Transaction Based Settlements Encourage Waste (was Re: BBN /GTEI)

Lane Patterson lane at
Fri Aug 28 23:18:35 UTC 1998

I think there are several issues here:

1. technical process for collecting/warehousing the data
2. business process for using it to bill
3. customer service process for educating customers on usage-based
	billing and handling the expected questions/disputes.

1. TECHNICAL:	I think as we go to higher speeds, we need to see
	more netflow features on the router itself (maybe a netflow
	processing card to do some pre-export configurable aggregation).
	I haven't heard of any plans from Cisco in this direction, so
	we're still looking at (at least) one collector per major hub.

2. BUSINESS:  This thread has already discussed several ways to present
	the data on a bill, from very detailed to not-so-detailed.  I
	side with the not-so-detailed approach for now.

3. CUSTOMER SERVICE:  Well, we know Telco's have huge billing and customer
	support infrastructures, so ISP's are bound to go there too.  The
	issue is more of revenue per customer and scale:  of course a telco 
	with $10B+ revenue can spend $500M a year or more on billing support, 
	but an ISP with only a couple $100M revenue will have a much tougher
	time, and may decide this is a only for premium customers at first.


On Thu, 27 Aug 1998 Brett_Watson at wrote:

> On 08/25/98 03:48:29 PM Sean M. Doran wrote:
> >> What about netflow ?
> >
> >[to Vadim Antonov who said that _metering_ traffic is intractable]
> >
> >Dear ISP - you have made an accounting error that I am able to demonstrate
> >in my copious traffic logs.  Please credit $x to my account.
> >
> >or
> >
> >Dear Customer - our copious traffic logs indicate that you generated x
> traffic
> >last month.  Please pay $x net 30 days.  Thank you.
> >
> >Dispute resolution -- it's fun!
> i think this point is the single largest barrier to doing proper billing.
> isp billing needs to be as bullet-proof as telco/voice billing.  i suspect
> that with many isp's (and certainly from some of my past experience) if
> customers would ever have disputed an invoice we wouldn't have had a leg to
> stand on.  i'm sure some providers have good billing systems but i know
> many that don't yet they do some kind of usage based billing.
> also, as useful as netflow can be, at oc-3 speeds and higher the sheer
> amount of data exported can be overwhelming both to routers and trunks (in
> agreement with vadim).
> -brett

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