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Time Warner Cable to add monthly charge to Internet packages

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Starting Aug. 9, those who surf the Internet using Time Warner Cable’s service will see their bills increase an average of $3 a month.

The price hike will affect immediately customers with retail-priced packages but not those with promotional packages, who won’t be affected until their limited contracts expire, said Joli Plucknette-Farmen, public relations manager for the company’s Northeast region. The amount customers will be charged will vary depending on what service package they subscribe to and whether they also receive telephone service, cable television or both.

A standard Internet package, which provides up to 15 megabits per second download speed and up to 1 Mbps upload speed, will jump from $51 a month to $54.99 a month, Ms. Plucknette-Farmen said. The charge will be slightly more for those who purchase faster service, and less for those who buy slower. She could not say exactly how much other packages will be charged.

The majority of Time Warner customers won’t see an increase right away because they subscribe to limited-time offers that would be affected by the charge, she said. About 60 percent of the roughly 600,000 customers in Time Warner’s Central New York region, which includes the north country, now receive promotional packages.

“It’s difficult to compare prices accurately from the current to new rates, given that the majority of the customers don’t pay retail rates,” she said. “Because most of our customers are receiving promotional pricing, there’s not a good way to estimate the cost, because pricing changes all the time.”

On why Time Warner implemented the charge, Ms. Plucknette-Farmen said the company needs more revenue to continue offering high-speed Internet packages.

“Our customers are using our Internet services more and more for high-bandwith gaming and streaming, and this will ensure we continue to offer the best experience for them,” she said. “We continue to invest in the network, adding value to our subscriptions by increasing our standards.”

As a case in point, Ms. Plucknette-Farmen said, the company upgraded the speed of its standard Internet subscription in November from 10 to 15 Mbps.

Customers interested in receiving discounts on Internet packages have the option of choosing data plans for light and standard Internet subscriptions, she said. Called “Essentials Internet,” the program enables customers to receive an $8 monthly discount for signing up to a 5-gigabyte plan, and a $5 discount on a 30-gigabyte plan.

Turbo and alternate packages, which offer higher Internet speeds, are not eligible for discounts.

Time Warner’s Internet service was advertised as Road Runner High Speed Online until last year, when the company jettisoned that brand and changed the name to Time Warner Cable Internet.

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