Time-Warner bandwidth cap protest this Saturday in Rochester NY

Adam sez, "There's going to be a large protest in Rochester, NY on Saturday to fight the upcoming "tired pricing" aka absurdly-low bandwidth caps. This is not only anti-competitive, but it will cost local residents significantly more, in an economy that is already hurting. Not to mention deaf folks who rely on video chat for ASL, etc... It'd be great if people would come and show their support to convince Time Warner (RoadRunner) to abandon the plan. If we successfully fight this here, perhaps other communities across the country won't have to."

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Time: 11:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Time Warner Cable Store
Street: 71 Mt. Hope Avenue
City/Town: Rochester, NY
Join the Time Warner broadband capping protest!

Protest RoadRunner's new pricing scheme

Stop the Cap!


  1. hmmmm…

    If I have a very low bandwidth cap, I’ll just eliminate every possible form of advertising from my download stream.

    This is good for business?

  2. I don’t know that protesting this actually makes any sense. Given they’re looking to make more money here, would a large scale boycott make more sense.

    As many people as are able should switch to another isp or just go with out. Remaining customers should refuse to pay their bill until the cap is listed. Perhaps even turning their computers into total bandwidth hogging demon boxes to drive up Time Warner’s costs.

    Doing everything you can to make sure they lose money should work better than waving signs. Especially given the economy.

  3. @2, I live in Rochester. The problem is that we have *no* other ISP even remotely comparable to RoadRunner. The one and only other option is DSL from Frontier – far slower and far less reliable.

    That, of course, is just what TimeWarner wants – they’re doing this in cities in which there are no viable alternatives.

    Not pay my bill? Having my account sent to a collection agency AND losing net access is going to help how, exactly?

  4. Why all the protesting now? Kind of late I think. Bandwidth caps aren’t new. I don’t think there are ANY isps left in Canada without low bandwidth caps.

    I’d probably be happy to pay the $150/mo for guaranteed unlimited unshaped unfiltered internet at this point. As it is I’m paying $25/mo for shaped slow 5gb/week capped .edu internet.

  5. Living in Rochester myself I have looked into alternatives. Earthlink is available. It’s not as fast as RR but it’s better than Frontier. Earthlink should be nice and maybe they’ll get some new customers.

  6. Guys, bandwidth caps are good.

    1) They place a value on torrents. Is that TV show worth the traffic usage? How about the movie? Back when bittorrent first came out, if you did the math, (in NZ) it cost more to torrent it than buy it from Amazon.
    2) It implements a usage based price model. Here in NZ, they’ve got usage based pricing – I’m on a 10mbps link and I _get_ 10mbps, prime time. For 6 months, the company couldn’t provide it, so they refunded everyone to the lower plan (that they could provide).
    3) It means that the ISP has _no_ reason to limit the type of traffic you transmit (or the amount). It’s all bits to them, and each one has _profit_ written on it.

  7. Maybe I am misunderstanding the terminology, but isn’t this really a transfer cap? They are basically allowing you to move a certain amount of data across the network before they impose a cap, versus how quickly you move that data from your computer.

    As I understand it, and has been presented on other sites, Time Warner’s costs for running the network have been going down while they are experiencing increases in profit. In that light it just highlights that this is motiviated by squeezing customers and also the possibility of trying to prevent viewers from bypassing cable tv programming (via Hulu and other outlets).

    I think it’s safe to say that Canada has crappy internet access rules and regulations. Just because they have had caps doesn’t mean we should have to as well.

  8. @4 There’s no guaranteed of unshaped or unfiltered traffic. Specifically the language they used in their statements is “virtually unlimited” so for $150 you’d probably still be limited one way or another.

  9. Caps are utterly standard in New Zealand (heads-up for possible migrants…)

    The was one occasion when the encumbent was finally convinced to start offering real speed and someone worked out you could use up the cap for that package in about 12 seconds.

