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Re: [News] 'Bandwidth Monopoly' Under Attack, Wants to Be Free/Open

Homer <usenet@xxxxxxxxxx> espoused:
> Verily I say unto thee, that Mark Kent spake thusly:
>> Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> espoused:
>>> ____/ Mark Kent on Tuesday 20 January 2009 10:55 : \____
>>>> Indeed, but not for what they use - high users generally get an 
>>>> excellent deal on the back of low users.
>>>> Is this fair?
>>> Tariffs for levels of use would be fair; net neutrality violations 
>>> (throttling), however, would not.
>> I agree.  The temptation to do "deep packet inspection" is very
>> strong, to a great extent, because there are companies making and
>> marketing such boxes, and it's perceived to be simpler and much less
>> expensive by many to insert such boxes into the network streams,
>> rather than use them to count packets and create a more complex bill.
> Is it really that complicated for ISPs to calculate bandwidth usage?

Err, well, yes, I think it is, to be honest.  You need to monitor every
single packet, for every single customer and then produce some kind of
billing against that. 

> Ever since I first started using ADSL services, I've had the means of
> viewing my own bandwidth usage, usually broken down into upstream;
> downstream; peak and offpeak stats. If that data is available for me to
> view, then surely that same data can be used by the ISP's billing dept.

I agree that it's technically feasible, the issue is, as always, around
cost.  If you have, say, 10 million customers and an installed network,
how much will it cost to retro-fit the network with monitors which are
consistent?  Even if you could do it for £100 per customer, that's a
bill of £1,000,000,000, which has to be paid somehow. 

Other ways are to identify traffic further upstream, but then you're in
a world of deep packet inspection, which many people see as an invasion
of privacy (a view I have sympathy with).

A better approach is to wait for newer equipment to come along which has
better inherent monitoring, and then try to use that, but even then, you
need to push data to the billing systems which must reconcile the data
against customer records and send out bills.  Even just the task of
sending 10 million bills/qtr is quite substantial.

>> A few other issues brew up with usage level tariffs, too, though, not
>> the least of which is what do you do when someone suddenly ups their
>> usage?  Did they mean to?
> Well you could say the same thing about gas, electricity and phone
> bills. You use it, you pay for it.

Okay, but when someone's machine is hacked, say, whose fault is it?
This is a bit like when, say, a child dials a premium-rate overseas line
and leaves it on over the weekend when everyone is out.  A bill comes
back for £thousands for a phone call...  these things need to be
resolved, and there is a cost to that resolution.

Also, gas and electricity are relatively simple to monitor for usage,
and even phone calls can use CDRs from switches to see how long you were
connected for and what you dialled.

On IP networks, what do you bill for?  Do you charge just for the
drop-wire usage?  Do you charge more for packets which go a long way,
thus use more resources?

>> Billing is not a simple world.
> It'd be a lot simpler if ISP's stopped oversubscribing their services.

Okay, but the price would just rise.

> I'd don't want to "leech" off low-level users, any more than I want to
> be capped or throttled (or deep-packet-inspected, for that matter). I
> just want to pay for what I use, and /only/ what I use, much like I do
> with any other utility. That seems like a perfectly reasonable and fair
> expectation to me.

I don't disagree with your expectation, but let's explore it further -
are you willing to pay more for bigger packets?  Are you willing to pay
different tariffs for, say, international packets compared with national
ones, and so on?

To put it another way, what, exactly, do you mean when you say "usage".
Are you referring to the local loop?  Further into the network?

Would you pay different amounts for, say, ICMP packets?

Are you willing to pay extra for streaming-type packets?

Whilst I see your point, I don't think this is as simple as you are

| mark at ellandroad dot demon dot co dot uk                           |
| Cola faq:  http://www.faqs.org/faqs/linux/advocacy/faq-and-primer/   |
| Cola trolls:  http://colatrolls.blogspot.com/                        |
| Open platforms prevent vendor lock-in.  Own your Own services!       |

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