The nation’s second largest cable TV and internet provider in the nation, Time Warner Cable has been offering tens of millions of their customers to downgrade to a 30GB plan for $5 less a month and almost none of them are taking it. As it is right now, regardless of what speed plan you purchase from Time Warner Cable, you get unlimited data usage over your wired home connection. But, if you for some reason use less than 30 GB a month, they offer you to give up your unlimited plan in order to save $5 a month. But, Time Warner Cable’s customers are so uninterested in this plan that even though they over it to over 10 million of their broadband customers, only thousands have signed up.
This offer is something that Time Warner Cable clearly has as an option to reduce their costs without really saving the customer that much money. After all, you only end up saving about $60 a year if you go with the limited internet plan as opposed to the standard internet plan. Not just that, but if you DO go over the 30 GB cap, Time Warner Cable will charge you $1 per GB you go over that cap, up to $25. Essentially negating the point of even having the plan discount to begin with. Essentially, their goal is just to encourage people to use less data or who use less data to sign up for the capped plan.
Even though, we are consuming more data than ever before with more mobile devices hooked onto Wi-Fi, more services that are cloud-connected, and the endless amounts of HD video streaming through Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. I’m sure the average family uses more than 30 GB of video a month if you look at a modern family of four with all four users using the internet daily. This would effectively amount to 250 MB of data per person, per day if you were to go with the 30 GB plan, which is simply unrealistic. That’s also why a lot of customers have complained about AT&T and Comcast services which don’t offer data caps as an option. Even though, it appears that in some markets Comcast does not have data caps, which may be due to some sort of competition. Even so, AT&T still does cap their Uverse customers and generally warns and then charges customers that consistently go over.
The worst part is that all of these companies are so worried about caps and bandwidth and not actually focusing on what Google is doing, delivering world class internet to people. Google does not even mention the idea of data caps. Why not? Because, at a Gigabit, you’re going to chew through bandwidth at rates that you didn’t even know were possible. Because Gigabit internet is such an enabling force, Google is forcing their competitors, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner, to roll out more affordable and faster services. These competitors of Google’s are forcing them to do what they should’ve done years ago, but didn’t because they essentially have a duopoly and competition isn’t necessary. However, with the introduction of Google as an ISP and IPTV provider, these companies are shaking in their boots, and they should be.
People don’t want data caps, and they want faster speeds so they spend less time waiting. Simple as that.