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Time Warner Cable tries metering Internet use

Old 06-05-08, 10:07 AM
  #51  
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One additional benefit to downloading music is that I can (in most cases) cherry pick the songs I want. Let's face it, not every album is a perfectly listenable work from beginning to end. Some have a few great tracks and the rest is a bunch of filler I would be skipping through if I'd bought the physical CD.
Old 06-05-08, 10:11 AM
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This seems like a step backwards. Remember when AOL first started up, and charged by the hour?

I wouldn't object to this if they kept the high-bandwidth users at the rate everybody is paying currently, and everybody who uses less than that pays less. But of course, that's not how it's going to work.
Old 06-05-08, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Especially now that DRM is essentially dead and you own that music with no strings.
Are all iTunes downloads available sans-DRM now? If not I don't see how you can possibly say that.
Old 06-05-08, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Mordred
Are all iTunes downloads available sans-DRM now? If not I don't see how you can possibly say that.
Whether or not you can purchase the entire iTunes catalog free of DRM is irrelevant, as you can purchase it at many other places. You have to look at the trend, and the trend is no more DRM on music.
Old 06-05-08, 03:02 PM
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How about for lossless audio? Are there DRM-free sources for that?

It may not matter to many that the files are compressed, but some of us want lossless if we're going to pay an amount comparable to a CD.
Old 06-05-08, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
if my home is destroyed in a fire restoring my PC and music backups will be the least of my concerns. only thing i really worry about backing up is 30GB or so of photos and family videos. if everything else was lost in a fire or whatever i wouldn't really care
If that's true, then you are truly an exceptional person. If I lost the tens of thousands of dollars worth of books, movies, and music that I own, I'd be seriously pissed. Not as pissed as about other things, but still pissed. Nor do I think I'm unique about that.
Old 06-05-08, 04:52 PM
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A few people were talking about this at my work today - If this happens, I will cancel my service immediately. It's bullshit.
Old 06-05-08, 05:26 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara
If that's true, then you are truly an exceptional person. If I lost the tens of thousands of dollars worth of books, movies, and music that I own, I'd be seriously pissed. Not as pissed as about other things, but still pissed. Nor do I think I'm unique about that.

i have a wife and child, everything else can be replaced with an insurance check. finding living arrangements in the meantime is more of a priority. especially when you have a 9 month old
Old 06-05-08, 06:42 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by sracer
True. But you can't really point to "Deal of the Day" as a deciding factor in the superiority of purchased downloads. If $4.99 was the regular price, that would be another story.
I never said downloads were superior. However, al_bundy specifically referenced sale prices and loss-leaders when arguing in support of physical media. My point is that if you include sale prices, then downloads are always going to be capable of going lower than physical media, and have.

That's quite a dicey proposition. Not only does that lock you in to eMusic, but you are relying on the hope that eMusic can maintain agreements with record labels.
True, and seasoned eMusic users will tell you not to rely on their re-download feature for backup. Still, if you lose all your personal copies of your music, it's better than nothing, which is what you get if you purchase a physical CD and lose it.

This piecemeal approach to purchased downloads is a house of cards. $5 a month here, $10 a month there, time and effort to set things up and maintain them...
Well physical media is piecemeal as well if you're looking it from that way, since you're paying so much per month for the new purchases you make, then paying so much per month for the physical space to store them. And there's certainly time and effort in setting up and maintaining a physical collection, especially if you want it in any sort of order. Not to mention time and effort in accessing the media for playback, especially if you didn't put them in any sort of order.

Then, where al_bundy's concerned, he spends additional time and effort to convert his physical media to a digital file on his PC.

...and still not retain full control over your collection.
I have full control over my audio downloads. I don't think there's any major video options that you technically can control fully, neither iTunes nor DVD nor Blu-Ray. All have some form of copy-protection or DRM.

The pollyanna view was taken with XBox360 games and downloads...
There are drawbacks, to be sure. Especially if it's all tied to one device and/or service, you're more or less dependent on that device and/or service. Of course, this isn't too much different than cable/satellite service, and plenty of people seem to subscribe to those services.

And in the context of this thread, charging for throughput on an internet connection is yet another negative to digital downloads.
If that ever becomes widespread, it will indeed be a drawback to digital downloads. However, I think the ever-increasing demand for digital-downloads and streaming content is precisely why throughput capping will not become widespread.

