TWC Tests Billing Broadband Customers Based on Use

Heavy Netflix users could face high fees

Netflix addicts, prepare to pay up and not just for your subscription. Bloomberg reports that the cable company is testing technology to measure customers' broadband Internet use for a new consumption-based billing system, said the company’s CEO Glenn Britt.

In an interview yesterday at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s show in Chicago, Britt said that the cable provider is installing meters in the network that calculate customers’ internet usage, although the company hasn’t decided whether it will move to a new type of billing.

The billing system would allow customers who aren’t heavy Internet users to pay less. But people who watch a lot of streaming media, like Netflix, could be subject to much higher charges.

According to Bloomberg, Time Warner will probably charge fixed amounts for specific levels of service, which means that the new billing system would likely only affect Netflix users who stream more than the average 8 hours of video per month.

Netflix CFO David Wells said earlier this month that his company wouldn’t object to the charges, “so as long as they’re doing it for network optimization and traffic shaping, and sort of the honest portions of being a network owner… But when they’re doing it for anti-competitive purposes, I don’t think that’s in the interest of anyone.”