& cplSiteName &

Charter Tries On Consumption Caps

Jeff Baumgartner
2/5/2009
50%
50%

Charter Communications Inc. has confirmed a report that the MSO will soon impose monthly Internet usage caps on certain customers.

Under the new scheme, Charter will apply a monthly 100-gigabyte ceiling on customers who subscribe to a service tier with speeds up to 15 Mbit/s, and a 250GB cap on packages that provide download speeds between 15 Mbit/s and 25 Mbit/s.

Charter is not imposing a monthly usage ceiling on a new Docsis 3.0-fueled 60 Mbit/s tier, according to MSO spokeswoman Anita Lamont. Charter recently launched the wideband service in some neighborhoods of St. Louis, Charter's corporate hometown. (See Charter Takes On U-verse .)

Lamont notes Charter will notify customers directly via several means (including email, phone, and postal mail) if they exceed the cap and it "becomes an issue." Those customers will be given multiple warnings before service is suspended. Charter has yet to adopt an on-screen meter that shows customers how much capacity they've consumed during a given month, but customers are clearly free to use applications available on the Web from third parties.

Charter doesn't expect many customers to be affected by the new policy. "More than 99 percent of Charter Internet customers" consume less capacity per month than the new limits will allow, Lamont says.

Charter will flesh out the new rules in more detail when it publishes a revised Acceptable Use Policy on Monday (Feb. 9). Light Reading will try to get Lamont to send us an autographed copy.

Although Charter is the latest MSO to impose a new consumption-based Internet policy, the company has foreshadowed such a decision. In late December at the CableNEXT conference in Santa Clara, Calif., Charter CTO Marwan Fawaz said all-you-can-eat Internet business models are not sustainable as speeds increase and traffic, including more based on video, continues to surge. "Eventually, we will go to a usage-based solution," he predicted. (See Paying by the Pound .)

With the new policy, however, Charter is only part of the way to the vision foretold by Fawaz. That's because two different approaches to this issue have emerged: hard, relatively large monthly caps designed to reign in "excessive use," and a more metered approach that gets built into the cable modem service's revenue model.

Charter, like Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and its 250GB threshold, has developed capping policies designed to keep power users in check and suspend service if customers repeatedly exceed the consumption ceiling. (See Comcast Draws the Line at 250GB.)

On the other side of the spectrum, operators such as Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RG; Toronto: RCI) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) have deployed or are testing metered approaches that charge extra once customers exceed given consumption levels. (See Rogers Takes Internet Meter to the Masses and TWC Tees Up Metered Internet Trial .)

TWC has been chided for what some consider to be a less-than-generous meter policy it's testing in Beaumont, Texas. But, the MSO, which expects to use consumption-based billing in at least four more systems this year, plans to introduce a range of metering tiers that aim to accommodate different types of Internet users. (See TWC Tees Up More Meters .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:12:26 PM
re: Charter Tries On Consumption Caps
Do you think they'll present power users with an opportunity to buy a bigger cap for a month at a time?

I can imagine scenarios where a graphic artist or someone working at home temporarily might smash the cap, but only once or twice a year.

ph
Michael Harris
50%
50%
Michael Harris,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:12:23 PM
re: Charter Tries On Consumption Caps
With this kind of usage tracking and customer contact strategy? Unlikely....

"Charter will notify customers directly via several means (including email, phone, and postal mail) if they exceed the cap and it "becomes an issue." Those customers will be given multiple warnings before service is suspended.


Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:12:22 PM
re: Charter Tries On Consumption Caps
I agree...probably not for a while, at least in the Charter systems. For now they seem to be leaning toward the hard ceiling, excessive use model. But if Time Warner Cable is successful with its more revenue-centric metering approach, I could see other MSOs moving to such a system eventually. Jeff
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:12:14 PM
re: Charter Tries On Consumption Caps
Checked the Charter AUP this morning, most recently at 11:40 a.m. ET, and it looks like Charter still has the old Acceptable Use Policy for residential HSI customers up there. That one, effective December 2007, points out a "No excessive use of bandwidth" policy, but not the new caps, which we expect to be detailed soon. Here's how the policy is listed now:

13. NO EXCESSIVE USE OF BANDWIDTH
If Charter determines, in CharterG«÷s sole discretion, that Customer is using an excessive amount of bandwidth over the Charter network infrastructure for Internet access or other functions using public network resources, during any period of time, Charter may: (a) adjust, suspend or terminate CustomerG«÷s account or Service at any time and without notice; or (b) require Customer to upgrade CustomerG«÷s service level and pay additional fees in accordance with CharterG«÷s then-current, applicable rates for such Service; or (c) use any technology to be chosen by Charter at its sole discretion including, but not limited to, packet-reset and/or other packet management technology, to slow Service to Customer for purposes of conserving bandwidth.
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:12:13 PM
re: Charter Tries On Consumption Caps

As expected, the new version went live today at:
http://www.charter.com/Visitor...

Here's the update in respect to the new consumption caps:

13. NO EXCESSIVE USE OF BANDWIDTH
Excessive bandwidth is usage beyond a reasonable level for the service subscribed to. Residential service usage will not exceed 100GB of bandwidth per month for Customers subscribing to Services of 15 Mbps or less per month and 250GB of bandwidth per month for Customers subscribing to Service over 15 Mbps and up to 25 Mbps. Charter reserves the right to revise usage limits or to implement additional usage limits. In the event residential usage exceeds the above-described limits Customer will be notified and required to either limit CustomerG«÷s bandwidth consumption to permitted levels/limits or subscribe to a Service with a higher monthly bandwidth limit if a higher limit subscription is available. In the event Customer does not limit bandwidth consumption to permitted levels/limits after notice of the same, Charter may determine, in CharterG«÷s sole discretion, that Customer is using an excessive amount of bandwidth over the Charter network infrastructure for Internet access or other functions using public network resources, during any period of time, Charter may thereafter: (a) adjust, suspend or terminate CustomerG«÷s account or Service at any time and without notice; or (b) require Customer to upgrade CustomerG«÷s service level and pay additional fees in accordance with CharterG«÷s then-current, applicable rates for such Service; (c) cap CustomerG«÷s usage or limit aggregate bandwidth available to Customer; (d) implement prioritization of traffic; (e) implement protocol filtering; or (f) use any technology to be chosen by Charter at its sole discretion including, but not limited to, packet-reset and/or other packet management technology, to slow Service to Customer for purposes of conserving bandwidth. Charter may also notify Customer of excessive use and request Customer to employ corrective or self-limiting actions to comply with this provision.
sarahoneill
50%
50%
sarahoneill,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:12:11 PM
re: Charter Tries On Consumption Caps
Seems that Charter is just sticking it to customers, trying to get them to pay for their new 60mbps service. There's an interesting article about that here:
http://www.atelier-us.com/e-bu...
Featured Video
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 17-19, 2019, Dallas, Texas
October 1-2, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana
October 2-22, 2019, Los Angeles, CA
October 10, 2019, New York, New York
November 5, 2019, London, England
November 7, 2019, London, UK
December 3-5, 2019, Vienna, Austria
December 3, 2019, New York, New York
All Upcoming Live Events