Just over a year ago, Time Warner Cable rolled out an experiment in several cities: monthly data limits for Internet usage that ranged from 5GB to 40GB. Data costs money, and consumers would need to start paying their fair share; the experiment seemed to promise an end to the all-you-can-eat Internet buffet at which contented consumers had stuffed themselves for a decade. Food analogies were embraced by the company, with COO Landel Hobbs saying at the time, "When you go to lunch with a friend, do you split the bill in half if he gets the steak and you have a salad?"
In the middle of the controversy, TWC boss Glenn Britt told BusinessWeek something similar, though with less edible imagery. "We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business," he said. "We made a mistake early on by not defining our business based on the consumption dimension."