Light Reading

TW Cable Rolls Usage-Based Broadband Wide

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

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

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:18 AM
re: TW Cable Rolls Usage-Based Broadband Wide

Thanks, Todd. Much obliged. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:37 PM
re: TW Cable Rolls Usage-Based Broadband Wide

For picking up the story. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:37 PM
re: TW Cable Rolls Usage-Based Broadband Wide

TW Cable's policy is interesting in that it targets light users, while the one being tested by Comcast and widely deployed by Mediacom targets heavy users. I think Todd Spangler at Multichannel News said it well when he suggested earlier this year (still trying to find the link)  that TWC's is a carrot approach, while these others are using the stick.  But which approach or type of policy do you think will win out? When it comes to usage-based models, the genie is out of the bottle, but I think the stick approach will do alright (or at least keep the masses from revolting)  so long as the  ceiling remains generous before overage charges are applied. JB

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:36 PM
re: TW Cable Rolls Usage-Based Broadband Wide

Thanks for the shout-out Jeff - here's the link to my story:

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