Re: Congress votes on access charges:

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 16:44:56 MDT

> House Votes to Ban Per-Minute Internet Access Charges
> ...
> If Internet users were charged by the minute when they surfed the web or
> e-mailed their friends and family, it would drastically increase the cost,
> and dramatically inhibit the use, of the Internet. This bill would help
> keep the Internet affordable for all Americans.
> It's good to see these guys can get something right.

I don't see this as "getting it right" at all. In the short run, this
is one regulating agency patching a problem created by another, made
necessary because of the artificial monopoly they both created. But
in the long run it will make access /more/ expensive, not less, than if
both agencies got out of the way and let the market work. In a free
market, prices are lowest when they are structured most closely to the
reality of the costs of producing the product. Network access time is
a scarce commodity measured by time; two minutes of access time really
is twice as valuable as one minute. If consumers are forced by law to
buy it by the month and average their use, some group of consumers will
realize that they can overgraze the commons by hogging their full month
and subletting time to others; and they don't have the infrastructure
that the original providers do for maintaining the equipment, supporting
users, etc., so they will contract for those services from the original
provider at the expense of the its non-hogging customers, further
increasing costs, etc., etc. It's cheaper just to cut out the middle
and let the big boys sell minutes in the first place.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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