Cable Giants Continue Hoping No One Will Notice Their Attempts to Destroy the Internet
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Last week, a full-on customer revolt forced Time Warner to cease their metered billing program — a system in which Internet users sign up for differently priced broadband plans and pay extra if they exceed their bandwidth limits. The plan was an infuriating inconvenience (e.g. rip—off) premised on the ethical business concept that you can arbitrarily jack up prices on a product if a heavily-monopolized marketplace leaves customers with little in the way of consumer choice.
Seems like a sweet idea. Except that Time Warner customers, media reform groups and tech bloggers inundated both government Representatives and the company with complaints. Soon, members of Congress were winning easy points by vocally criticizing Time Warner. On April 15th, CEO Glenn Britt announced that the company was dropping metered billing.
Anyway, not having learned anything from Time Warner’s epic fail, AT & T continues to maintain metered billing in Reno, Nev., and in Beaumont, Texas., which signals the cable giant's hopes that the infuriating, universally despised program might just work for them. Except that AT&T risks becoming even more hateable than Time Warner.
As Stacey Higginbotham reports on Gigaom, there is evidence that AT&T doesn’t even bother informing their customers of the usage caps until after they have signed up for service: