Comcast, Time Warner to test bandwidth restrictions

— 1:14 PM on June 4, 2008

Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable plan to kick off bandwidth usage restriction trials tomorrow, according to Reuters. Comcast will try to cope with heavy bandwidth users by reducing transfer speeds during peak hours, while Time Warner will implement all-out bandwidth quotas.

Reuters says Comcast's trials will begin in the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Warrenton, Virginia areas. Heavy bandwidth users will face reduced file transfer speeds during "congested periods," although Comcast hasn't told the news agency any specifics—namely the extent and the frequency of those speed drops. Comcast is also trying to decide whether to limit transfers for all users to 250GB per month. On the upside for net neutrality proponents, the company "will stop distinguishing the type of activity or services that are considered bandwidth hogs."

Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable will start its own bandwidth management experiment in the Beaumont, Texas area. New subscribers there will have to pick services with different speeds and matching bandwidth quotas. For instance, Reuters says a $29.95-a-month plan with a 768Kbps (96KB/s) download speed will have a 5GB monthly limit, whereas a $54.90-a-month, 15Mbps (1.9MB/s) service will feature a more ample 40GB quota. Users who go over those limits will have to pay $1 for each additional gigabyte of bandwidth used.

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