Back in July, I took a look at how some are considering moving telecom billing practices to a utilities model. In this model, you pay as you go just like with water, electricity, etc. I took a cynical eye toward moving in this direction because the US telecom consumer has been "trained" to "eat all they can" at the telecom "buffet" ( ...wireless roaming, pay per view, and international long distance being exceptions... ).
Susana Schwartz looks at how Time Warner Cable might just have the motivation to move from an "all you can eat" to a "pay as you go" model for their ISP services.
Since it appears that a relatively small percentage accounts for 50% of the traffic on their ISP network; I have some questions:
- I'm impressed that Time Warner Cable has those statistics.
- Since I view the Internet as "free speech" and not "free beer"; what are those 5% of users doing? Running the mother of all World of Warcraft parties?
- How much backlash will come from a switch to a more costly approach?
I believe that Time Warner might be a good test case for utility billing. However, if they want to delay that action and keep their "all you can eat pricing", here are my suggestions...
As a first step, they could put some language in their user agreements similar to Verizon's "limited" unlimited wireless data plans in an attempt to curb this usage. If that didn't work, they have a small enough user base that they can make segmented adjustments to their product plans to put those "high usage" subscribers on a significantly higher plan and thus a diet. Finally, Time Warner could implement the utility billing for those plans above a particular usage level.
While this might seem like a lot to delay a relatively innovative billing decision ( ... and trust me there would be lots of telecoms who would jump at the chance of getting on that bandwagon only AFTER time warner does... ); however any one who has run afoul of the NYC media... perhaps discretion is the better part of valor in this case.
Technorati Tags: Telecommunications, Telecom, Susana Schwartz, Time Warner Cable, Billing, Utility Billing