Time Warner Lays Groundwork for Future Rip-Off
In April, a full-blown customer revolt forced Time Warner Cable to temporary halt its metered billing program — a tiered-pricing system that charges customers based on how much bandwidth they consume. (Like cell phone plans, but more unworkable and annoying because it’s impossible to gauge how much bandwidth is being used at any one time).
As customer ire grew, TWC spokespeople unconvincingly argued that the program was meant to keep heavy users from devouring too much bandwidth and slowing down Internet traffic for everyone else. Not surprisingly, no one bought TWC's claims that their primary concern was the wellbeing of customers, as opposed to, say, creating a new revenue stream and curbing online consumption of their cable offerings.
Not to be swayed by consumer wants and needs though, Time Warner pledged to reintroduce the program at an undisclosed later date, following a sinisterly-termed “customer education process." So, it’s only a matter of time before there's an explosion of fake consumer rights groups and other fun astrosurf that try to convince you it’s in your interest to pay more for Internet. (Look forward to ads featuring distressed old people wondering why they can’t read emails from their grandkids. “You! It’s because of you and all that online porn you watch!” their eyes will accuse.)
It looks like TWC is already laying the legal groundwork for their propaganda campaign. Some sharp-eyed TWC customers noticed a recent change to their terms of service, as Stacey Higginbotham reports on Gigaom: