Reading the TWC Tea Leaves

Rachel Barnhart has the news about Time-Warner's new position on bandwidth caps. According to TWC, it's all a big "misunderstanding" that requires better communication. A better "dialog" with customers is needed, one that will be facilitated by new measurement tools that TWC is rolling out.

Putting aside TWC's transparent bullshit, consider this:

  • The old saying "The shortest line between a TV camera and a politician is defined by Chuck Schumer" is proven once again, but the bait that brought Schumer running was the huge amount of national publicity that Eric Massa garnered by pushing this issue.
  • This is the first battle in a long war, and Time-Warner is going to be a hell of a lot smarter next time. Their cable revenue is in danger, and they'll fight until the death to protect their core business.
  • Frontier could have been a major beneficiary of TWC's greed and stupidity, but instead, they're further marginalized:

    Schumer said customers do not consider Frontier, the other major Internet provider in town, to be on par with Time Warner.

    Frontier provides excellent Internet service in Rochester, but their residual phone company idiocy/conservatism leaves them as the perpetual bridesmaid in the Rochester Internet market.

  • Anyone thinking about running against Massa in 2010 should call up Time-Warner, every other cable and telecommunications company, and their associated lobbying groups. Each one of these firms will max out, no questions asked.


Chuck Schumer? I Googled and Time Warner and the only hits I got this month were from today, that has to be a mistake!!!

Eric said today "Together we have won and I am glad that I was able to play a small part in bringing about this change. This is a true grassroots victory...." It was a grassroots victory, the people started a grass fire and Eric fed it with fuel to the point that Time Warner capitulated.

What was it that Chuck Schumer did? I remember now, he announced the victory. You're doin' a heck of a job Chuckie!!!

What did Schumer do? He called a press conference.


Time Warner Cable also announced that it is working to make measurement tools available as quickly as possible. These tools will help customers understand how much bandwidth they consume and aid in the dialog going forward.

What do you want to bet that they will be 1) Windoze only, and 2) backed by TWC's remarkably lackluster customer support.

In other words, they will be next to worthless.

TWC, inspiring confidence with every misstep they take.

Or they'll put up some account-based BS web tool that you can pretend shows your usage. I'm going to continue tracking ours for future reference/ammunition.

If they have tools to show how little Internet you're using and how this change won't affect you, doesn't that almost define the non-issue of bandwidth overuse?

And when's the last time you heard of a corporation doing things that don't make them money? Why stir up the hornet's nest if you're not going to make a profit?

Their goal at the moment is to get "big use" defined down to the smallest number possible. The reason they chose this moment is because we're at the dawn of Internet replacing cable as a delivery medium for TV, and most users don't yet watch a lot of video over the Internet.

TWC wants everyone to look at their usage meter and breathe a sigh of relief, so everyone will think that 40GB is a "fair cap".

The real answer is for them to tier Internet by speed, with the current price and speed as a benchmark, so there are no overage charges, no reason to worry about usage, and the user knows if they're consuming enough by how fast their web pages download.