[clug] Query re Transact costs.

Paul Hampson Paul.Hampson at anu.edu.au
Sat Nov 27 02:52:03 GMT 2004

On Sat, Nov 27, 2004 at 12:13:27PM +1100, brian at netspeed.com.au wrote:
> Quoting Paul Hampson <Paul.Hampson at anu.edu.au>:
> > eg. if I pay for five gbytes/month, and use two consistently for 6
> > months, then the ISP is only budgeting for my usage of five, and in one
> > month I can then turn around and consume twenty without any negative
> > feedback on my usage, but showing an unexpected peak in the ISP's
> > graphs. The ISP has some warning of this since they can see you're
> > building up a lot of "credit", and the usual solution to this is to
> > let you carry a limited amount over a limited time (like Optus Rollover
> > does for mobile phones), which doesn't solve the problem you describe,
> > just makes it harder for the ISP to predict when it'll happen.

> > To my mind, the way to go is less quotaing, and more either pay as you
> > go or unmetered Internet. Choosing between the various Quota/Price
> > combinations is always a hassle, to my mind.

Sorry, that should have been _and_ rather than _either/or_. To my mind, a
customer either pays per megabyte for every megabyte with the
expectation that whatever bandwidth they want will be there, or they
pay for a certain bandwidth maximum on the understanding that they are
being statistically multiplexed with a whole bunch of other people.

> I don't know of any wholesale bandwidth providers who currently offer usage 
> based bandwidth that ends up being more economical than straight out xx Mb/s 
> links.

True. The only time wholesale usage can be worth while is when your
usage shows such massive variances that keeping sufficient bandwidth
open to meet the peaks means your troughs are too expensive. And more
customers fixes that. ^_^

> Retail customers dont want to pay for exclusive bandwidth so ISP's must split 
> their budgetted bandwidth amongst all their customers in the 'fairest' way 
> they think possible.  The interpretation of 'fairest' is manefested in many 
> ways - thats the nice thing about competition - unfortunately, nobody seems to 
> have gotten it right enough to satisfy all the retail customers all the time.

> An ISP can provide you with an exclusive 1mb/s connection for around $1000.00 
> a month.  Share that between two people and they can each have it for $500.00 
> a month... but on average you can only have .5 mb/s to use (but it is half the 
> price, right?)... share it with 20 people and they can have it for $50.00 a 
> month each (at .05 Mb/s average).... BUT... just like splitting the bill at a 
> restaurant.. there will always be someone who pipes up and says something 
> like "I didn't have desert so I shouldnt have to pay as much as him because he 
> had desert AND an extra slice of garlic bread"

And my response to that is, at the start of the meal, everyone pays
their own way, or everyone splits evenly. It's too late at the end of
the meal to complain you didn't have garlic bread and chose the cheapest
thing on the menu. You're not at a restaurant to get more value than the
next guy, you're there to eat a meal of your choice.

Same with Internet. If someone's using more bandwidth than you at the
same price, then use as much as they are. If you don't _need_ as much
as the next guy, find a way of paying less to use less. If you don't
feel the need to pay less for what you're getting, there's no problem
that the next guy is getting twice as much at the same price. It's about
personal utility, not competition. ^_^

> I guess one easy solution to the "you ate more than me" problem is to make all 
> the restaurants in the world 'all-you-can-eat' buffet's and all at the same 
> price no matter what you order.  Right????? But what if you wanted to eat 
> something nice than the slop they served you?  Would you be willing to (expect 
> to) pay more for a lobster mornay than a big mac?

I would expect to pay more for an all-you-can-eat that includes lobster
than one that consists only of big macs, even if I generally ate big
macs from the former. However, _I_ am not that fussy about food, and
will happily pay less for only bigmacs. 

However, I think this analogy falls down here. I see it more as:
Either pay a certain amount for a chance at the buffet, even though you
risk the chance someone's eaten the lobster and you'll have to wait for
more to be cooked, or pay more for your own personal lobster, brought
to your table. In the second case, you _only_ pay for your own lobster,
you're not subsidising the guy who's been there all night and eaten
three for the same buffet price as the guy waiting for the next one.

For a massive amount more, you can rent your own lobster chef to provide
you with as much lobster as you can eat, but unless you eat a _lot_ of
lobster, you're better off sharing the lobster chef with some other
people. Which puts you back in the above paragraph.

> Wholesale bandwidth doesnt last longer if you dont use it.  If you don't 
> use 'that' bandwidth 'that' second, there wont be twice as much of it there 
> waiting for you the next second.   

That was exactly my point. If the ISP doesn't use it that second, but
the customer gets to keep it for later, the customer has bandwidth
available the ISP can't provide, since for the ISP, that piece of
bandwidth are gone.

> Fortunately, there are enough ISP's and ISP Plans out there to provide options 
> for both the 'all-you-can-eat' feasters and the 'quality is better than 
> quantity' consumers.

> Which one is better?  Only you can decide.

Paul "TBBle" Hampson, MCSE
7th year CompSci/Asian Studies student, ANU
The Boss, Bubblesworth Pty Ltd (ABN: 51 095 284 361)
Paul.Hampson at Anu.edu.au

"No survivors? Then where do the stories come from I wonder?"
-- Capt. Jack Sparrow, "Pirates of the Caribbean"

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