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

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.


Dear Customer - our copious traffic logs indicate that you generated x


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).


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.