The Great Exchange

Michael Shields shields at
Fri May 29 22:52:47 UTC 1998

> Michael Shields writes:
> > I think pricing based on the actual destination makeup of your
> > traffic is more fair than pricing based on the assumption that your
> > traffic is like everyone else's.
> So, this is an issue of perceived morality and not a technical issue?
> I think its only fair that everyone pay for the matchbooks they
> use. The fact that matchbooks are generally given away these days,
> instead of having people charged for them on a usage basis, is grossly 
> unfair.
> I think it is only fair that everyone pay for the television they
> watch on a metered basis. If you watch for ten hours, you should be
> paying twice as much as for five hours, right? Its only FAIR!!!!!
> I think it is only fair that you should pay twice as much for a Fedex
> package going twice the distance, and I'm MAD THAT THEY DON'T CHARGE
> Now that we've all figured out how silly this sounds...  Mr. Shields,
> "Fair" has nothing to do with it.

What the hell kind of straw man is this?

Yes, it sounds absolutely foolish, but you are attacking an argument I
did not make.  Perry, I am *not* a flake.  I don't think that
distance-insensitive pricing is immoral; or that it is going away; or
that backbones should adopt it; or even that I know or care what sort
of pricing models people have.  All I said was that distance-sensitive
pricing is feasible.

What place it has in the market, if any, I don't know, and it is
absolutely 100% pointless to argue about it.  You think it has no
place in the market, and I think it could be worthwhile for some
niches.  Neither of our opinions matter; the market will figure it
out.  I don't care to argue about it.  It doesn't matter.  The market
will figure it out.

By "fair" I don't mean "moral", I mean "pricing more accurately
reflecting costs".  I am sorry if you see this as a loaded term.

In fact, "fair" is exactly the word used by, the first
Australian ISP whose web page I looked at, to decribe their three-
tiered pricing model -- intra-network, web cached, and external.
This sounds to me like a coarse attempt at distance-sensitive pricing
for an area of the world where bandwidth *is* a major cost.

So, is it technically viable or not?  I posted a method that I think
will work, using existing netflow data, i.e. no significant extra
router load.  Is something wrong with it?
Shields, CrossLink.

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