for a walk. Time Warner can't charge me for that.