The US cable operator Time Warner Cable has come under fire from customers for unveiling plans to introduce metered internet tariffs, with subscribers charged extra if they go above monthly download limits. The cableco claims that 5% of its subscribers take up around half the capacity on its networks and the introduction of metered services is intended to create a more level playing field where heavy users must pay for additional traffic. The company says that metered services are fairly common outside the US and the extra revenue generated will enable it to improve its networks. Critics claim, however, that imposing limits on downloads will frighten away users who may be scared of going over their monthly allowance, while it will also curb traffic on music and video download sites such as iTunes.
Time Warner Cable says its new tariffs will range from USD29.95 a month for a service with a 768kbps download speed and a 5GB monthly cap to USD54.90 a month for a 15Mbps service with a 40GB cap. Additional usage will be charged at USD1 per gigabyte. The company is currently trialing metered services with new subscribers in Beaumont, Texas. The largest US cable operator, Comcast, recently revealed that it was considering introducing a 250GB monthly cap for all its internet users.