Time Warner Cable is getting widely scolded for testing metered Internet usage. The fear is that the added charges for large downloads (or uploads) will discourage innovation on the Web, particularly nascent video delivery services.
On top of the charges to rent a high-definition movie over the Web, it might cost an extra $10 or $20 to download it. That's assuming a user has exceeded what many are calling Time Warner's paltry bandwidth caps. "Our first reaction: Are these a typo?" write Dan Frommer and Vasanth Sridharan at Silicon Valley Insider.
Time Warner says the added charges are the fairest way to finance new Web infrastructure. Don Reisenger calls it a shameful guise to pump up profits.
At about the same time comes word that Time Warner wants to deliver Web video to living room TVs. The cableco would offer a new wireless router that would connect the TV to the Web. "Within a relatively short time...it's going to be very easy to get Internet TV on your big-screen TV," Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt told a New York conference.
So Time Warner will encourage video downloads, while hitting users with steep charges. Hmm. Expect more scolding.