Get Ready to Pay More for the Web

In times like these, surfing the web might seem like one of life’s cheaper entertainment options. But the next time you fire up your home computer, consider this: If some Internet service providers get their way, the meter could be running while you’re shopping, emailing or reading news reports like this one.

That’s because cable and telecommunications companies are forging ahead with plans to radically change their familiar flat-rate monthly Internet plans — even as new options for watching movies and TV online proliferate.

What should web surfers expect? “Usage caps” that would penalize those who send and receive too much data.

Time Warner Cable, for instance, is currently running a test in Beaumont, Texas, that offers a range of plans that allow between five gigabytes and 40 gigabytes of bandwidth for new customers. The five-gigabyte plan costs $29.95 a month, while customers pay $54.90 monthly for the 40-gigabyte plan. Go over the limit and customers have to pay $1 for every extra gigabyte. AT&T is testing a similar plan in Reno, Nev., with cap ranges between 20 GB to 150 GB for its new customers.

How easy is it to run over that cap? Just a few years ago it would have been difficult. But now the rise of video and other data-heavy applications on the web means more consumers are eating up large amounts of data — downloading movies and music from Apple’s iTunes, watching TV episodes on and engaging in other “bandwidth intensive” activities.

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2 Comments on “Get Ready to Pay More for the Web”

  1. Dave Says:

    We are there in the UK

    All our main providers have caps, fortunately mine just slows your internet access – doesn’t charge if you go over

    Truoble is its not just browsing – turn on your game console and it may need a major software update.

    I am amazed, but for some reason we seem to struggle to stay in 30 gig (YES 30 gig a month) at the moment

    • 13oclock Says:

      Wow – 30 gig does sound like a lot, but I bet it is pretty easy to hit that cap with the amount of animation you find just on ordinary web sites these days – especially some of the animated advertisements (which I find extremely annoying).

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