First, a call to action of our own, which is related to the discussion of this post.
- Go read Phillip Martin's original background post on Time Warner Cable's new “indefinite trial” that's coming to Austin this summer to move to a tiered bandwidth consumption tax on multimedia, HD, and video consumers.
- Then Digg that post and upvote on Reddit.
I am really encouraged to see the initial responses from both Lee Leffingwell and Brewster McCracken. Knowing that the leading contenders for Mayor are paying attention to the issue puts them both in a good position to work on this issue.
I don't know what the next step is- a task force? activating some city regulation? a discussion with all parties to compromise and create a higher cap? That's a good discussion to have in the comments.
But what I really wanted to write this post about is not the political and/or leadership angle from the higher up players, but the organic, grassroots reaction that has occurred entirely on its own literally overnight.
Consider the following things that are evidence that this is a real issue.
- http://stoptwc.info was set up last night as an impromptu nexis for information for various states and cities affected.
- http://droptimewarnercable.com/ was also set up last night and contains a user submitted list of various types of online activity that would quickly use up user bandwidth for the typical consumer and push them over their “allotted” bandwidth plans.
- A petition specific to Austin & San Antonio customers that would be affected by Time Warner's proposed caps went from 0 to 325 signatures in less than 12 hours. If that represented customers willing to switch, it would represent nearly $215,00 in losses per year at this early stage for Time Warner based on their 40GB highest tier.
- If you search Twitter for recent comments on Time Warner, you'll see hundreds of updates, all of which are critical of this new pricing scheme. Links to articles abound, as well as promotion of the various petitions, websites and also…
- Front page stories on huge user driven news sites like Digg.com and Reddit.com.
- NEW: And now even a facebook group is spring up.
This is all organic. There is no leader to this reaction. It's consumers, technology thought leaders, and now hopefully because of us here in Austin, political leaders reacting to changes in corporate policy that could negatively impact the fundamental nature of the web, network neutrality, and innovation.
This is the natural first phase of reaction- spreading the word.
What's the next step for us in Austin and San Antonio? I feel that what we do next could make a difference for cities everywhere. What is the best approach to protect consumers and innovation? Is it possible to reach a compromise solution that addresses cable companies worries about the highest end users without sacrificing the future “average” consumer?