Why you should be disgusted with Time Warner Cable

Don Reisinger thinks we should all be disgusted over Time Warner Cable's most recent pricing scheme for Internet access. Is he right?

In a move that shows how deplorable cable and phone companies truly are, Time Warner Cable will soon start testing metered Internet access in an attempt to curb use of its services.

According to CNET News.com's Jonathan Skillings , "In a test of metered Internet access that's set to begin Thursday, subscribers who go over their limit for uploading and downloading material will be charged $1 per gigabyte."

"The tiered pricing will work this way, for the Internet portion of subscription packages that also include phone or video use: At the low end, users will pay $29.95 per month for service at a speed of 768 kilobits per second, with a 5GB monthly cap. At the high end, users will pay $54.90 per month for service at 15 megabits per second, with a 40GB cap," he continued.

"We think it's the fairest way to finance the needed investment in the infrastructure," Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Cable's executive vice president of advanced technology, said in Monday's AP story.

Is this really what we've come to? A system that penalizes you for using the one tool that will carry almost every industry going forward?

Time Warner Cable and the rest of these cable and phone companies should be ashamed of themselves.

If nothing else, metered Internet access shows how out of touch these companies truly are. 768kbps and 5GB of data? 10Mbps and a 40GB cap? Are you kidding me?

I just don't get it. For some reason, Time Warner Cable is constantly trying to find ways to penalize those users who utilize the Internet in the greatest way possible: using every inch of it to their advantage. Suddenly there's a problem with that now too? Is this 1996?

The Internet is, without a doubt, the most valuable element of our lives. Without it, we wouldn't be able to communicate with people across the world, businesses would be clinging to outdated strategies, and the great benefits we enjoy in life would be nothing more than a hope for the future. In essence, the Internet is bastion of all that is both good and bad, profitable and poor, materialistic and charitable; it is the greatest technological innovation we've had in centuries.

And yet, the very companies that provide us with the ability to use that Internet as we see fit are now developing schemes that would help make them more profitable while we get charged exorbitant fees for access to what is rightfully ours in the first place. That's simply not right.

For years, I've sat back and accepted the fact that companies like Time Warner Cable need to turn a profit and are forced to charge us for access to the Internet to do just that. But now that it's planning on holding our feet to the fire and forcing us to play nice "for the good of all users", I can't accept that.

This plan is nothing more than a ploy for that company (and surely others that will follow suit) to turn an even greater profit under the guise of doing what's best for us. Do you want to know what's best for us? Letting us do what we want, how we want, when we want. Sure, we shouldn't be committing crimes or viewing illegal images, but as long as we're acting within the confines of the law, we should be allowed to do whatever we want.

And therein lies the rub. Without saying it, Time Warner Cable executives and the rest of their flunkies can see the writing on the wall and just now have realized that the future of this business is video. And as video becomes more popular, the strain on these companies will be even greater. And by deciding to initiate ridiculous programs before it reaches critical mass, Time Warner Cable will be able to capitalize on this phenomenon not once, but twice.

Of course, don't expect Time Warner and the rest to actually admit that. Instead of telling us that all it really wants is to find a new pricing scheme that turns a bigger profit, Time Warner Cable sent one of its brainwashed flacks out to allay our fears with a cryptic message: "it's the fairest way to finance the needed investment in the infrastructure."

Sure, buddy. Keep telling yourself that one and maybe a few suckers will believe that there are no ulterior motives here.

Once again, Time Warner Cable has gone out of its way to show us that the executives in that industry have lost touch with reality and truly don't care about what the customers actually want.

The Internet should not be viewed as a privilege anymore, but rather a right of all individuals to use in any way they see fit. As I mentioned above, the Internet is truly as important to all of us as any other facet of our lives and without it, the world would crumble. But if we're constantly held down by companies that don't provide us with our right to unlimited usage, I don't see why we should stand for it.

Time Warner Cable is wrong in every way by instituting this policy, and if it ever decides to expand it nationwide, we should do everything we can to stop it.

I invite Time Warner Cable onto my show, The Digital Home Podcast, to explain itself and give us concrete reasons why we should be forced into this predicament. I would gladly give any representative of that company the opportunity to tell us where I'm off and why it's a good thing. So if Time Warner Cable truly believes in what it's doing and has faith in its decision-making, I call on it to tell us all exactly why that is in a forum that isn't so one-sided. If it's willing to do that, it knows where to find me.

For more on what Don is up to, follow him on Twitter by clicking here!

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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