Internet Bandwidth Hogs May Soon Pay For It

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Read the All Tech Considered blog, where Omar Gallaga, who covers technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman, has more on the new types of fees consumers may face for Internet access.

Consumers watching their cell phone minutes may soon have something else to worry about: their Internet usage. Time Warner Cable and other Internet providers are adding fees if customers exceed a set amount of bandwidth each month. User complaints are already starting to roll in.

Time Warner plans to expand the reach of consumption-based billing, where consumers pay for a set amount of monthly bandwidth and then pay additional fees depending on the amount of additional data use. The policy covers everything from e-mail usage to downloading videos.

The policy, which was tested last year in Beaumont, Texas, will be expanded this summer and fall to Austin, San Antonio and other Texas cities, as well as Rochester, N.Y., and Greensboro, N.C.

Time Warner isn't the only Internet provider to move in this direction. AT&T is conducting its own tests of tiered billing, and Comcast already sets a limit on how much data its residential customers can download each month.

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