Download Away! Time Warner Shelves Plans for Metered-Bandwidth Pricing

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Photo: Photo illustration: iStockphoto

Well this is a rare and unexpected victory for entertainment-loving consumers! Time Warner Cable Inc. bowed to pressure from customers last night and put aside (for now) plans to charge for Internet service by the gigabyte. The move comes two weeks after the nation's third-largest ISP announced it would bring metered pricing to BitTorrent fans in Rochester, New York, Austin, and San Antonio, Texas, and Greensboro, North Carolina, who all heroically threw shit fits.

Under Time Warner's current pricing structure, customers are charged at a fixed rate, regardless of how many streaming videos or free MP3s pass through their modems. But if TWC's plan had succeeded, you might've soon been forced to pay $1 or $2 for every downloaded gigabyte over a certain predetermined limit (to a maximum monthly price of $150, reportedly).

The biggest push back came from Rochester (this Vulture editor has not been so proud of his hometown since this), where U.S. Representative Eric Massa branded Time Warner a "functioning monopoly" and threatened legislation that would ban metered pricing.

This won't actually kill all plans for pay-by-the-gig billing — "We have heard from a vocal minority of our customers and have determined that we need to spend more time educating everyone on this new model," said TWC's CEO — but it'll hopefully put them on ice until we can get Verizon FiOS in our apartment. To celebrate, we're going to send everyone in our address book our entire C: drive as an e-mail attachment.

Time Warner Backs Away From Pricing Change [Businessweek]
TWC Delays Metered Broadband Test So They Can "Educate" A "Vocal Minority" [Consumerist]
Earlier: Kiss Your Streaming Video Good-bye: Time Warner Ready to Charge You for Bandwidth