  10. I don’t understand why people think this is so unjust. That’s a perfectly logical and reasonable way to charge for a service. Nobody protests when a restaurant doesn’t serve all-you-can-eat all of the time. Regarding deaf folks, haven’t people with disabilities always had more expensive lifestyles? I don’t think that burden belongs intrinsically on the cable companies. I think people want to protest just because they’re not used to it, and think they’re entitled to what they’re used to.

  11. On the positive side, bandwidth caps would be an incentive for people to clean up their zombies….

  12. @5 in Rochester, Earthlink uses the TimeWarner cable network. You don’t really think TW is going to let Earthlink keep using their network and offer unlimited transfers for less money, do you?

  13. They’re doing the cap in Austin- I don’t think that they are only doing it in places that have no alternative.

    I’m all for caps- bandwidth isn’t free. The era where it is an unlimited pipe and you can suck all you want out is going out with video over the net.

    I have Speakeasy DSL and it runs great. AT&T keeps offering me U-Verse. They can’t compete on offering me a static IP and no limits on servers. I do pay more, but it is worth it.

  14. This is pretty ridiculous. Gouging the consumer just because they can. TW’s profit margins are already huge, this is just greed. My thought is that TW and others are implementing this system in order to profit off the ever increasing number of streaming video sites on the web. They had better do this now before streaming video like netflix becomes too popular and changing would be more noticed.

  15. Most of the houses, condos and apartments built or renovated in the “Austin service area” of TW during this decade no longer have AT&T connections. This includes my own home.

    TW, or a proxy, is the only option. Another company which operates in the northern suburbs has been coming “about six months from now” to my neighborhood for four years.

    For the same not quite $50 per month, I consume 5% of my monthly allowance just by turning my machine on. The caps are artificially low and punitive.

    I shall soon find myself living in a home without internet access for the first time in fifteen years.

  16. These are traffic quotas, yes?

    We’ve had them in Australia forever. They are not the end of the world. For the vast majority of people it’s really hard to justify that you legitimately need 10 or 20 gig of traffic per month for legitimate stuff.

    Though I must say that I personally prefer throttling to overage charges when you hit your quota.

    (I should check my usage these days. I probably don’t even have to be on the plan I’m on…)

  17. Don’t we all already have bandwidth caps? It’s however many bits you can download per month times the speed at which you are connected. This gives a total possible quantity of bits one could download in one month, varying depending on your connection speed. Anytime you’re not saturating your connection, you’re not getting your money’s worth.

    If the companies want to offer plans with lower caps, then just offer plans with lower speeds, and the math will work out to a lower maximum number of bits per month.

  18. If many people dump Time Warner, then they will stop the practice. Otherwise, they won’t. Protesting or writing letters will do very little compared to that. If there truly is no choice, then government help will be needed.

  19. Rogers in Ontario has been upping their prices slowly but surely for, effectively, the same service for quite a while now. Recently they did one wise move: they instituted a -limited- charge for transfer over a certain limit. if you download more than 75 gigs a month they start charging you an extra dollar per gig, but they don’t go more than 25 dollars over.. so if you pay 100 dollars you have effectively unlimited downloads. The problem is they’ve been charging 60, then 75 and now 100 for fast-pipe-and-unlimited-downloads for the past few years, and nothing stops them from changing the game again in the future, at their whim, to where the customer just has to keep paying and paying. Worst of all, the CRTC knows that the networks aren’t anywhere -near- at capacity but refuses to step in because it’s believed that the only people who download THAT much data MUST be pirates. Evidently these people have never heard of streaming HD video, streaming multi-channel audio (so very wonderful), or collaborative audio and video production.

  20. @Takuan:

    sidewalks are not free. Are you a home owner? Tax payer?

    You are talking about a municipal utility that is owned by the public and run at enough profit to keep it going and up to date. There is nothing free about that. Would it be cheaper? Most definitely. So go to your city council and build a movement to have municipal internet. It could be cable, ethernet, wifi, fiber optic. But it will still take money to build and maintain. The cable and phone companies are private companies that operate on a public right-of-way (telephone poles).

