Karl Denninger karl at
Fri Aug 28 08:03:09 UTC 1998

On Fri, Aug 28, 1998 at 10:56:01AM +0300, Tuomas Toivonen wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 27, 1998 at 12:10:20PM -0500, Karl Denninger wrote:
> > 
> > CUSTa sends a TCP SYN, accepts an ACK, and transmits 40 bytes of a URL.
> > 
> > CUSTb responds to the SYN, accepts and ACK (3-way handshake) and transmits,
> > in direct response to the URL request, 200KB of data back to the CUSTa.
> > 
> > Now, NETb has a net deficit of packets to NETa.  NETa says "pay up or else"
> > and demands a settlement from NETb; a settlement which NETb cannot collect
> > on, as NETb has no means of assessing CUSTa, which is the cause of the
> > traffic so generated.
> This is where I don't agree with you. Yes, net-b certainly can't bill cust-a
> (the web surfer) which is why it bills its own client cust-b (the web server).
> Cust-b gladly pays because it has agreed to provide service to cust-a and
> has calculated that whatever it pays to its service provider, net-b, will be
> paid back by cust-a (perhaps site subscription fees or increased sales). So
> net-b pays its settlement fees to net-a from cust-b's pockets.
> Point is: the web surfer is only secodary cause to any traffic generated.

On the contrary.  The server, sitting there on its own, causes no traffic
to be generated at all.

> Primary cause is the web server providing content to be browsed. Web server
> wants its content accessed and is willing to pay. 

Are you sure about that?  What if the server provider already thinks they
are paying, and doesn't like having their pocket picked at the whim of the

> (Funny thing is that the
> web surfer is also willing to pay which is why Internet economics work and
> it is heaven for marketing purposes.) 

If there were no alternatives you'd be right.

But there are alternatives.

CUSTb can, instead of displaying the content CUSTa wants, display a screen
(in plain text, and therefore very cheap to send) saying "your provider is
being a jerk and trying to charge us for what we think you probably believe 
you already paid for; either enter your VISA number (in which case we'll
send what you asked for, and you'll get billed for it) or find a new ISP 
that believes your service agreement is worth something".

Now, if you wish to postulate that *ALL* providers do what NETa is doing,
then my next question is "how did that happen?"

The answer to THAT question is one that a whole gaggle of lawyers would 
likely find very interesting.

Karl Denninger (karl at MCS.Net)| MCSNet - Serving Chicagoland and Wisconsin          | T1's from $600 monthly / All Lines K56Flex/DOV
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