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Scott Jagow: Most people pay a set fee for unlimited high-speed Internet access. But starting today, people who in Beaumont, Texas, will be the guinea pigs in a little experiment that might lead to something different. From the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports.
Janet Babin: Time Warner Cable starts testing a new price structure today — the more stuff you download, the more you’ll pay.
Analyst Craig Moffett at Sanford Bernstein says it’s only fair. If someone keeps downloading seasons of Weeds while you’re just sending e-mails, they should have to pay for all that extra bandwidth.
Craig Moffett: One half-hour show is equivalent to about a year’s worth of e-mail.
But some consumer watchdog groups say Time Warner’s new fee structure is unfair.
Jeff Chester is with the Center for Digital Democracy:
Jeff Chester: Time Warner and a half dozen other big phone and cable companies dominate the broadband market today. Consumers have no choice — there’s really no competition.
But most advocates agree that having to pay for downloads is better than having them blocked altogether. For example, he Federal Communications Commission is investigating Comcast for allegedly blocking file-sharing services like BitTorrents. Comcast says it’s only slowed file delivery.
I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.
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