updated 03:40 pm EDT, Thu April 16, 2009
TWC Meter Gone in NY Town
Time Warner Cable has scrapped its plans to trial metered Internet access in Rochester after political resistance, local news said on Thursday. Senator Chuck Schumer delivered surprise news that he had successfully negotiated with the Internet provider to drop Rochester from a planned expansion of metering, which would otherwise have arrived in August. A lack of competition is cited as the primary factor, as subscribers wouldn't get enough alternatives to Time Warner if they dislike the caps and overages.
It's uncertain whether the canceled trial will affect any permanent rollout of capped service in Rochester, though Sen. Schumer vows to "work with" Time Warner on future developments.
The objection contributes to mounting opposition to the concept, which has already resulted in Time WArner delaying Austin and San Antonio trials until October as well as boosting caps and limiting overage fees. Protests are known to be in development in Greensboro, North Carolina, where trials are set to start at the same time as when Rochester would have started its own service.
Time Warner has repeatedly argued that the caps are necessary to reflect the increasing data transfer costs as users consume more video, but critics have argued that the costs are disproportionately much lower than Time Warner's planned charges and that the caps are placed artificially low to protect Time Warner's TV business. They also note that none of the trials are scheduled in areas where competitors can supply equal or significantly better Internet speeds without caps, such as in AT&T U-Verse or Verizon FiOS areas. [via BBR]