Someone else is crashing the cloud party:
Charter Communications. But this isn’t a scan-n-match play, and it’s not going beyond subscriber walls – at least not yet. Charter is the fourth-largest ISP and cable provider in the US with about 5 million subscribers, falling behind heavyweights like Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox Communications.
Instead of a frontline release, the Charter Cloud Drive is being positioned as an enhancement for existing subscribers. And this covers a wide range of files. The first three months are free, and it’s $5 or $10-a-month charge thereafter (depending on your existing plan). This is primarily designed for uploading and accessing files, and that spans everything from Excel spreadsheets to MP3s. In fact, this has unlimited storage, and files can be accessed through an online interface or desktop app.
We talked to a pair of company representatives about the plan – and my ‘collection of 20,000 MP3s’. I was assured that this would take days to upload, putting Charter’s Cloud Drive in the same boat as Amazon and Google. The only difference is that Charter is skipping the splashy music play, and the absence of scan-n-match confirms that licenses are not in place (and may never be).
Actually, Charter does have a section called ‘LightBox’ within its Cloud Drive for managing and playing media files. There’s also a Charter Music service with 4 million songs, but that’s largely separate from the Drive. When it boils down to it, Charter’s Cloud Drive is basically storage, backup and anywhere access for a smorgasbord of files. And it’ll take forever to upload your massive music collection – just like the clouds currently offered by Google and Amazon.