Policy + charging

Metered Usage Test Rolls On

After a brief delay caused by Hurricane Ike, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s usage-based, metered Internet trial is back on track in the MSO's Beaumont, Texas system.

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett noted in late September that the first usage-based bills started to arrive when the storm hit, causing the MSO to halt the test and consider restarting it in a different market.

The test involves charging $1 for every Gigabyte consumed beyond a given limit: 5 GB for TWC's 768-kbit/s (downstream) tier, 20 GB for its 7-Mbit/s offering, and 40 GB for its 15-Mbit/s service. (See TWC Tees Up Metered Internet Trial .)

Fellow U.S. operator Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has yet to try out a metered billing model for its cable modem service, but it has installed a 250 GB ceiling to keep excessive users in check. (See Comcast Draws the Line at 250GB.)

Canadian MSO Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RG; Toronto: RCI) has already deployed a metered model across the board. (See Rogers Takes Internet Meter to the Masses.)

Although TWC's trial is underway again, the temporary interruption could delay the initial results and slow down the MSO's next steps involving metered usage models.

While the test in Beaumont is proving that such a system works, Time Warner Cable is still gathering customer feedback and will next try to see if the concept can scale to a larger system. "But we're not there yet," Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley says.

Time Warner Cable serves about 90,000 subscribers in its Beaumont/Port Arthur system.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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