Friday, April 3, 2009

Time Warner Broadband Mess Update 1

This is an update to the posting I made on April 1 (again, not an April Fools prank) regarding the reports that Time Warner Cable will be instituting usage-based fees upon RoadRunner subscribers who's usage exceeds a set point. I was going to add this to my original posting but it would have made the length of the other posting excessive.
  1. According to a posting on swik.net, the expansion of the so-called "trial" of consumption-based billing was in the works as early as Feburary 4. Also interesting in this article is the reappearance of our reader (recall, who commented right here on my blog) Jeff Simmermon, who apparently is a Time Warner Cable spokesman.
  2. Also, in a posting referenced in #1, Stacey Higginbotham reported that at&t also did the same thing to the people of Beaumont, TX late in 2008. So I will expand everything I said in my previous article to include at&t as well: Both companies suck, although at 150 GB per month (versus Time Warners 5-40 GB/month), at least at&t sucks less in this case.
  3. I checked into the price (for Austin, TX) for Time Warner Cable Business Class "access" service. For 10Mb/s x 512Kb/s service (slightly better than RoadRunner standard service) the cost is $120/month, three times the residential cost for cable TV subscribers and a little more than twice the price for non-TV subscribers. An increased upload speed of 1Mb/s cost $150/month. None of these include taxes and fees (whatever they are).
  4. Since they do not include their acceptable use policy on the web site, I am unable to determine whether or not customers of Time Warner Business Class service can be (1) subject to a consumption-based fee as well, and (2) whether my neighbors behind me can share my service or not. I suspect that (1) will not happen because they wouldn't dare piss-off their business customers although they probably could, and (2) is probably specifically prohibited in some legal mumble-jumble buried deep in the service agreement.
  5. Time Warner Cable plans to have a "meter" available to customers in the areas with the usage-based charges. Since I cannot see most of Time Warner Cables web site any longer (YOU JERKS MADE IT ALMOST ALL FLASH OR SOMETHING UNUSABLE WITHOUT IT, GODDAMNIT!) I imagine trying to access the stupid meter without a fscking Microsoft operating system will be futile.
  6. It is not clear to me whether the constant stream of arp traffic (it's a network protocol) from other RoadRunner customers that I see on my connection will be included as part of the traffic I allegedly use. If you don't know what I mean, stop doing anything on your computer and watch the lights on your cable modem. You'll see the receive data light on or blinking rapidly all the time. That's all the RoadRunner customers on the same neighborhood hub trying to find the low-level ("media access control, " or "MAC") address for the router that handles their traffic.
So my plan of action, for what its worth, is that I will likely be forced (so to speak) to stay with standard, residential RoadRunner until such time as I start to exceed the limits they impose on me. I will install my own usage meter on the Ethernet interface facing the cable system, and keep metrics on my usage so I can get a better idea of what my usage looks like now. I am also going to keep metrics on all that arp traffic... If any Linux users with iptables wants to cooperate with me on the traffic metrics, please leave me feedback and I will forward along the utilities and iptables rules I will be using.

In short, Time Warner cable has "The power to screw you over." I notice they stopped the slogan, "We think like you think." Ha! If they knew what I was thinking now, their brain would start to melt.

3 comments:

Interceptor said...

As you've already said, the real problem here is not so much the existence of caps as it is the ridiculously low # of GB per month they are proposing. My only question now is whether they will retroactively change existing contracts. I just recently locked into a 2-year "price lock" guarantee. If they are going to change my Terms of Service now, they had better not expect me to pay the cancellation fee if (when) I cancel.

l said...

If this comes about I will cancel my broadband service with time warner since the markup on this is tremendous

Interceptor said...

News on the Time Warner front.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/04/time-warner-cable-to-press-stop-questioning-our-caps.ars