Bottom line, digital distribution is not BETTER than physical media... it is only different.
It's certainly not across-the-board better, and physical media has its advantages, now and in the future. However, digital distribution is better in certain situations, such as a purchaser only wanting one or two songs off an album, distributors providing free or heavily discounted material, instantaneous gratification, the amount of immediately available selections, etc.

Again, I don't think this has to be an "either/or" situation. physical media such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray will always have a place in the consumer spectrum. However, digital downloads are also going to have an increasing place in the spectrum as well, and to try and deny that is pretty silly.
Old 06-05-08, 06:53 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
if my home is destroyed in a fire restoring my PC and music backups will be the least of my concerns.
It certainly may be your least concern, but that doesn't mean it isn't a concern. Given the relative ease in backing up digital copies, as opposed to backing up physical property, if it's even possible, I don't see why you don't view it as worthy of being addressed at all.

only thing i really worry about backing up is 30GB or so of photos and family videos. if everything else was lost in a fire or whatever i wouldn't really care
With www.mozy.com , you get unlimited storage, so if you need to backup 30GB anyway, you may as well back up everything.

If you're talking about a backup harddrive, again the extra costs on additional storage space are fairly minimal. You can't even buy anything under a 100GB drive in stores these days anyways, so you're going to have at least some additional space for frivolities.

i have a wife and child, everything else can be replaced with an insurance check.....
...if you can prove you owned all that media, and provided that media is still available for replacement.

finding living arrangements in the meantime is more of a priority.
And then after you've found a new home and received the insurance money... then what? Spend countless hours hunting down and re-purchasing all that lost media, if you can even remember it all? Spend even more countless hours unpacking and organizing it all? Then spend even more countless hours re-ripping it and restoring your former digital collection? It isn't worth a few extra bucks (or no additional money at all, www.mybloop.com ) to protect yourself from all that potential time lost?
Old 06-13-08, 09:06 AM
  #61  
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AP
AT&T looking at charging heavy Internet users extra
Thursday June 12, 5:06 pm ET
By Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer
AT&T looking at charging extra for heavy Internet use, following in steps of cable

NEW YORK (AP) -- AT&T Inc., the country's largest Internet provider, is considering charging extra for customers who download large amounts of data.

"A form of usage-based pricing for those customers who have abnormally high usage patterns is inevitable," spokesman Michael Coe said this week.

The top 5 percent of AT&T's DSL customers use 46 percent of the total bandwidth, Coe said. Overall bandwidth use on the network is surging, doubling every year and a half.

AT&T doesn't have any specific plans or fees to announce yet, Coe said.

Most cable companies have official or secret caps on the amount of data they allow subscribers to download every month. Time Warner Cable started a trial earlier this month in Beaumont, Texas, under which it will charge subscribers who go over their monthly bandwidth cap $1 per gigabyte.

Cable companies are at the forefront of usage-based pricing because neighbors share capacity on the local cable lines, and bandwidth hogs can slow down traffic for others. Phone companies have been less concerned about congestion because the phone lines they use to provide Internet service using DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line technology, aren't shared between neighbors, but AT&T is evidently concerned about congestion higher up in the network.

Those who mainly do Web surfing or e-mail use little data and have scant reason to pay attention to traffic caps. But those who download movies or TV, particularly in high definition, can hit the caps imposed by cable companies.

Download caps could put a crimp in the plans of services like Apple Inc.'s iTunes that use the Internet to deliver video. DVD-by-mail pioneer Netflix Inc. just launched a TV set-top box that receives an unlimited stream of Internet video to a TV set for as little as $8.99 per month.
Old 06-13-08, 09:10 AM
  #62  
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I would hope there's some national provider that will take this opportunity to guarantee it won't happen with their service. They'd certainly have an increase in customers.
Old 06-13-08, 09:17 AM
  #63  
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Awesome, so instead of improving the network they'll just charge more for it
Old 06-13-08, 09:27 AM
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I have a Verizon wireless laptop card for work and it had a monthly cap on data as well. I hope this is not going to be the norm.
Old 06-13-08, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Chew


I would hope there's some national provider that will take this opportunity to guarantee it won't happen with their service. They'd certainly have an increase in customers.
if you believe the numbers that 5% of users use 95% of the bandwidth, then no one is going to announce this
Old 06-13-08, 09:51 AM
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This is all so contradictory. I keep reading where IPTV and movie downloads are the future, but at the same time we are seeing little improvement in bandwith and now they want to start metering it which will make downloading movies impossible.

