If you thought Comcast's alleged data throttling caused a ruckus, get a load of this. Reportedly, Time Warner Cable (partly owned by Time Warner, parent company of AOL, which owns Engadget) is gearing up to trial "consumption-based billing with subscribers in Beaumont, Texas later this year," which it hopes will "reduce congestion of its network by a minority of consumers who pay the same monthly fee as light users." According to a company spokesman, just five-percent of TWC customers suck up "more than half" of the bandwidth, but such a billing scheme could have some very nasty consequences. It's no secret that fetching television from the 'net is becoming entirely more mainstream, and with Apple pushing out "HD" rentals through its Apple TV, streaming video becoming more viable and Netflix freeing up its Watch Instantly feature, even consumers not considered lords of P2P could be hit with unexpected fees. 'Course, no prices have been divulged just yet, but seriously, does this not reek of paying for mobile time by the minute during the early 90s? Talk about taking two steps back.

[Via The New York Times, image courtesy of JupiterImages]

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Time Warner Cable to trial consumption-based internet billing