Alex McKenzie (mckenzie@LABS-N.BBN.COM)
Mon, 18 Apr 88 8:58:58 EDT

Jack and Barry have both said it right; a charging mechanism (tariff) is more
than the rules for collecting money - it is also the concrete specification of
a policy (and the only policy statement that really counts). Policies can be
made to encourage or discourage connection to a network, encourage or
discourage use of a network, or favor some classes of users over others. A
proposed tariff has to be examined to see whether it supports or contradicts
other "statements" of policy. For example, when DCA took over the ARPANET from
ARPA in the mid-70's they adopted a "per-port" tariff because it was simple and
predictable. The instantaneous response of the user community was the
invention of a class of devices called "port expanders" which had no logical
justification other than local cost minimization under the tariff, with a
negative side-effect of making troubleshooting harder. Those are the kinds of
effects which the folks formulating a tariff must be sensitive to. For every
proposed tariff someone should ask, "If I had to pay according to this tariff,
what would I do to minimize my own cost?" If we don't like the answer, the
tariff should not be implemented.


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