    Here in Washington state there are places that have a public electrical utility and electricity is cheap. Some have a private utility that is regulated. Which is better? The public utility by far. So why no public utility for internet? Well some places have that too. But it’s tough to get started and buillt without a LOT of cash.

    As for “anti-competitive”, come on. Buying up the competition and closing them down would be anti-competitive. Just because the alternatives to the cable company internet suck is not anti-competitive nor the cable company’s fault. I have cable internet. If the phone company was better AND cheaper I’d switch in a heartbeat.

    Yes, the roots of the internet were built by DARPA, but that backbone wouldn’t support a fraction of today’s users. The real backbone had been built mostly by private industry.

    The place you should be directing your anger is at all the over-the-air bandwidth that is controlled by the FCC and sold to the highest bidder. The cable company is transmitting on their cable, but those are YOUR airwaves. That’s where you’re really getting screwed. The FCC needs to set aside REAL chunks of the airwaves for municipal broadband. Cheap to deploy and maintain. That being said, I have a friend who runs a very good ISP over 2.4GHz and 900MHz public bands. It can be done, even in densely populated areas. You need sectoring and narrow focus antennas but it’s possible. Of course where does that bandwidth at the other end come from? Well you have to build enough infrastructure to become a peer. Stop wasting your time protesting a private company just doing business and use that internet connection you have now to do some research on a real alternative.


  21. sidewalks are used by all without thought. Certainly taxes pay for them, but anyone may walk on them, taxpayer or not. Because they are NECESSARY.

  22. Worth noting that the comment about deaf users is not just idle musings: Rochester is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), Rochester School for the Deaf, and a thriving deaf community.

  23. 1. WAKE UP. All internet activity is already being “spliced” and re-routed to a data mining server. They would love you to limit your usages so that their massive pile of data wouldnt keep growing out of control.
    2. What they are saying is that they want to control every persons usage not just the ones who are truly abusing their service.
    3. It doesnt cost them any more money than it did before, the only thing that is changing is they want to make MORE MONEY. People are already having trouble paying for food/gas/heat. NOBODY SHOULD BE PAYING OUT THE EAR FOR INFORMATION.
    4. It would literally take one very rich man to put an end to the cable companies monopoly which would knock their asses off their high horses and back to reality. Only with a choice can people get what they truly want/need. A monopoly of gas service, electrical service, phone service, and cable service is against the law yet they have enough money to keep most other companies at bay and on hold.
    5. Comcast is Charter is Cox is etc. etc. They all have a massive and ignorant monopoly over sections of the country that they simply will not relinquish. Every time a company comes through and makes a bid they find a way to squash it fast. Either by assuring that anyone buying service will be absolutely have to pay more than the monopoly company for the same service. They also lobby the cities and cause funny restrictions to pop up at the last minute canceling any possibility.
    6. One of these companies I know personally. They recently laid off allllllll of their customer service besides phone service. No cable support, no internet support, that was forwarded to pakistan and thailand, etc.
    7. Cable companies will cut your service for a bill over $20. they have federal right to enter your property at any reasonable time with or without your permission if “their” pole is on your property. The people who come to your home almost never truly work for the cable companies, they solely use sub contractors to export any blame onto the other company.
    8. Bandwidth caps are not only illegal they are ridiculous. I cant suddenly change my contract and say yeah I know I signed up for a year at 10mbs but I want 60 at the same price please. But they can come around saying, yeah we offered you that but now if you actually use it we will charge you more. Its against the law, its against what makes sense, and the ONLY people who stand to gain from an activity such as INTERNET HORDING, WOULD BE OF COURSE THE COMPANIES THEMSELVES. No personal business will do better, no customer will have a better time, etc. The whole corporate world needs to realize its past time to stop pinching the pennies of customers and high time to start pinching the pennies of the companies. In other words the company itself is to blame for its shortcomings and not the consumer. Furthermore the cable companies are reporting record gains in internet subscriptions and service.
    10. Millions lose their homes to banks-Banks get billions in bailouts. Millions have extreme credit debt-credit cards turn into banks and also get bailed out. Millions lose their cars, they cant even afford to get gas, let alone pay their car note-Big Auto stands in line for a handout. Anyone else wonder what the fuck they are all thinking?

