Protect Our Rights to Unlimited Internet Access

Those of us in the United States of America have come to expect and rightfully demand unlimited and unfettered access to the internet at large.  Time Warner Cable, in a move already being copied by ISPs across the country has formally announced its plan to expand their testing of internet usage caps, and to introduce them to its customers in Austin & San Antonio, TX, Rochester, NY and Greensboro, NC.

TWC is to begin collecting information on customers' Internet use this month.  Consumption billing will then begin later this summer. In Greensboro, N.C., billing changes will occur even sooner!

Just like cell-phone providers collect fees from subscribers who exceed their minutes, TWC will end a longstanding pricing strategy among ISPs. Typically, phone and cable companies charge flat fees for unlimited access to the Web.

Instituting tiered Web-use pricing will limit consumer choice and could stifle innovation by limiting the demand for high-bandwidth services like online video and music.  A download of one typical high-def movie would eat up around 8GB of a customers monthly allotment.  Those going over their allotment can expect charges of around $1 per GB over.

A recent report from Sanford C. Bernstein suggests that a family on a 40 GB plan (the highest proposed tier thus far) that streams 7.25 hours of online video a week (a fraction of the 60 hours Americans spend watching TV in a typical week) could end up spending $200 per month on broadband usage fees. And that's just for video viewing and not factoring in activities such as music downloads, photo sharing, online gaming, video conferencing, telecommuting, virtual private networking, VoIP telefony, etc.

A national migration from flat rate to metered billing will only succeed if carriers work together to institute obnoxiously low caps and painfully expensive overage fees. Otherwise, the un-metered competitor in a metered market can highlight how Time Warner Cable, Frontier or AT&T is being a cheapskate, charging users an insanely high markup on bandwidth over cost. Of course, if you don't have many other viable competitors (and change the laws to keep it that way), you can do, well, whatever the hell you'd like.

WE THINK OTHERWISE, and therefore intend to let TWC and ALL BROADBAND ISPs know that internet access MUST ALWAYS REMAIN UNLIMITED AND UNFETTERED!

Even if you're not a subscriber of TWC, AT&T, or Frontier, you must sign this petition.  Once the ISPs realize that they can get away with this, they'll all jump at the opportunity.  And those of you who are subscribers?  We must be willing to put our money where our mouth is... that is hurt Time Warner Cable where it really matters, THEIR BOTTOM LINE.  We must take our business elsewhere until TWC comes to their senses and does the right thing... and that is to provide outstanding customer service to their customers and to not restrict our right to unlimited and unfettered internet access.

Thank you! 
We in America have long lived in the era of unlimited and unfettered access to the Internet at large ever since its creation and introduction to the general populace.  As such, we are alarmed at your insinuation that it is in OUR best interest to go along with your plans to start capping our Internet consumption.  As such, we the undersigned hereby profoundly urge you to reconsider your position on this topic.

Since the only thing that corporations truly respond to is their bottom line, our position will be that if consumption billing is introduced to our metro markets, we as value conscious consumers will have no choice but to drop your services... ALL OF THEM!

You suggest that Time Warner Cable's existing flat-rate pricing model isn't "viable" enough to fund essential infrastructure upgrades. That's simply not the case. Your company has been very profitable under the flat-rate model, and you've consistently found creative new ways to generate additional income, such as with DNS Redirection Advertising. 

In reality, you are obviously pursuing metered billing because it gives you a way to monetize and control Internet video, which poses a very serious long term threat to your cable television revenues. This pressure to shift to metered billing also comes from your investors, who obviously love the idea of charging consumers more money for the same (or less) service in an age where the cost of bandwidth and network hardware continues to drop exponentially.

While many of us may may not know what a gigabyte is, we understand enough to be skeptical when an already very profitable company starts complaining about not having the necessary resources to afford inexpensive upgrades. Please also keep in mind that Time Warner Cable has yet to officially announce DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades in a single market, so just how committed are you to upgrade your infrastructure in accordance with growing demand.  We also are conscious of the fact that being charged a dollar per gigabyte for bandwidth you, the carrier, pay pennies for is absolutely ridiculous.

Therefore once again we reiterate to you that if consumption billing is introduced to our metro area markets, we the consumer will take our business elsewhere, even knowing that you've purposely staged these "tests" in markets where there is little to no viable alternative.
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