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Time Warner Cable Postpones Internet-Billing Trials

4/16/2009 3:18 PM Eastern

Time Warner Cable, after facing blistering attacks from politicians and consumers about its plans to expand usage-based Internet billing tests, on Thursday announced it would shelve its plans "while the customer-education process continues."

In a statement Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said: "It is clear from the public response over the last two weeks that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing."

"As a result, we will not proceed with implementation of additional tests until further consultation with our customers and other interested parties, ensuring that community needs are being met," Britt continued. "While we continue to believe that consumption-based billing may be the best pricing plan for consumers, we want to do everything we can to inform our customers of our plans and have the benefit of their views as part of our testing process."

Time Warner Cable had planned to initiate usage-based billing trials in Rochester, N.Y., and Greensboro, N.C., in August, followed by San Antonio and Austin, Texas, in October.

Different plans would cap monthly usage a certain number of gigabytes, and customers would be billed for additional usage.

The cable company also announced Thursday that it is working to make measurement tools available as quickly as possible to help customers understand how much bandwidth they consume.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a separate announcement Thursday, said he spoke with Britt to discuss the "overwhelming opposition" to the usage-billing plans. Schumer said he will work with Time Warner Cable going forward to make sure that any future changes in Internet pricing are in line with what the community wants and needs.

"By responding to public outrage and opposition from community and elected officials, Time Warner Cable made the right decision today," Schumer said in a statement. "I will make sure that any changes going forward are in line with what Rochester's families and small businesses need."

Britt added, "We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Schumer, our customers and all of the other interested parties as the process moves forward, to ensure that informed decisions are made about the best way to continue to provide our customers with the level of service that they expect and deserve from Time Warner Cable."




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