Time Warner is testing throttled — severely throttled — tiered pricing for internet access, putting it at odds with its customers, with the media industry, and with the future of the internet. I’d like to discuss how they could think differently about their business and customers. What if, instead of a gatekeeper, they saw themselves as platforms or technology innovators or catalysts or enablers?
The AP reports (via PaidContent) that TW will charge subscribers in Beaumont, Texas, will be charged $29.95 a month for slow service at 768 kilobits per second and a 5-gigabyte monthly cap up to $54.90 per month for 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap; going over will cost them $1 per gig. For scale, the AP points out, a standard def movie is about 1.5 gigabytes and a high-definition movie is 6 to 8 gigs.
So Time Warner could end up charging customers more for watching a movie than the service selling the movie, whether that is iTunes or Netflix. I’m sure that’s quite on purpose. It is TW’s FU to the net neutrality debate: If we can’t gouge both ends of the pipe, we’ll doubly gouge the one that is stuck with us. [ more ]