I use AT&T for my internet so I would be effected. Granted I doubt I am in the top 5% of internet users, but I am wondering what the cap will be. They could really kill any hope of HD video online and hurt online video in general.

Last edited by darkside; 06-13-08 at 09:56 AM.
Old 06-13-08, 10:44 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by kakihara1
Awesome, so instead of improving the network they'll just charge more for it
The justification the providers are giving is they're charging more to generate more revenue for improving the network. Whether or not that will happen, and whether the capped amount would rise as capacity increases, remains to be seen.

Originally Posted by BigDaddy
I have a Verizon wireless laptop card for work and it had a monthly cap on data as well. I hope this is not going to be the norm.
Cellular services have always had caps on the amount of service you receive, whether it be voice minutes, text messages, or data in general. What's new is that wired broadband connections have historically not had any caps, limited only by the speed of the connection.

Originally Posted by al_bundy
if you believe the numbers that 5% of users use 95% of the bandwidth, then no one is going to announce this
Both the AT&T and TWC articles state that 5% of users use around 50% of the bandwidth, not 95%.

Originally Posted by darkside
This is all so contradictory. I keep reading where IPTV and movie downloads are the future, but at the same time we are seeing little improvement in bandwith and now they want to start metering it which will make downloading movies impossible.
Keep in mind that for cable companies, the internet video services count as competition to their own VOD offerings. If cable companies cap the internet usage, they can use the freed bandwidth to offer more VOD offerings and HD channels.

With AT&T, I don't believe they have any kind of cable TV service like Verizon has with FIOS, so it looks like mainly a bandwidth issue for them.

Last edited by Jay G.; 06-13-08 at 10:47 AM.
Old 06-13-08, 01:53 PM
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that's still a lot of bandwidth being used by a small number of users

the ISP's don't really care about the new services being offered by Apple or Netflix or anyone since they aren't making any money off it
Old 06-13-08, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay G.
The justification the providers are giving is they're charging more to generate more revenue for improving the network. Whether or not that will happen, and whether the capped amount would rise as capacity increases, remains to be seen.

Keep in mind that for cable companies, the internet video services count as competition to their own VOD offerings. If cable companies cap the internet usage, they can use the freed bandwidth to offer more VOD offerings and HD channels.
I would point out many of these providers already have received millions of dollars in subsidies from our government to make these improvements, but they have mostly made excuses and pocketed the profits.

I can't think of anything more dishonest than to limit bandwith so you can sell your own services and block competition on a backbone financed with our tax dollars.
Old 06-13-08, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by darkside
I would point out many of these providers already have received millions of dollars in subsidies from our government to make these improvements, but they have mostly made excuses and pocketed the profits.

I can't think of anything more dishonest than to limit bandwith so you can sell your own services and block competition on a backbone financed with our tax dollars.
I wonder if the federal government will seek an injunction based on antitrust. Maybe their customers will.
Old 06-14-08, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by darkside
I would point out many of these providers already have received millions of dollars in subsidies from our government to make these improvements, but they have mostly made excuses and pocketed the profits.

I can't think of anything more dishonest than to limit bandwith so you can sell your own services and block competition on a backbone financed with our tax dollars.
and every time they want to imporove their network it always costs twice what it should because every redneck town demands that they build a yarn museum or something totally useless
Old 04-01-09, 04:28 PM
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Re: Time Warner Cable tries metering Internet use

Looks like this is coming to Rochester. Boo.


http://consumerist.com/5192997/time-...ur-more-cities
Old 04-01-09, 07:09 PM
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Re: Time Warner Cable tries metering Internet use

TWC/Road Runner tiered Internet pricing coming to Austin/San Antonio

(UPDATE #4: bit more detail) TWC/Road Runner tiered Internet pricing coming to Austin/San Antonio

By Omar Gallaga | Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 06:21 PM

Updated, 6:15 p.m.: One more update before I leave the office. In answer to the question about whether current contract customers will be able to get out of their contract based on this change, Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Melissa Sorola said via Twitter, “too early to tell - we’re still in the data collection phase of this.”

