updated 12:20 pm EST, Thu January 17, 2008
Time Warner bandwidth cap
Time Warner Cable has confirmed a leaked memo concerning bandwidth caps, the Associated Press writes. The memo indicates that in Beaumont, Texas, new customers will soon become part of a trial in which tiers are offered with maximum download limits, instead of the normally uncapped service common to American Internet providers. Alex Dudley, a spokesman for Time Warner, says that the measure is an experiment in improving network performance.
According to Dudley, an approximate five percent of Time Warner's customers consume as much as 50 percent of available bandwidth through heavy downloading. Specifically, it is believed that most of the content is HD video. The Beaumont trial is tentatively expected in the second quarter of this year.
Time Warner's strategy is representative of a broader industry trend, in which ISPs across North America have sought various means to improve network speeds without upgrading infrastructure. Caps are already present for Rogers customers in Canada, and America's Comcast may be hit with FCC fines following discoveries relating to BitTorrent traffic. It was revealed that the company deliberately sabotages customers' BitTorrent transfers, a tactic widely considered a violation of net neutrality.