Why charge for packets

Craig Partridge (craig@NNSC.NSF.NET)
Wed, 27 Apr 88 13:28:18 -0400

    Perhaps I'm covering ground already mentioned somewhere (if so,
set me straight) but I wonder if charging by packet is the right

    Consider charging people entirely by the capacity of their link
to the Internet. I.e., if you have a 56Kbit connection you pay a certain
sum, if you have a 9.6Kbit connection you pay much less and if you
have a T1 connection you pay much more.

    These cost are set in such a way to cover the infrastructure costs
(e.g. the cost of the backbone networks).

    The logic behind this scheme is that your line speed tells us roughly
how much traffic you can introduce into the network (as either a sender
or receiver), and if the costing is done right, you have an incentive
to pay for only as much bandwidth as you need.

    Similar schemes are in use in other fields. Pardon the choice of
example, but in cities where you pay for garbage collection, an oft
used payment scheme is that you (even residential customers) rent
approved garbage dumpsters from the city -- and the city only picks
up trash in approved dumpsters. The result is that you buy as much
dumpster capacity as you need to get rid of your trash (and you have
some incentive to minimize your trash production).

    Of course this scheme can be rigged slightly so that lucky folks
in high network density areas are paying more than their fair share of
the infrastructure costs so folks in low density areas can get networking


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