Lat's take a little look at my bandwidth usage over the weekend. I have Time Warner Cable in one of the areas they are now implementing metered service - though I should not be affected since I have business class service (and have had for 7 years now).
- Reinstall Windows XP/MS Office 2007 on my laptop. Download and install updated. Usage: 2GB - 3GB.
- Downlaod game demo for The Last Remnant. Usage: 1GB
- Pull a copy of the project documentation/source code for work. Usage: 500MB
- Connect to my office via Citrix and get some work done. Usage: Unknown
- Play a few capture the flag matches with friends on Unreal. Usage: Unknown
- Surf the web aimlessly for three hours when I just meant to look up a recipe. Usage: Unknown
- Download and install the latest security tools (AV, Spyware, Etc), and install them on my laptop. Usage: 100MB
- Upload photos from my camera to flickr: Usage: 50MB
- Receive photos in email from friends/family: Usage: 50MB
Note the unknowns in the list. Their are many things where the bandwidth usage just is not well defined, so how am I to judge their cost? Even if we ignore that, I would guess that I used 5 to 6 GB in just one day for those items listed. Without streaming video, without downloading the latest Ubuntu, without using any file sharing application or tool I have already used a good portion of my "allocated" bandwidth. Nothing I did would be considered "extreme" usage, and everything I did would have been considered normal usage 10 Years Ago. So why is it my ability is being limited now?
Why is it only in areas without reasonable competition that this is being deployed?
Why is it the cost per unit of bandwidth is so unreasonably high?
Why are their "caps" so artificially low?
These are the questions, and until I receive good answers, I will have to refer to Time Warner's broadband offerings with scorn.
In terms of competition, this area does have AT&T as an alternative. I did try to switch to AT&T on three occasions, on each of these occasions the incompetence of their agents and the lack of communication between the companies numerous divisions and their agents made me go back to TW. The only reason I was trying to switch was so I could get more that one static IP at a reasonable cost. Even though I practically live downtown, they were never able to 1) arrive on their scheduled date, 2) arrive at their scheduled time, 3) provide the equipment needed to use their services, 4) Provision the account for use, and 5) Mark the account as active. The one time I finally got the service to work (three months late), it stopped working after two weeks. When I called, I was told that my installation had been canceled because I was too far away from the CO for DSL to work (I had been using it successfully for three weeks at this point). Every time I have dealt with AT&T, it has been a comedy of errors, screw-ups, and misinformation. Thankfully, I had never cut off my cable modem. I have not tried again in a number of years, as my need for the multiple addresses evaporated. I am not inclined to give them another chance.
Until they started this metered broadband crap, I have actually been happy with the service I receive from Time Warner's Road Runner Service. I have had no serious billing or technical issues, and have always received prompt, courteous service. I don't like the scripts their first line of tech support people go through, but once you get past them, their people are usually knowledgeable. The only reason I ever considered moving away was because I wanted a service they did not offer for a reasonable fee.