Time Warner bandwidth caps in Texas and NY

3 minutes

In this age of ubiquitous Internet access, not to mention the plethora of content that has been migrated from more traditional delivery media, to online repositories (read Hulu, CBS, etc), it is preposterous to even conceive, much less bring into regulation, that which is anathema for all dedicated, educated web users, namely Bandwidth Caps.
I have watched in alarm as Time Warner, Frontier, Comcast – the “premier” ISPs in this region have started this new exercise of enforcing (at various stages of implementation) bandwidth caps – limitations on how much a user may download – across markets in Texas and Rochester, NY. This does not affect me directly at present, as where I live, these caps are yet to be implemented and it stands to reason that since this area is a “highly-competitive” region, caps will probably not be implemented anytime soon. However, this is a travesty no matter where it happens.
The companies maintain that without caps, they simply can’t survive and limitations free Internet access is not viable. Hogwash, the amount they plan to charge PER GB is nearly 98 cents/ dollar more than what the cost is to them. It is a case of utter greed, and turning unimaginable profits by bilking consumers which due to the already monopolistic reach of ISPs are starved for choice.
I point to examples from the rest of the world. Sweden, Japan, Netherlands – ultra fast access with none of the limitations hogwash. So this utter nonsense of non-viability, is this restricted to the ISPs in the English speaking world?
Some argue bandwidth caps as those implemented by Comcast are fair and just – and to those arguments I thumb my nose. Any kind of restriction, any kind of caps are anathema to this medium, as we approach the age of DOCSIS 3.0, and Fiber Optic to home. An analogy I read on one of the blogs around the webz, likened the situation to regulating the number of hours one may watch TV.
Suppose for the basic channels one subscribes to, one is told that for $50 a month one may watch 20 hours of cable, and for each additional hour the cable company will charge an extra dollar. I am sure some of the meek ones in the crowd will comply and some might even cut down the amount of time they watch TV to 20 hours a month. Whichever the case may be, the viewer has lost the freedom to choose. No matter if the company allows 20 hours or 50 hours, any kind of cap runs against the grain.
There is hope and there are voices rising in crescendo against these ISP enforced regulations – voices from across the blogosphere, twitterscape and forums that are reaching our representatives. Representatives such as Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mayoral candidate Lee Leffingwell, and others are proactive in their condemnation of Time Warner and their proposed bandwidth caps.
An excellent website to keep abreast of developments and network with like-minded users is StopTheCap. Join up and share your ideas, and if you are affected/incensed by this, join in the effort. We need to speak up now as a community.


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