Time Warner trying usage-based billing in Texas

twc I’ll be damned, they’re actually doing it.

Time Warner will be testing out a pay-for-what-you-use program for its high speed Internet service in Beaumont, Texas. This, based on findings that about 5 percent of the network’s users account for more than half the bandwidth.

Here’s the problem, though. What happens when all the high-bandwidth users leave for the nearest competitor? You know, the competitor that offers unlimited bandwidth? Only in places where Time Warner has little-to-no competition (like Beaumont, coincidentally) will this work.

I’m not keen on usage-based because, like many of you, I use a LOT of bandwidth. Do I think my parents should pay the same as me, though? I guess not, but they’ve come to terms with the fact that high speed Internet access costs $50 per month and I’m pretty sure they don’t think it’s unfair that I use more of it than they do.  

On that note, I’ll be VERY interested to see how much the lowest-bandwidth-using people end up saving each month. If they go from paying $50 down to $20, I’ll be mightily impressed. Given our cable companies’ penchant for making money hand over fist, however, I’m not too sure we’ll see those big numbers. I’m guessing it’ll be more along the lines that mom and dad pay $35 while Johnny BitTorrent gets a $150 bill, instead of both parties each paying $50. Here’s to proving me wrong, though.

Time Warner to test Internet billing based on usage [Reuters]