Three of the country’s largest internet service providers are threatening to clamp down on their most active subscribers by placing monthly limits on their online activity, the New York Times reports. One of them, Time Warner Cable, began a trial of "internet metering" in one Texas city early this month, asking customers to select a monthly plan and pay surcharges when they exceed their bandwidth limit. The idea is that people who use the network more heavily should pay more, the way they do for water, electricity, or, in many cases, cell-phone minutes. That same week, Comcast said it would expand on a strategy it uses to manage internet traffic: slowing down the connections of the heaviest users, so-called bandwidth hogs, at peak times. On June 12, AT&T also said that limits on heavy use were inevitable and that it was considering pricing based on data volume. All three companies say that placing caps on broadband use will ensure fair access for all users. Internet metering is a throwback to the days of dial-up service, but at a time when video and interactive games are becoming popular, the experiments could have huge implications for the future of the web…

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