Just when you thought corporate America couldn't find one more way to drain your bank account, news arrives this week that at least one, if not several, U.S. cable companies are considering charging usage fees to customers with the heaviest internet usage. More and more people are consuming video via Hulu and Netflix — some have even ditched their cable subscriptions altogether — and just as Netflix tried earlier this year to separate out their streaming service to profit from the growing demand, cable companies that provide internet service like Time-Warner and Cox are said to likely be instituting new fees for excessive bandwidth usage (i.e. video watching) as soon as next year.

A previous attempt to institute similar fees by Time Warner in 2009 was met with backlash from customers, and that's to be expected — we've all gotten pretty used to the idea that we get as much internet as we want! But a Canadian cable company called Rogers Communications has gotten away with usage fees since 2008. Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt said earlier this year that usage-based fees were "inevitable," and the company is testing meters that will allow for tiered pricing. Meanwhile, Cox won't say what their plans are, and Comcast is being similarly shy — though you can bet if Time Warner's customers don't go apeshit the way Netflix customers did over their price hike, the other guys will get in on the action too. The moral of the story here is if millions of customers balk and cancel their accounts, the companies will listen.

[PC World]