TWC’s Hissy Fit

Time Warner Cable, not content with the damage it has already done to its reputation by threatening usage caps and/or tiered pricing, then following with assertions that it will just take its DOCSIS 3.0 toys and go home, has now apparently started cutting off customers for excessive usage.

A customer was shut off for using 44GB of traffic in one day. Granted, that’s a lot of data, but it’s hardly a network crushing load. More concerning was that the customer was not warned. Further, when he reported a service outage, he got the run around for hours until someone finally told him why he had been disconnected. Even then, they would not reveal what the threshold limit was that caused the disconnection. All we really know now is that 44GB is too much. The thing is, some of the “heavy abusers” that TWC keeps griping about doubtless use way more traffic than this. TWC has been claiming it has customers who use terrabytes/month, yet 44GB/day is only 1.3 TB/month. And this customer apparently was not maintaining that load on a daily basis. It was just one day.

So far, this is but a single data point. That means it’s a bit too early to get worked into a lather. And arguably, the shutoff is within the Road Runner TOS (Terms of Service). But the timing of such a shutoff, and the fact that it happened in Austin, TX (one of the tiered pricing trial cities) is ample cause for concern.

Another comical point is that the DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades TWC is now withholding would actually help mitigate the ability of any one customer from placing a load on the system that would impact other users. But why address a problem with technology when you can blame your customers for using your service incorrectly?

In somewhat related news, Cablevision’s Optimum service has announced that they will be offering unlimited 101Mbps service (that’s 10x the speed of regular Road Runner) for $99/mo. This service will be available May 11th to every Cablevision customer. Curious, they managed to do a significant service upgrade without bankrupting themselves, still maintained a service without a volume cap, and are charging for speed. Maybe TWC should buy a vowel?

I know many people are thinking that since TWC has postponed its volume tiered pricing that this is all over. But please, be vigilant. Trust me, this is far from over.

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