    11. I give up, another 20-30 years and ill be dust. But those big corporations will be around a bit longer in their demise. Its your mess, you lie in it.

  24. wish there was one in NYC. i would go for sure. Time Warner Speeds have already decreased rapidly here in the city, over the past few years. And the prices keep going up….blah blah blah

  25. I don’t see the problem here. There’s a finite resource, paid for out of the ISP’s revenue, that’s intentionally oversold.

    It’s oversold because paying for a dedicated, uncontended connection is out of reach for most people due to the cost, so the contended connection is sort of like a bandwidth co-operative, albeit with the controlling entity trying to make a profit.

    The caps are reasonable when you work out how much bandwidth there is to go round, and the vast majority of users consume far less than you’d think (I know this because I used to work for a major UK ISP and have seen the figures).

    Those protesting the caps are actually the customers that are a net cash loss to the ISP, so I can’t comprehend how all the foot stamping and threatening to take your business elsewhere could be perceived as anything other than hilarious by the ISPs.

    I seem to remember that just caps were introduced at the place I worked, we nuked the top 0.2% of customers and reduced the bandwidth costs by 10%. They were spending 20 GBP a month, but costing us 650 GBP a month each in bandwidth. We were distinctly not bothered when they whinged about it.

  26. One thing that Time Warner could do to make it at least seem like they are not being total douches is to publish usage on bills now, without charging for it. What I suspect is that less than 10% of customers will fall into the lowest bandwidth cap but more than 90% will save money. Besides, they increased RoadRunner-only service by $5 earlier this year (late 2008?), so I imagine they can afford to drop it by (on average) $5 with no problems.

    But regardless, the way it will work is that people keep consuming more and more bandwidth. Before YouTube, doing a 20MB download was rare for the average home user; but after, it’s a daily occurrence. If TW sets bandwidth caps, the average user will say, “good, it’s cheaper — screw those nerds using all the bandwidth”. But 12 months down the road, they’ll be using bandwidth for television and then have to pay extortive prices with no recourse.

    In fact, I guarantee that since Time Warner also controls the cable television service, they will offer an “Internet DVR” of sorts where you can watch shows on demand within 2 years.

  27. TWC is doing this because they see people are cutting cable and getting their entertainment from online. Look at the bottom of page 36 from their SEC filing: http://ir.timewarner.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=950144-09-1481

    Here’s the paragraph:
    “The Company faces risks relating to competition for the leisure and entertainment time of audiences, which has intensified in part due to advances in technology.

    In addition to the various competitive factors discussed in the following paragraphs, all of the Company’s businesses are subject to risks relating to increasing competition for the leisure and entertainment time of consumers, and this competition may intensify further during economic downturns. The Company’s businesses compete with each other and all other sources of news, information and entertainment, including broadcast television, movies, live events, radio broadcasts, home video products, console games, sports, print media and the Internet. Technological advancements, such as video on demand, new video formats and Internet streaming and downloading, have increased the number of media and entertainment choices available to consumers and intensified the challenges posed by audience fragmentation. The increasing number of choices available to audiences could negatively impact not only consumer demand for the Company’s products and services, but also advertisers’ willingness to purchase advertising from the Company’s businesses. If the Company does not respond appropriately to further increases in the leisure and entertainment choices available to consumers, the Company’s competitive position could deteriorate, and its financial results could suffer.”

    By capping net usage (this goes not only for the US, but for other countries as well) it inhibits innovation & throttles economic development: http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/04/09/article/edward_cone_time_warner_plan_could_throttle_economic_development

  28. meet your new drm. the bigger concern here, imo, is what will this add to the cost of an online education? a very large bandwidth sink.

    also, ff and ad block + for low bandwidth surfing

  29. Wake up people. Capping bandwidth is like attaching clamps to your carotid arteries. It’s an attack on the bloodflow to the country’s collective brain development.

