[ih] Billing by the Byte (was Re: Billing by the Byte in NZ)
jmamodio at gmail.com
Thu Feb 13 03:53:44 PST 2014
In Argentina after the privatization of the state owned phone company
(Entel 1990) there was initially only one company that was allowed to
provide international services.
We already had by a special agreement with Entel, a low speed vocal grade
analog satellite link that helped us to get connected to SuraNet in 1990.
It took us several years to convince the new company (Telintar) to provide
a digital link and let the local Internet commercial market to flourish and
open the services to everybody, given that our initial link was only (due
our agreement with NSF) for academic purposes.
We made a deal with them were we trained them, helped them get started and
broker an agreement on the US side for their first digital connection, in
exchange to let the academic and scientific community connect digitally
(1994) and later open the market (1995) for other companies and the general
What was not effective with the training (and I'm the primary culprit) is
that they kept the PTT mentality about how to charge for the services, and
obviously they established a tariff based on volume.
They were struggling trying to convert byte traffic stats into the classic
X.25 kilosegments and for several years (I still have a copy of the first
ad showing the prices) they charged a ridiculous amount of money based on
link speed and volume, following another PTT old practice of establishing
the prices in Gold Francs (XFO.)
In 1995 one kilosegment of traffic was 16.67 XFO and based on the link
speed you were billed for a fixed number of kilosegments based on link
speed, for example 1250 for a 64Kbps link. Then on top of the cost of the
digital line (actually ISDN with Newbridge gear,) for 64Kbps you had to pay
a minimum of 20,837.50 XFO that today would be something like USD
Hey but it was a good deal, they offered discounts if you had more than
5000 kilosegments per month.
Given that their license as a telecom operator was only for international
services, the very first local ISPs (mostly dialup) had to connect to them
to be on the "global" Internet, and due Telintar's volume based tariffs
many of the early ISPs established their tariffs also based on volume.
This schema didn't last long but was one of the roadblocks for the early
steps of Internet services developments in Argentina.
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