Updated, 5 p.m.: I just spoke to Alex Dudley, vice president of public relations for Time Warner Cable. I’m working on a story for the print editing, but here are the quick highlights of our conversation:

* No plans for rollover bandwidth from month to month. Use it or lose it.
* “86 percent of our customers at least have nothing to worry about,” Dudley said, “That’s the percentage of customers that will be left unaffected by the trial.” I asked if that’s in comparison to Beaumont and whether that’s a very different market. He replied, “Internet usage is a lot like television viewing. It doesn’t vary from geographic area to geographic area.”
* While this will affect customers in real dollars in San Antonio/Austin, this is still considered a trial in terms of whether it will continue to other TWC markets.
* The three-month grace period will begin in early summer.
* A gas-gauge-like Internet usage monitor will be on the TWC Web site. Customers will also get info on their usage in their monthly bills.
* The 100-Gigagyte “super-tier” will be “significantly more expensive” than the $55/40 GB a month tier mentioned in the BusinessWeek article. However, “We haven’t settled on a price yet,” he said.
* I’m waiting to hear back about customers under contract and how this will affect their terms.
* Dudley cited bandwidth-hogging things like HD video and BitTorrent as reasons for the change. “It’s not about trying to limit anyone from doing anything. It’s trying to provide a business model that allows them to do what they want to do for the foreseeable future,” he said.
* Final thoughts from Dudley: “We know we’re going to learn a lot in this trial. We will listen to feedback from our customers. We’ll make decisions based on what we learned.”

Thank you for all your comments. Keep them coming.

Updated, 3 p.m.: Time Warner Cable has released this statement about the tiered pricing rollout. News in there includes a 100-Gigabyte “super-tier,” but no mention of price. It also says that customers will have three months to adjust to the change before tiered billing starts and that a “Gas gauge” will tell them how much bandwidth they’ve consumed. It also says the prior pricing experiment in Beaumont was “Successful,” but does not specify if it was successful for customers or for the company. We’ll post more info as we find it.

According to an article in BusinessWeek, Time Warner Cable will begin charging customers of its Road Runner Internet service based on how much bandwidth they consume. By phone, a Time Warner Cable spokeswoman confirmed to me this afternoon that it will happen “sometime this summer.”

We knew this was a possibility back when the company tried it out in Beaumont, but it looks like it’s becoming a reality. What this means is that depending on how much you pay for Internet service, you would be held accountable for going over a predetermined download limit.

According to the article, the Internet cap would depend on the level of service, ranging from from $29.95 to $54.90 a month with caps ranging from 5 to 40 Gigabytes of data a month. Customers would be charged $1 for each additional GB of data.

Who does this hurt? Anyone who plans to download HD video from services like iTunes, Vudu or even satellite providers like DirecTV who use a customer’s Internet connection to deliver Video On Demand.

HD video takes up a big chunk of bandwidth. One HD movie might consume as much at 8 GB of data alone, the article says.

Time Warner says that the top 25 percent of downloaders in its Beaumont trial consumed 100 times more data than the bottom 25 percent. But this seems like a shortsighted view — more people will be consuming more bandwidth as online video, music and gaming services expand.

I know that in my own experience with Road Runner, I’ve never had to worry about how much media my family consumes or to stress out about downloading online content I’m already paying for. I’ve been paying about $46 a month for Road Runner for something like 10 years.

Will I stay with Road Runner if tiered pricing becomes a reality? No. Even the 40 GB cap is too little for the way my family consumes Internet content and I don’t want to have to keep checking a meter to see how we’re doing. I have enough stress in my life. The only way I’d find it palatable is if I received a discount for months when I went under the cap. It doesn’t sound like things will work that way.

But then, what are the other options?

Road Runner customers — does this kind of pricing work for you? Post in the comments.

And no, it’s not a bad April Fools’ joke. I wish.

Edited to add, 1:28 p.m.: Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Stacy Schmitt told me by phone, “We’re in the early stages,” and that the company is currently collecting data and determining what pricing will be. However, she didn’t deny any details in the BusinessWeek article and said, “We will be doing it sometime this summer.”

More links: Consumerist and DSLReports.com have more info. DSLReports notes that the cities getting tiered pricing are ones in which Verizon FIOS service is not available.

Last edited by Michael T Hudson; 04-01-09 at 07:12 PM.
Old 04-01-09, 07:57 PM
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Re: Time Warner Cable tries metering Internet use

Wow I am definitely glad I dropped Roadrunner for Fios. If I hadn't already I would have done it after reading this. 40gb a month is nothing and easy to surpass without trying.
Old 04-01-09, 07:58 PM
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Re: Time Warner Cable tries metering Internet use

Sadly in Rochester the only other option is Frontier DSL which has a 5gb cap. So I will be stuck with RoadRunner unless I want dial up. I will definitely cancel Time Warner cable tv though.

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