TW Cable Rolls Usage-Based Broadband Wide
Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) will expand its usage-based broadband policy to all systems, save for its Oceanic systems in Hawaii, by the end of the year, company CEO Glenn Britt told an investor conference Monday.
Britt, speaking a UBS AG event in New York City, was referring to Essentials Broadband, a policy that TW Cable launched in February in southern Texas that's targeted primarily to lighter Internet users. (See Usage-Based Broadband Returns to TW Cable .)
The Essentials plan lets customers consume five gigabytes per month before being charged $1 per GB above that threshold, but not to exceed $25 per month. The policy also provides a 60-day grace period before any overage charges are meted out. Customers who opt in for the policy are also free to opt out at any time. Also, TW Cable is only applying the model to its Standard, Basic and Lite broadband tiers, and keeping its Turbo and Docsis 3.0 tiers cap-free.
The MSO has already expanded the policy to all systems in Texas, the Carolinas, the Midwest and the Northeast, according to a company spokesman. The specifics of the policy remain unchanged from the one that debuted in southern Texas earlier this year, the official added.
Britt said the MSO intends to "always offer unlimited service" but will likewise want to offer lower price options for consumers who don't gobble up lots of capacity. Britt acknowledged that few have taken the Essentials plan, but didn't offer a number.
TW Cable's policy is markedly different than some usage-based approaches deployed recently by other U.S. MSOs, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Mediacom Communications Corp. and Suddenlink Communications .
Comcast, for instance, has been testing a policy in Nashville, Tenn., that charges $10 per bucket of 50GB that they consume above a monthly 300GB ceiling. Comcast is also trying out a plan in Tucson, Ariz., that matches up customer monthly data allowances with specific speed tiers. In that example, customers of Comcast's 105Mbit/s Docsis 3.0 tier aren't subject to overage charges until they exceed a monthly limit of 600GB. (See Comcast to Try On 600GB Data Cap, Comcast Turns On Usage-Based Broadband and Mediacom Unleashes Usage-Based Broadband .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable