Toledo Talk

Now cable companies are looking at 'usage based' billing.

First they came for our unlimited data plans on our mobile phones, now they coming after our cable. I have a friend in France that pays roughly $50(American) for 100MB, free calls to all of Europe and 150 channels. Our speeds should be getting faster and cheaper like our computers, TV and mobile devices. Oh, that's right... there are about 20-50 companies making each of those...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-30/netflix-viewing-seen-swelling-u-s-cable-bills-next-year-tech.html

Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and U.S. pay- TV companies, weighing how to profit from surging Internet demand spurred by Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Hulu, are on the verge of instituting new fees on Web-access customers who use the most.

At least one major cable operator will institute so-called usage-based billing next year, predicts Craig Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. He said Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) or Time Warner Cable may be first to charge Web-access customers for the amount of data they consume, not just transmission speed.

Thank god we deregulated the cable industry to "lower our prices" and "provide more competition".

This is simply the cable companies following the lead of the airlines - how much can we fleece our customers for by charging for luggage, blankets, smiles. Rather than striving to make more money by being more competitive, less wasteful, and offering customers more, far too many American industries are now looking for the quick, easy buck.

created by SensorG on Dec 01, 2011 at 05:43:04 pm     Technology     Comments: 38

source      versions


Comments ... #

We still need to be able to choose our cable channels a la carte.

posted by JohnnyMac on Dec 01, 2011 at 06:07:26 pm     #   1 person liked this

"Thank god we deregulated the cable industry to "lower our prices" and "provide more competition".

Pretty soon, people will just drop cable all together. I know more than a few people who no longer even watch tv and dropped cable service all together. And they say they don't even miss it.

"We still need to be able to choose our cable channels a la carte."

I totally agree!

posted by renegade on Dec 01, 2011 at 07:02:59 pm     #   1 person liked this

I dropped cable about 2-3 years ago when I started using Netflix + Roku and to save money. It's hard to justify 50-75/month just for TV and only watch maybe 4-5 channels (1 of those I get over the air).

posted by INeedCoffee on Dec 01, 2011 at 07:07:44 pm     #  

You're right, INeedCoffee. I'm only watch a few channels, too. I'm close to dropping cable. It keeps going up every year, with little to justify the increased costs.

posted by renegade on Dec 01, 2011 at 07:09:54 pm     #  

Erm...old news, they have been doing this for years all over.

posted by OhioKimono on Dec 01, 2011 at 07:17:30 pm     #  

Old news? What cable company currently uses this model.

If you think you're going to dump the TV channels and just use cable/DSL based internet to watch Netflix and Hulu, you're the ones who this going to screw the most.

posted by SensorG on Dec 01, 2011 at 07:31:28 pm     #   1 person liked this

SensorG posted at 06:31:28 PM on Dec 01, 2011:

Old news? What cable company currently uses this model.

If you think you're going to dump the TV channels and just use cable/DSL based internet to watch Netflix and Hulu, you're the ones who this going to screw the most.

They are the ones they are looking to screw the most!

posted by dbw8906 on Dec 01, 2011 at 07:36:13 pm     #   1 person liked this

Don't forget that the minute any municipality dares think about putting down fiber to the home, the telcos and cablecos freak the fuck out and haul them into court. Personally I would welcome some sort of municipal broadband fiber-to-the-home, possibly as a co-op. (cue the cries from the conservatives that government doesn't belong in this business)

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 01, 2011 at 08:59:18 pm     #   1 person liked this

I have a few things to say, first to the original post: I definitely oppose any caps, any filtering, or any QoS done by the ISP. Sure you can monitor my usage, but don't tell me I am passing too much traffic up or down. I bet they wouldn't call my parents for NOT passing enough traffic. I know what a 10G connection to Cogent, Level 3/Qwest, or the 'cheap' backbone connections entail, add in server costs, maintenance contracts, labor, vendor support, land, tax, fiber/copper costs, etc the cost keeps adding and the dsl/cable providers have every right to have the price point they have. Find a good deal, preferably with no contact, and if things don't good well, move on is the best I can say.

Second, channels a la carte would be outrageous priced. Stick to your sat/cable alternatives to catch just the shows you want to watch (hulu, direct at their page, go to the bar, etc). Channels (NFL network for instance) want to get X amount from the cable provider and want to be in their X tier of service. This guarantees them X potential viewers and each potential viewer is billed by the sat/cable provider and then passed to the channel provider. It's not like the provider says that channel XYZ is in this Tier of service, it is negotiated with the channel/network.

Third to the constant bitching in multiple threads by anonymouscoward: http://www.lightwaveonline.com/mso-optics/news/Buckeye-CableSystem-nears-launch-of-RFoG-FTTH-trial-84791997.html?cmpid=EnlDirectFebruary222010 Now just shut up. It is being done, if you think someone was brought to court for it, show us the case.

posted by smbfc on Dec 01, 2011 at 10:31:53 pm     #  

smbfc, I'm glad you're here to defend your employer. Since you are, it makes me wonder if Buckeye is considering the same model.

I guess with more people dumping the over priced TV side, they need to make up the money elsewhere.

As for "moving on", AT&T and Buckeye pretty much have a high speed monopoly in Toledo.

Again, rather than striving to make more money by being more competitive, less wasteful, and offering customers more I guess you can just always squeeze more out of our customers.

posted by SensorG on Dec 01, 2011 at 11:01:19 pm     #  

How many options do you think should be in a market? Each one would have to build their own network within the city and with competition, would it be profitable for them? I'm not here to defend a sat/cable or any provider, it's you always hear that in the dslreports fourms about COX vs TWC vs Cogentco vs Rogers vs ATT vs Sprint vs whoever, and you have to think if all these companies were in town right now to offer you service, what do you think the price would be and the competition on the poles would be awesome... strands of fiber, coax, copper... the poor poles would be bending.

posted by smbfc on Dec 01, 2011 at 11:53:32 pm     #  

We just cancelled our cable last week and I'm perfectly fine with it. Too much money to pay to waist your time

posted by steve155 on Dec 02, 2011 at 07:11:49 am     #   1 person liked this

We only watch about 5 channels at most as "network TV" bores me and if I find something I like I get the season collections from Netflix. And honestly I like watching a whole season over the course of a couple of days rather than waiting for next week's episode.

Unfortunately the channels we watch are cable channels (History, A&E, Discovery, Boomerang, and ABC Family). If I could pay 5 dollars for each of those channels I would do so and say forget the other 750 we don't watch but have to pay for.

We went down to the Buckeye Basic el cheapo package and found that we then watched nothing, so we where paying them to not watch TV :( So like any addict to Intervention and documentaries of Vikings we went back.

posted by dbw8906 on Dec 02, 2011 at 07:39:54 am     #  

If you haven't already considered it... Check out: http://roku.com
For a one time charge of less than $100 and a monthly fee to Netflix.com of less than $10 you can watch a ton of documentaries, past seasons of many of your favorite shows and a bunch more. We do that, plus amazon on demand for new movies (cheaper than blockbuster) and we ditched expensive cable with no regrets.

posted by upso on Dec 02, 2011 at 07:55:15 am     #  

In the new model upso, you're going to get screwed the most. All those shows and content through your data connection are going to jack your prices big time.

posted by SensorG on Dec 02, 2011 at 08:09:19 am     #  

Sorry, you're right. But thankfully at the moment were fine with buckeye. If things change, we'd go back to the cable box.

posted by upso on Dec 02, 2011 at 08:12:23 am     #  

They get you coming and going upso...

posted by SensorG on Dec 02, 2011 at 09:20:10 am     #  

How much is everbody paying for just internet? And who your provider?

posted by steve155 on Dec 02, 2011 at 09:46:48 am     #  

Buckeye, part of a VIP bundle. Not sure what the cost of the internet is by it's self.

What are all the games in town for high speed access? AT&T and Buckeye are the only two I can think of... some people have Time Warner.

posted by SensorG on Dec 02, 2011 at 10:05:22 am     #  

I have no phone lines in my home so Buckeye is my only choice.

posted by dbw8906 on Dec 02, 2011 at 10:17:01 am     #  

Buckeye with three HD boxes plus two other cable inputs and Internet. I think my last bill was $130.00

Recently got Hulu, Netflix, Pandora etc.

To me this is a lot of money and per the orignal post, getting higher.

posted by Offshore on Dec 02, 2011 at 10:39:58 am     #  

mine too

posted by upso on Dec 02, 2011 at 10:40:45 am     #  

It's designed to keep us out of the bars!

posted by Offshore on Dec 02, 2011 at 10:41:59 am     #  

All those shows and content through your data connection are going to jack your prices big time.

CNN.com-- Netflix Takes Up 32.7% of Internet bandwidth

Again, rather than striving to make more money by being more competitive, less wasteful, and offering customers more I guess you can just always squeeze more out of our customers.

Maybe I'm being outrageous here, but what is so unfair or un-American about people who use more of a utility paying more for that utility? I don't get the wailing on this issue.

I pay more to the water company if I use more water...

I pay more to Toledo Edison if I crank the A/C for 4 straight months in the summer...

I pay more to the gas company if I want my house to be a subtropical 79 degree paradise here on December 2...

But if I download a shitload of data every month from Netflix or BitTorrent, I should pay the same rate as my mother who uses the Internet mainly for e-mail and recipes?

How is paying more for a service I use "screwing" me? I don't get it.

I love my Roku box. I'm a Netflix account holder. I love it. My wife wants to get the Amazon streaming too (I think she's just saying she wants the streaming so I'll say OK to Amazon Prime & free shipping for her, but...). And even if my rate increases, it still will be lower than what I would pay for cable. And I control what I want to watch and don't pay for what I don't watch--which seems to be the other complaint on this board about "a la carte" service.

Honestly, I'm surprised this hasn't happened already. And your service shouldn't be capped, but in the future, just like a cell phone, you should know your plan limits before you sign up and monitor them. Once again, not a new concept.

posted by oldhometown on Dec 02, 2011 at 11:31:44 am     #   1 person liked this

Agreed, and the problem is not the cable companies it is the infrastructure. The amount of bandwidth the average user consumes on the internet has increased exponentially and we still are sitting on lines that worked well in the 56k modem days.(Those were the days, back when the internet was simple and wholesome.)

The short term answer is clear, run more fiber, upgrade switches etcÖ. But the cost and logistics to do such a thing are high. Heck when my office switched from one provider to another they had to come out and rip up the ground to install new fiber lines over what looked like about half a mile, that canít be cheap. There is a good article at Cnet that talks about our crumbling internet infrastructure:
http://news.cnet.com/Fixing-our-fraying-Internet-infrastructure/2010-1034_3-6212819.html

So whats the answer? If deregulation was so bad what now? Give it back to the goverment? the same one that wants to pass H.R. 3261. (the Protect IP act). Somehow I don't have confidence that the goverment could do better with more regulation, becuase I don't think our lawmakers get it.

posted by glasscityguy on Dec 02, 2011 at 12:02:51 pm     #   1 person liked this

Another article that discusses some of the effects of Protect IP on Internet Security and Infrastucure:

http://boingboing.net/2011/11/12/how-sopa-will-attack-the-inter.html

posted by glasscityguy on Dec 02, 2011 at 12:05:05 pm     #   1 person liked this

Our rates have been going up steadily for years. If they arenít using that money to upgrade their infrastructure what are they using it for? As for paying more for using more, itís implied in price difference we pay for our internet speed, I pay more for my 10M line than my neighbor pays for his 3M.

Also these fees will be above and beyond the base fee. If I choose to not use my internet connection for the month, will get changed nothing? Iíd get charged if I use it or not, only they charge more for using it more.

posted by SensorG on Dec 02, 2011 at 12:36:19 pm     #  

If they arenít using that money to upgrade their infrastructure what are they using it for?