    America is already dysfunctionally maligned in terms of internet infrastructure. At present the country is suffering creativity and competitive retardation from broadband service gaps and pathetic upload speed caps already imposed by Time Warner.

    It’s a legislated industry and therefore if the Government allows Time Warner to execute this rape, well then it’s just another screwing from the corporate/Government alliance (fascism) that has gutted America over the past year. It’s time to wake up and “think”.

  30. What about net neutrality?

    How long before time warner partners with companies and offers sites that don’t affect usage – filled to the brim with ads, payed services, ect.

    You can’t afford hulu or netflix, you should try time warner’s video portal!

  31. #31 John is correct. Caps are not a bad thing, unless they’re secret (the ISP advertise unlimited service, don’t tell you the limit, and throttle your speed when you hit the invisible limit), varies too much from month to month (you don’t want to look for a new ISP every other month), or are absurdly low (#18 Anon’s example of using your entire month’s transfers in 3 minutes).

  32. General agreement here for #31 and #32.

    Providing your usage for 3-6 months before implementing the cap would be a Very Smart Move on the part of Time-Warner. . . although it won’t educate most people because most people don’t actually read every line of their bill.

    Our ISP uses caps linked to bandwidth throttles for the different tiers of service.

    The “ultra light” package, for folks who just check their email, is 500 Kb/s with a 2 GB cap – you could hit that after about 9 hrs of downloading at maximum speed, but if you’re using Ultra Light, you probably aren’t intending to be an intense downloader.

    At the top end is 18 Mb/s and 95GB cap, which technically you could blow through in 12 hrs… presuming you can actually find someone to feed you all 95GB of data at the maximum 18 Mb/s. The 10 Mb/s and 95GB cap is a more likely usage situation

    The other side is charging sensible overage fees – a couple of bucks for each gig over the cap isn’t excessive, charging per MB is ridiculous.

  33. @37

    You are 100% wrong. Cap are bad thing when you are a monopoly! Period.

    The government gave the TWC monopoly control over the cable system in exchange for monopoly regulations. That’s just the pure facts.

    In other words, those infrastructures that support cable TV, such placing wiring under PUBLIC streets and on PUBLIC polls, are 100% controlled by TWC. No one, and I mean no one, else can use them.

    Consider this. You have $100 billion. You want to compete against TWC. You can’t. You need government approval before you start wiring up the whole city. The city has to approve you entering the market against TWC.

    It is really that simple. In the late 90’s there was a move to allow other companies to use the incumbent cable lines. Guess who found it tooth and nail… GUESS.


    They don’t want competitors to use their cable lines. Instead they went and bought out all the competitors.

    So that simple.


    End of story.

  34. Time Warner is an out and out monopoly!

    I would suggest every single person here on this blog (and get all your relatives and friends too), to call your local, state, and federal representatives … and tell them that you will not be voting for them this next coming election, unless they come out in favor of anti-monopoly legislation in the TV/Internet cable industry.

    This is a movement that needs to spread nation-wide … and fast!

    What worries me most, is that Time Warner (and the TV/Internet industry on a whole), will be “killing” any further technical innovation in America, and that we will again, with-in a certain amount of years, fall behind the world in this area as well.

    Internet technical advances like You Tube, Apple iTunes, Netflix or BlockBuster on-line, Google maps, Download trial software for major developers, etc., etc. will all be “squashed” from further R&D development and usage by the likes of Time Warner in their quest for more and more corporate greed.

    Small businesses are going to be the larger loser here. Their internet usage costs will now increase dramatically … leading to less hiring due to increased costs of doing business.

    Nice timing Time Warner, right in the middle of a possible “depression” you still can’t help from screwing American’s out of every last penny they have.

    For me, I may actually start to use less (if not give up all together), my usage of RoadRunner or any other internet ISP.
    I’ll still use my computer, just not for web surfing anymore.
    Imagine if this has the same effect for millions of other internet users in this country, what a negative effect it will have on internet commerce (ie: eBay, on-Line Ordering, etc.).

    Again, thanks for your greed Time Warner, American
    companies like you make me sick!

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