User Control and IP Allocation

This author proposes an Expenditure Controller Interface, which enables the user to decrease his connection speed in order to decrease his price, the theory being that there is a limit to the amount of data a person or system can process at once.

There is no practical need to download an entire article in one minute when it will take the user half an hour to read it, or for information to download an entire database at one whack when it will process it one record at a time. These bulk downloads are perceived to be responsible for the congestion on the internet.

In theory, it should be possible to implement a software solution that will enable an individual or a system to control the rate at which they download IP packets from a remote source, enabling them to receive the information is a slow trickle, such that it arrives as it is needed. This should greatly increase the efficiency of the data communication network.

In order to provide incentive for users to behave rationally - to set their download speed to correspond to the rate at which they actually need the information - economic incentive can be provided: to implement usage-based pricing that takes into account not only the gross amount of data that a user downloads, but the rate at which they download it, such that users pay a lower price for downloading information more slowly.

The ECI control panel could be adjusted by users in real time, such that a user who is receiving data too slowly can increase his rate of consumption (at an increased price) or a user who is receiving it more quickly than he needs can decrease his rate of consumption (and receive a discounted rate for doing so.

EN: This article brings to mind the fact that the user is already able to control the rate of internet access by selecting the kind of connection he purchases - modem access, ISDN access, frame-relay access - at increasingly higher prices for "faster" connectivity.

The drawback is that this choice does not happen in real-time, and term contracts may lock a user into a specific mode of access for up to a full year. Therefore, the individual user treats his connection speed as a given, and makes choices as to the source of information to which they connect, based on their individual value of information, willingness to abide the "cost" of waiting, and the ease of obtaining the resources they desire from a specific source.

However, an economically responsible user might consider his use of access over time, such that when the time comes to renew a contract, a user may upgrade or downgrade his method of access according to his need for speed.

Granted, a user would be more inclined to upgrade than to downgrade, but failure to downgrade to the appropriate level of service has an economic penalty to the user.

It can be counter-argued that users who do not take the time to consider their needs may be paying more than they ought to for a connection that is faster than they really require ... but then, there has always been an economic premium paid by those who refuse to consider the consequences of their behavior.