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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 09, 2012

Preparing For a Shift to Metered Internet Usage: What Companies Should Do

By Rachel Ramsey, TMCnet Web Editor

With Internet access today, users don’t think twice about running Pandora all day, watching YouTube (News - Alert) videos numerous times or downloading movies from Netflix. The current system, while very consumer friendly, does not promote good Internet usage, though. 

Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable in Texas is piloting what will likely become a model for Internet providers around the country. By offering bandwidth in tiers, Time Warner hopes to capture additional revenues from high-usage customers. 

“Could you imagine if we paid a monthly fee for gas and electric and it didn’t matter how much we used? I suspect that people would use air conditioning more, keep lights on because it’s too tough to flip the switch, and not worry about whether TVs were left on or off. That’s the way it is with Internet access today,” said Tim Ancona, president and CEO of Ticomix, Inc.

Ticomix is a provider of technology products and services such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, IT service management (ITSM), information technology infrastructure library (ITIL) call centers, help desk, computer networking and network hosting, business intelligence and custom software and Cisco (News - Alert) products and services. It aims to help clients succeed through effective technology implementation and management.

“The reality is that most Internet providers would love to have an official policy and pricing tier in place to do metering, but are afraid of the media and consumer backlash,” said Ancona. “If Time Warner does something whereby they limit your bandwidth per month, it will in many ways validate the idea and other Internet providers will soon follow.”

Many business owners view letting employees use the Internet at lunch or breaks or even during the day as a perk that doesn’t cost them anything and keeps employees happy. From a business owner’s perspective, metered Internet presents new challenges to broadband usage – why pay for unlimited bandwidth for employees to listen to Pandora, surf Facebook (News - Alert) or watch YouTube videos?

There are certain things businesses can do ahead of time to prepare for metered access and even possibly realize some broadband cost savings. First, businesses should talk to employees about what constitutes appropriate Internet usage. After that, have something about appropriate Internet usage in the employee handbook. There should be a filter applied to Internet usage so employees get used to having certain sites blocked.

Another step businesses can take is creating an Internet-free zone in the business that lets employees use the Internet for anything. This zone could have a computer that isn’t filtered or maybe have a set filter turned off during set times. Finally, businesses should review all current telecommunications contracts to understand their rights if metering is applied and perhaps sign a longer term contract if happy with the current provider.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.

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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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