Activists Beat Back Tiered Internet Scheme

Free Press Campaign Director Tim Karr (SaveTheInternet.com, 4/16/09) is celebrating Time Warner Cable having “shelved its plan to impose excessive Internet fees against those who use the Web for more than email and basic surfing.” Karr details how

Time Warner Cable had been testing new Internet use penalties on people in Beaumont, Texas, and planned later this year to launch trials in Rochester, N.Y.; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; and Greensboro, N.C. If successful, Time Warner Cable execs planned to impose this cost structure upon the companyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s 8.4 million broadband subscribers in 32 states….

The scheme would have forced consumers to pay up to $150 a month for full access to the Internet–an inflated pay-per-byte rate that the company hoped would dampen popular enthusiasm for online video watching, and stem the migration of viewers from cable television to online video sites like Hulu.com.

But good news came when “the company buckled under a withering barrage of negative press and consumer complaints” from Net Neutrality advocates: “Free Press activists sent more than 16,000 letters urging Congress to investigate Time Warner Cable. One grassroots group, StoptheCap.com, served as a clearing house for outraged customers.”