In the end, there needs to be a set of business models (probably more than
one) that are good for both the customers and the providers. I believe
usage based models will be there for the reasons cited above, and the fixed
rate schemes will be employed where there are broad averages that can be
exploited (the customer likes the flat predictable rate, the provider
believes the average usage still allows him/her to make money).
However to ground this discussion into a hard reality the fact is that
there are precisely these business models already in existence on the
Internet today. Typically you see metered accounting structure where
there is multiplexing of the resource (modem ports or high speed trunk
bandwidth) and flat rates where averaging can be used.
Of course quite frankly even flat rate schemes worked off access
bandwidth are metered. Its just a big meter bucket. a 64K access pipe
can deliver some 21G per month. So charging a flat rate for a 64K
access is equivalent to charging for a 21G volume of traffic (or part
So another spin on this is that the issue may not be one of metered or
unmetered, but simply a discussion on the size of the metered unit.