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Even Cord Cutters Will Have to Pay the Cable Bill

Internet TV may threaten the Web usage limits cable companies want

Internet television finally seems nigh. ESPN on Wednesday said it has held introductory discussions to offer its channels through Web-based TV services. That comes on the heels of news that Sony had reached a preliminary Internet distribution deal with Viacom and that Google was talking to the NFL about buying the rights to its Sunday Ticket package. And, of course, the reports of Apple TV (AAPL) persist.

These deals seem like a cord cutter’s dream. But don’t think you’re going to get out of those monthly cable bills. The big cable companies also provide Internet service, and the industry is getting increasingly aggressive about billing customers based on how much data they use, as opposed to a monthly flat rate. Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), and Mediacom recently introduced this kind of plan. Given that streaming video gobbles up bandwidth, this could be big business for the cable companies.