Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Time WarnerCable’s hasty retreat from a plan to charge broadband customers by the byte will delay but likely won’t kill efforts to replace all-you-can-eat plans with so-called metered billing arrangements. In the end, the company’s greedy rates, unpersuasive congestion arguments and relatively low threshold caps may have played a bigger role in derailing the plan than adamant consumer opposition to pay-as-you-go broadband at any price.
Still it’s unlikely that any large ISP will try to switch to cell phone-style billing again anytime soon.
“Time Warner Cable has raised the government and consumer flags too high for anyone else to do this anytime in the near future,” Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield said. “They created a PR nightmare for no reason.”
That proposal came as government agencies began taking steps to make broadband expansion part of the national economic recovery plan.
The two weeks of outrage that followed have made it clear that U.S. consumers do not want to have to calorie-count their internet usage, especially in age where users are adopting such bandwidth-hungry video innovations as the Roku box, Hulu.com’s online television shows and net-centered home media portals like Boxee.
Network congestion is a lie contrived for companies too cheap to construct adequate pipes to your digital hearth and home. If competition is available, they’ll manage to come with the bucks to offer affordable speed and bandwidth to consumers.
What creeps like Time-Warner have tried to do – is what always worked on ignorant pols and even more ignorant consumers before the Web got in the way. Now, we mostly have a picture of what tech exists down the street and across the pond – and we all know there’s no need to roll over and beg for overpriced scraps.