In a chilling bit of news for any net aficionado, Time Warner is reportedly planning to try out a new billing scheme where they would charge customers based on the amount of bandwidth they consume, instead of the more traditional flat service fee. According to the report on MSNBC, the measure is aimed at keeping the internet tubes clear of traffic caused by a small minority of "heavy users" who, while making up only five percent of total internet users, account for more than half of the total traffic. While bittorrent users are the most conspicuous target of this policy, gamers would most assuredly feel the pinch as well.
What I find particularly striking about this announcement is that they are testing it out in Beaumont, Texas. Now, I can't say I know anything about Texas first-hand, because I've never had the privilege of visiting, but for some reason my intuition tells me that a town in southeast Texas between Houston and New Orleans isn't going to be the most connected area of the country. For all we know, their internet might very well be on a truck. It just seems like a bit of a sneaky tactic on the part of Time Warner to garner favor for a plan that will affect groups like gamers (and especially MMO players) disproportionately.
[Via Guild Cafe]