bandwidth meterTime Warner's recently scrapped plans to bill consumers for bandwidth consumption based on effectively metering their usage isn't just the victory for subscribers touted by the media, it's also a coup for advertisers.

The company had planned to roll out metered bandwidth pricing in Rochester, NY; Greensboro, NC; San Antonio and Austin, TX. Customers who exceeded the monthly usage cap could, under the plan, be subject to steep overage charges -- not unlike mobile phone owners who exceed their monthly voice or text message allotments.

Politicians, as well as consumers, raised their voices in opposition to the plan, which TW finally abandoned -- at least for now.

This comes at a time when  bandwidth consumption is steadily increasing, particularly with the rise of online video. But it's not just consumers who stand to lose in the face of bandwidth caps. Advertisers and publishers have a horse in this race, too.

In-stream video ads, viral video, rich media ads, high resolution graphics, deeply immersive and/or educational marketing sites...all these forms of advertsing and marketing are critical to the existence of online advertising and monetization models.  Make consumers conscious of the fact that every time they experience an online commercial message from you they're taking a kilo- or megabyte step closer to exceeding their monthly bandwidth cap, and we could see a proliferation of ad blockers and other ad avoidance techniques.

One of last things advertising and marketers should want to see online is metered bandwidth, particularly from companies such as Time Warner that are interested in putting an end to net neutrality, and other insidious ways to spoil the party.

Rebecca Lieb

Published 17 April, 2009 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

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