Time Warner Shutting Off Austin Accounts For Heavy Usage

A chilling report coming in about Time Warner Cable turning off some users internet access without warning for excessive bandwidth usage.

“After deciding to shelve metered broadband plans, it looks like Time Warner is cutting off, with no warning, the accounts of customers whom they deem to have used too much bandwidth. ‘Austin Stop The Cap reader Ryan Howard reports that his Road Runner service was cut off yesterday without warning. According to Ryan, it took four calls to technical support, two visits to the cable store to try two new cable modems (all to no avail), before someone at Time Warner finally told him to call the company’s “Security and Abuse” center.

“I called the number and had to leave a voice mail, and about an hour later a Time Warner technician called me back and lectured me for using 44 gigabytes in one week,” Howard wrote. Howard was then “educated” about his usage. “According to her, that is more than most people use in a year,” Howard said.’”

Oh I feel sorry for you Time Warner. This isn’t over, not by a long shot. If you thought customers were upset before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

[hat tip to Travis for this post]

Of Tea and Time Warner

So much has happened this week that I wanted to get some random thoughts jotted down before I forgot them. So here’s a straight brain dump of what’s been running through my head these last few days. They include:

• I appreciate people’s right to organize and protest against their government. It’s extra special that the Tea Party crowd wasn’t forced into “free speech zones” like so many who protested the Iraq war just a few years ago.

• No matter how bad things got during W’s presidency, I can’t remember any Democratic governor calling for his/her state to secede from the union. Can you?

• If Texas wants to become it’s own country let them. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes them to rejoin the union once hurricane season starts. (hat tip to Dave for this one)

• When major corporations like Time Warner say they have “no choice” but to hike internet rates by a factor of 10, what they really mean is “until legal action is threatened”.

• Newspapers could go bust at any moment, talk radio stations are dangling by mere threads and local TV stations are all but doomed.

• I’m thinking of organizing an anti-tea, “coffee day” grass roots campaign for those of us who support our President and our government. Honk if you’re with me.

• Note to tea-baggers: our President is doing precisely what he campaigned on which is one reason why the majority of the country elected him. Deal with it.

• I pay less taxes now than I did during the last administration.

• Companies like Time Warner are the reason why the phrase “by hook or by crook” exists. Don’t let your guard up for one single moment. Call for regulation and increased competition.

• President Obama is less than 1/24th of the way through his first term. If the tea-baggers don’t pace themselves, it’s going to be a very looooong 4 years.

• To protest wasteful spending, conservatives and libertarians bought over a million tea bags this past week, most of which will ultimately be discarded.

• I need to find and buy stock in tea companies. (hat tip to Brad Krantz)

Telling Time Warner What It Can Go Do with Itself

I received a call at the office yesterday from a Time Warner rep offering info on digital phone service and how Time Warner could “save me tons of money” on our phone bills. I told the woman to email me about the pricing structure, all the while resisting the urge to lash out in anger about Time Warner’s proposed bandwidth cap and rate hike.

Reports today that Time Warner is “revising” its plans and, as expected, increasing the limit on bandwidth to try and satisfy upset customers regarding the ridiculously low limits initially proposed. As a stop gap measure the company is now saying that for a mere $150 a month, users will have “virtually unlimited” bandwidth available to them.

So let me get this straight. I’m supposed to be happy that my current cable bill is going to go from $39 a month for a true unlimited connection to $150 a month for something that can’t even be guaranteed? That’s in addition to my cable TV bill. To top it all off, TW now says these new plans will start in August instead of the “fall”.

What planet does Time Warner thinks it lives on?!

As Time Warner continues to lose more and more respect in the eyes of consumers, events are starting to whirl and people are starting to take notice. Ed Cone points to an article at Wired that calls into question Time Warner’s excuses of higher expenses. Turns out bandwidth costs have been decreasing not increasing as they’ve insisted. More proof that this change isn’t about costs, as I said before it’s about control.

Our local leaders are starting to wake up too, which is a good thing because until the Triad gets some serious internet competition, Time Warner’s pretty much got us over a barrel. Don’t stop writing people and don’t stop calling to complain. The worst thing you can do as a consumer is to become complacent and think it’ll all just work itself out. And if you happen to work in the Time Warner sales force and made a call to me last Thursday, get ready for an earful when I call you back on Monday. Then go play my call to your managers so they understand they’re about to lose a valuable business customer thanks to your company blatantly screwing over its consumer division.