By: Jeff Simmermon at 03:10 pm
Today, we are launching an optional usage-based pricing program for customers who want to save money on their broadband bills in southern Texas. This includes San Antonio, Laredo, Corpus Christi, the Rio Grande Valley and the Border Corridor.
Details are explained in this post, but if you find that you want more information, you can find that here: ‘Essentials’ Broadband Information.
Yes, we did try this before, a few years ago. And yes, pretty much everyone agrees that it didn’t go so well. So we listened to customer complaints. A lot.
Consequently, Time Warner Cable customers will always have access to unlimited broadband at a flat monthly rate. Usage-based consumption is optional, and it’s designed to save light users money. Customers can switch back and forth as often as they like, but if they choose not to switch, nobody’s switching anything for them.
We profit from unlimited consumption, and a free, open Internet is the sort of Internet that has gotten us this far.
But now, if our customers in southern Texas choose a tiered plan, then they’ve got a chance to knock a few dollars off their monthly bill. Having a usage-based pricing plan isn’t going to be for everyone, and that’s fine, too. A tiered plan might not be right for me, but my Mom’s not going to be passing Final Cut projects through DropBox to her friends at church anytime soon — she may benefit by saving a few dollars on Web capacity she’s never going to need.
Ultimately, we want to give our customers that maybe use less data a price break. Heavy data users are a smaller portion of our customer base.
Customers who don’t think they need unlimited broadband can try this Essentials plan, which offers:
1) Up to 5GB/month of data transmission for a $5/month discount from one’s current monthly bill. All Standard, Basic and Lite broadband customers will be eligible. Turbo, Extreme and Wideband customers will continue as always, with access to unlimited broadband and no optional tiered plan or discounts.
2) The ability to opt-in and opt-out of a tiered package at any time.
3) A “meter” that tracks usage on a daily, monthly, weekly or even hourly basis, enabling customers to accurately gauge usage. Below is an example of the hourly meter:
3) A 60 day/2 billing-cycle grace period to allow customers to adjust usage patterns. During this time we will notify customers of overages but won’t charge for them.
4) Overages will cost $1 per GB, not to exceed a maximum of $25/month.
This presents the opportunity to save $5/month from a monthly broadband bill.
We already have the TV Essentials plan for $39.99/month that offers low-income households to have access to cable, in a stripped down package. This is meant to be the broadband equivalent.
There is an ever-growing segment of the American population that has to make some hard choices about which bills to pay and which services to cut. We’re hoping that by introducing this plan, we’ll be able to stay in more families’ lives when the hard cuts have to happen.
Although our Internet service is terrific, it’s a competitive world out there, so we’re trying some new stuff to not only retain the customers we have today, but get new customers tomorrow.
By offering broadband pricing based on usage, we’re hoping to enhance the value of the subscription to the lighter users that represent a large number of our customers. And we’re hoping that attracts more customers from our competition – people that are drawn by the flexibility, choice, and opportunity to save.
Again: we know that when we attempted a usage-based billing plan before, it didn’t go well. All participation in the Essentials plan is opt-in, with the opportunity to save a few dollars each month. It’s not going to be for everybody, and that’s fine — all Time Warner Cable customers will still have the option of selection an unlimited broadband plan.