For the Lighter Internet User

Rachel Barnhart posts on the blogs that she’s going all AT&T wireless for her Internet connection. Of course, this plan is really only valid for those of you who don’t use a lot of bandwidth, but that’s a awful lot of people.

So, I wonder how this affected the calculus at TW, if at all? Light users of the Internet don’t really need Time Warner at all anymore. If they can afford a good smart phone and a laptop, they can have their Internet connection wherever they go. And keep in mind: fifty percent of households in America don’t even have a computer, so we’re talking about the affluent half of the country even using the Internet.

So, unless you’re a web designer or a gamer or other such high-volume user, why would you even bother with a home connection? Seems like tethered Internet may soon become the vinyl record of networking in a few years: prized by a few but otherwise untouched. With this in mind, does it really pay to piss off the only customer base you’ll have in five years?

Seems like Time Warner’s just begging for someone to come along and offer a better solution.


Paying to Work, Paying for Advertisements

One ripple in the Time Warner bandwidth cap story I’ve not yet seen discussed is this: what happens to all those people who work from home? Do they get raises? Do they get Time Warner stipends from their employers?

When we discuss data in terms of the number of DVDs or HD Hulu movies we get off the Internet, the discussion almost seems silly: nine DVDs a month does seem like a lot. But consider that medical transcriptionists – many of whom I know for a fact live in the Rochester TW area – download and upload one MP3 and one Word document with every job they do. And they do about twenty or thirty jobs a day on the small side.

It won’t take long before those transcriptionists are paying to work each month. And they’re not alone. Lots of people work from home, some using much bigger files than those mentioned in the above example. Moreover, many of them use Remote Desktop, which means a constant stream of information going back and forth between their home and work PCs.

And while Time Warner uses the straw man of YouTube and Hulu videos, they don’t mention all the other Flash files you download while browsing the Internet: all those rich advertisements, popping up on your screen and hovering over your intended websites. I presume they’ve developed a way to avoid charging you for those, correct? Because every single .jpg, .gif and Flash file that advertises wrinkle creams and new low mortgage rates is a file you have to download.