North American Network Operators Group

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RE: Measured Internet good v. "bad" traffic

  • From: Stephen J. Wilcox
  • Date: Thu Aug 28 05:20:23 2003

On Wed, 27 Aug 2003, David Schwartz wrote:

> > I mean if the traffic were unrealistically to increase so that
> > bad traffic was
> > 50% of all traffic we would all have to double our circuit and
> > router capacity
> > and you either pass that cost on directly (charge for extra
> > usage) or indirectly
> > (increase the $ per Mb) to the user.
> > I think you're right to say that if thats not acceptable to the
> > user then usage
> > based billing should be avoided for them but ultimately they will
> > still incur
> > the cost as you increase prices over time to foot the cost of increasing
> > overheads.
> 	Analogically, imagine if Burger King kept getting shipments of buns that
> they didn't want but still had to pay for. Their customers would get pretty
> pissed if BK added an 'unwanted bun' charge to their bill (absent specific
> prior agreement). I pay for the food I order, not the food BK's suppliers
> ship to BK. Of course, it's reasonable for BK to raise their prices for the
> costs of having to deal with the unwanted food.

No that wouldnt work, that was be an analogy to non-usage based eg I buy a 10Mb 
port from you and you dont charge me extra for unwanted bandwidth across your 

> 	I sympathize with the customer. There is no reason he should pay for
> traffic he did not request and does not want. If unwanted traffic raises
> your cost of providing the service for which you are paid (providing wanted
> traffic) then you should raise your rates.

Thats the nature of the Internet which is what you're buying.. you get a 
permanent supply of unwanted packets, attacks, spam, viruses etc. If you want to 
avoid it dont connect to the Internet.

> 	In principle, one could certainly enter into an agreement where the
> customer agrees to bear the costs of unwanted traffic in exchange for a
> lower rate. But I certainly wouldn't assume the customer agreed to pay for
> traffic he doesn't want and didn't ask for unless the contract explicitly
> says so.

Most contracts define traffic as the averaged rate across the interface, they 
dont look into what that traffic is and whether anyone requested it. In this 
sense the comparisons between internet traffic and toll phone calls breaks down, 
its also the basis for an argument on settlement free bilateral peering ;p

> 	And for those people entering into contracts, make sure the contract is
> clear about what happens with DoS attacks and where the billable traffic is
> measured. Otherwise you might be pretty surprised if you get a bill for
> 250Mbps of traffic when you contracted for a 45Mbps circuit.

Indeed, but most contracts are either 95 percentile or another kind of 
smoothed average.. if however it specifies for example you are charged on the 
peak 5 minute average in the month you could be in trouble!

> 	For those dealing with contracts already in place, if your provider argues
> that you are responsible for all attack traffic no matter what, ask them if
> that means you could possibly get billed for 1Gbps of traffic even though
> you only bought a T1.

Presumably as the measurement is on the rate across the interface this couldnt