Re: Whither chargeback policies?

Dennis Perry (perry@MCL.UNISYS.COM)
Mon, 25 Apr 88 06:05:50 EDT

Vint, I belive that you gasoline tax illustrate the point I was
trying to make, namely, usage charges are ignored by those who
can afford it, e.g. they buy low efficiency automobiles like
laborginis. It is not clear how much charging it takes to make
a difference. Even with HOV in norther VA on I66 and other roads,
many, if not most, people still prefer to drive one to an automobile.
I posit that usage charges, to affect behvaior, will have to be
unreasonably high. And then when they affect behavior, that behavior
will become 'antisocial', that is, they will not use the system
they way that is optimal, so efficiency becomes an issue again.

My experience says that port charges, connect time, etc are not
unreaonable type of charges. Volume usage charges are counter productive
and drive people to find other means of solving their problems. After all,
how much communications does it take to do the research you are involved
in. Do you stop your research just because you cannot afford to
pay the network charges? I suspect what will happen is you will
pick up the telephone and play telephone tag with someone, a much
less efficient way to communicate your research ideas. Or you
may resort to no communication and just publish your results without
feedback from you peers. Both of these alternatives are 'antisocial'
behvior in that it is the opposite behavior expected from developing
the net in the first place.

But you might say, what about users who are using resources attached
to the net? Again, if you talk to the operators of those resources,
you will find that most of them do not care about the net except
to provide service to their customers. They can provide better
direct service then a general purpose net can, and probably
cheaper. And the efficiency issue arrises here as well. If volume
sensive charging were in effect, users of supercomputer centers
may well ask for printouts to be done at the center and mailed
to the user in order to avoid large charges for printouts. This
results in time delay and increased cost to the research, where the cost
in this case is the time it takes to turn around a compuation from
one set of inputs to another.

Again, connect time is one thing, volume sensitive charging is another.
When ISDN becomes fully functional, it may become feasible to
build a high speed network that is build around circuit switches instead
of packet switches and one will get rid of the idea of dedicated
lines. You just dial up what you need, use it for the time
you need it, and then hang up. Just like the telephone service today,
you do not get charged for how fast you talk (volume of data), but
how long you talk (time) plus some type of port charge (basic monthly

In dedicated line systems, like the Arpanet, etc., there is no
contention for a port in current implementations. Perhaps the
gateways or PSNs could refuse virtual circuit connections based
upon load so that connect time has some value associated with it, such
as some level of service.

The issue is not an easy one, but I don't think one should run down
the road without exploring the issues. The DoD is already experiencing
people moving off the DDN because of the expense required for the service
provided. Many are setting up their own networks, because the
commong network does not work well for them. What are they using?
Well, the Navy is setting up a UUCP type of network based on dial
up lines and 9.6 kbit/s service! It isolates them from other, it is
inefficient, etc., but it was done because of perceived problems with
upcoming usage charges on Milnet and performance issues that such
charging would generate.

enough for now,

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