Booze and broads. Chicks dig the cable guys.

If I choose to not use my internet connection for the month, will get changed nothing? Iíd get charged if I use it or not, only they charge more for using it more.

And again, how does this make their proposed model any different from any existing utility model? For example, I use almost no gas in the summertime (furnace is gas, but stove and water heater are electric). Yet, I still get a bill for continuation of service. If I don't watch cable TV for a month, I still have to pony up $50-$60 if I'm a cable subscriber (some people switch to cheaper plans if they're gone a long time or can try to suspend service, but those are long-term, not short-term solutions).

Sorry, I don't see the new outrage over these plans. We can argue about the base fee going down, but with the Internet, overall usage is determined by the customer. Those who demand more service should pay for more service. What is unfair about that? If you're just an e-mail and basic website kind of guy, you shouldn't be paying anywhere near what Mr. BitTorrent "I've filled up 5,000 terrabytes of storage with songs and movies I've download from around the world" pays.

posted by oldhometown on Dec 02, 2011 at 12:51:38 pm     #  

smbfc posted at 10:53:32 PM on Dec 01, 2011:

How many options do you think should be in a market? Each one would have to build their own network within the city and with competition, would it be profitable for them? I'm not here to defend a sat/cable or any provider, it's you always hear that in the dslreports fourms about COX vs TWC vs Cogentco vs Rogers vs ATT vs Sprint vs whoever, and you have to think if all these companies were in town right now to offer you service, what do you think the price would be and the competition on the poles would be awesome... strands of fiber, coax, copper... the poor poles would be bending.

Bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit. Muni fiber and pick-your-provider equal access is possible. It's no different than what we get with "natural gas choice" or "local telco competition" or "electric choice". Someone owns the infrastructure and a basic cost for maintenance appears on the bill, and the supply is bought from any number of suppliers.

Keep on pushing the industry agenda. Who do you work for, again?

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 02, 2011 at 12:53:38 pm     #  

SensorG posted at 11:36:19 AM on Dec 02, 2011:

Our rates have been going up steadily for years. If they arenít using that money to upgrade their infrastructure what are they using it for? As for paying more for using more, itís implied in price difference we pay for our internet speed, I pay more for my 10M line than my neighbor pays for his 3M.

Also these fees will be above and beyond the base fee. If I choose to not use my internet connection for the month, will get changed nothing? Iíd get charged if I use it or not, only they charge more for using it more.

Dividends to the shareholders and pay for the executives and lawyers... and in the case of Comcast, for example, to buy NBC... in other markets, to buy sports teams or for expensive sports programming that only enriches the sports leagues and players. If you knew how much of your bill was just for ESPN....

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 02, 2011 at 12:56:23 pm     #  

If you knew how much of your bill was just for ESPN....

It's over $5 per subscriber.

posted by oldhometown on Dec 02, 2011 at 12:58:14 pm     #  

smbfc posted at 09:31:53 PM on Dec 01, 2011:

I have a few things to say, first to the original post: I definitely oppose any caps, any filtering, or any QoS done by the ISP. Sure you can monitor my usage, but don't tell me I am passing too much traffic up or down. I bet they wouldn't call my parents for NOT passing enough traffic. I know what a 10G connection to Cogent, Level 3/Qwest, or the 'cheap' backbone connections entail, add in server costs, maintenance contracts, labor, vendor support, land, tax, fiber/copper costs, etc the cost keeps adding and the dsl/cable providers have every right to have the price point they have. Find a good deal, preferably with no contact, and if things don't good well, move on is the best I can say.

Second, channels a la carte would be outrageous priced. Stick to your sat/cable alternatives to catch just the shows you want to watch (hulu, direct at their page, go to the bar, etc). Channels (NFL network for instance) want to get X amount from the cable provider and want to be in their X tier of service. This guarantees them X potential viewers and each potential viewer is billed by the sat/cable provider and then passed to the channel provider. It's not like the provider says that channel XYZ is in this Tier of service, it is negotiated with the channel/network.

