Re: Whither chargeback policies?

Dennis Perry (perry@MCL.UNISYS.COM)
Wed, 27 Apr 88 07:16:42 EDT

Vint, we had different connect time charges at Los Alamos, depending
on the rate, so rate sensitivity is was understood by the users.
The difference between volume and connect charges is of course
rather small, but I think goes the right way to support an infrastructure.
After all, we are not arguing about wheather one should pay, just about
how one goes about collecting the money and how much for what services.
You pay for the resourse you use in keeping others out of the system.
The resourse you use to get to the system, telecommunications, may in
fact be dedicated to you, but there were limited number of users
who could effectively use the ports available to get to the supercomputers.
Now, you could sign on and use the facility at any rate you chose, i.e.
usage rate is not the same as bandwidth. Typing characters at 20 word
per minute is not the same as transmitting each character at 56 kbit/s.
Those who only type text could get by with 2400 to 4800 b/sec service,
while those who generated lots of graphics to a textronix would much
prefer a 9.6 kbit/s service or higher (we had some that ran substantially
higher, I don't remember now how high).

In the arpanet one does not normally have the option of connection and
disconnecting to the PSN, thus, one has a static connection. What we
do have is random receipt and sending of packets accros the interface.
Even today, the Arpanet folks have the option of giving you a 9.6 kbit/s
line connection to the PSN or a 56 kbit/s line connection. I do not
remember for sure, but I believe that the cost to DARPA is the same.
This is one of the flawed aspects of current billing for the Arpanet. The
only cost to the user is the connection line to the PSN (excpet for early
connection which were still being paid for by DARPA, but were being looked
at to have the user pay the connect charges.)

I am not sure where this conversation is going, but I sense an attitude
by some that usage sensivitive charging is the way to go with out looking
at alternatives and resultant possible reactions by the community or the
purpose of fostering the network in the first place (policy).

My bottom line is that the existing system may not be designed to
support certain types of charges and one should examine that as well.
Do we want to change the protocols, do we have to, how does it affect
the policy if we do, etc.?

I do not claim to know the answeres, nor do I believe a simple solution
is necessarily available outside of the Government to continue to provide
'free' service. Another solution might be for the Government to find
a way for connectees to pay their port charge instead of DARPA having
to pay it. That way DARPA could continue to subsidize those whom they
wished, others would pay. I suspect that solution alone would reduce
the DARPA part of the bill to less than a $1M. By the way, I am not
convinced that DARPA really wants to reduce its cost that much. The
DARPA default connection is to the Milnet, which is going to usage
charges. It used to be the Arpanet, but we switched over when the
Arpanet became so congested and DARPA folks could not get to ISI
to read their mail. I suggested that they switch back, but that has
not happened (yet?).


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