MFS WorldCom/WilTel/LDDS

Generally speaking, at least 70% of users already have metered
access of that kind (in form of per-hour connect time charges),
so in this sense Internet is metered already, and was like that
for years. Obviously that's not "metering" Metcalfe et al
are calling for.

I think you are confusing dialup and leased line capacity planning
models. They are inherently different. If I have a POP in City A
with a T1 to my backbone, I pretty much know how many dialups I can

If you do even minimal statistics on leased lines you'll know
what customers use and how their utilization grows over time.
When you have a provider which runs thousands of leased lines
it becomes no more of guesswork than dialup.

Just look at the example of the NANOG poster who had to move ISPs
since his thruput was high enough to double his costs so he moved
to a flat rate ISP. Those flat rate ISPs will quickly load up with
these thruput heavy users and in the end either lose money every
year or go bankrupt.

It is no different from local telco pricing in US where you can get
metered access if you're low-volume, or flat-rate if you're willing
to guarantee payment for some usage.

As for "losing money" -- i've seen SprintLink's balance sheets.
It's not going bankrupt any time soon. In fact, the lack of
differentiation between classes of customers is what made Sprint
one of the top players in the field -- most small ISPs liked the

I guess your view is different because of difference between
pricing of leased lines. If you have a hugely expensive international
private line, you have to sell its capacity for prices which make
customers unlikely to buy flat-rate. It's not like that in US.

The trend is for flat rate dialup and usage based rates for leased

Sorry, this does not correspond to what i've seen. People who buy
a T-1 usually have enough traffic to fill it. Faster WWW access
encourage faster browsing, that's it.

Those ISPs that ignore that trend will not last. The kicker
is Cable/VSAT. A consumer that is offered 2Mb-10mb to the home via
cable or DirecPc (bidirectional) for say $50 flat rate will
single-handedly be able to overrun the backbone line of the POP.

This is back to the situation when "exterior" link is small as
compared to "interior". In this situation usage-based pricing
makes a lot of sense. Until first customers get slapped with
$1k bills for gee-whiz automatic loading of some movies off the Web.

The rule of backbone engineering is that you have to have some
ratio (usually about 1:3) of backbone capacity to customer access
capacity. If that ratio is 1:1000 (as in 10Mbps customer access
to everybody in neighbourhood, with OC-3 backbone) it is bound
to create problems, to say it mildly. That's why xDSL and cable
Internet customer access remains largely a joke.

But when I specify usage based rates I am referring to a simple
meter like the gas company, not a complex meter like the phone

Then we're in agreement on that. However to introduce
pricing sensitive to resource allocation in backbones, like
Metcalfe advocates you will need telco-style end-to-end
billing. It is not access capacity which is in shortage,
it is backbone capacity.

As someone else stated, telco's are approaching 50% costs
for billing due to their overwhelming complexity between local,
long distance, international, time of day, length of call, services
used, etc.

It's not complexity of computations, it is the fact of collection
and archiving per-call data which makes that expensive. (BTW,
if you charge per connection you'll have to keep records about that
connection for at least half a year, as an evidence in case of
payment disputes -- if you don't do that anybody will simply be
able to say "i didn't make that call").

Gas and most electric companies charge a flat rate per
usage, no matter what time of day you use it.

Ah, again, they can accumulate resources to smooth out demand.
(It's a bit harder with electricity, but there's such thing as
accumulating power stations).

Their billing costs are far less than telcos.

They don't have to generate itemized bills, and their entire
usage records on you contain 48 bytes per year.

ISPs, in order to survive, had best not
follow the telco model of billing complexity, but instead follow the
utility company model of simple billing. KISS.

All of them do, to my knowledge. It's Metcalfe et al who are
calling for change in the direction of resource reservation and
per-connection charging.