Third to the constant bitching in multiple threads by anonymouscoward: http://www.lightwaveonline.com/mso-optics/news/Buckeye-CableSystem-nears-launch-of-RFoG-FTTH-trial-84791997.html?cmpid=EnlDirectFebruary222010 Now just shut up. It is being done, if you think someone was brought to court for it, show us the case.

Ohhhhh an article about a trial that's ALMOST TWO YEARS OLD. SO EXCITING!

Channels a la carte would not be outrageously priced. They're currently outrageously priced because for example Disney owns ABC and ESPN and every time they add a new flavor of ESPN or Disney, Disney refuses to sell ANYTHING to the cableco in the next contract unless they include ESPN-15 or TweenDisney or whatever stupid variant... and each of those takes more cable capacity... at the same time they jack up the rate on ESPN because ESPN paid umpty-million for rights to some other games or events. Because millions of morons can't live without their sports, the cable company bows to the pressure and signs. Then they jack up their rates twice as much as the increase so they have headroom for the next contract. And since the channels are (illegally, but nobody's gonna rock the boat) bundled, there is no option for a la carte, especially since you can bet neither ESPN nor any one cableco wants the others to know how much ESPN alone costs. Tie 4 bullshit channels together with 1 big channel so the company can sell more advertising and then play around with format trying to find something that will turn one of those other channels into the next big thing.

Anyone remember when TLC was The Learning Channel, not the 9000 Kids and Counting, Weddings, Fashion, and Cakes channel? How about [Channel Which Shall Not Be Named Which Resembles The Slang Term For Syphilis in Polish] channel that used to show science fiction, not horror and wrestling and other shit? Remember when Food Network was about cooking and how they had to spin off a Cooking Channel? Don't even get me started on "History" Channel.

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 02, 2011 at 01:13:26 pm     #  

I remember when MTV was music videos all the time! ;-)

posted by viola on Dec 03, 2011 at 12:52:28 am     #  

viola posted at 11:52:28 PM on Dec 02, 2011:

I remember when MTV was music videos all the time! ;-)

Headbanger's Ball!

posted by dbw8906 on Dec 03, 2011 at 10:59:11 am     #   2 people liked this

OMFG I actually agree with Coward on something, StupiFy has bitten the big one, jumped the shark and gotten stupid canceling good science fiction for wrestling and reality ghost shows. Pretty muchsince they changed their name from SciFi to SyFy they have been anything but.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 03, 2011 at 12:51:14 pm     #  

More like [channel which shall not be named] has been without science fiction starting in about 2003 or so. Bonnie Hammer taking over was the death of that channel.

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 03, 2011 at 06:12:29 pm     #  

I see no one has mentioned Hollywood's greed as being one of the primary reasons we all pay what we pay for cable. Somehow, the zillions of dollars those bastards rake in never seems to get much press.

I pay a considerable amount each month for my Buckeye VIP bundle - close to $190 - and I have no "premium" programming such as HBO, Showtime, etc. nor do we buy any PPV or on demand offerings. As I've stated here before, I'm not wild about the monthly cost but I could always pare it back to barebones - something I'm currently trying with my recent purchase of a Roku device. A project that, so far, has limited appeal.

On the other hand, having recently dealt with AT&T and Time Warner on behalf of my employer, I'll take Buckeye's service any day. 24/7/365 live (local) human being to speak with - that makes my monthly bill a bit easier to take.

posted by Foodie on Dec 04, 2011 at 09:18:48 am     #   1 person liked this

Hollywood can charge what they want for their product -- I would much rather pay to watch a high-quality product when I'm in the mood for a good flick. Of course, I can only say that because we don't pay for any form of TV: we get 5 broadcast channels, use Netflix, and take advantage of the wealth of movies available through the library. I can't even imagine spending more than two thousand dollars a year on cable and not even enjoying the results.

posted by viola on Dec 04, 2011 at 03:43:15 pm     #